And with the 17th pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers select …
Whoa, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. We will find out who the Steelers will select in due time, but let me get you primed for what will be the Steelers most important draft since … well, since their last one.
I will be live blogging the NFL Draft from the Steelers’ South Side practice facility giving you the insight of the second most important war room in the city today — the media war room.
This is what you need to know before the draft starts:
What: The 2013 NFL Draft
Where: Radio Music City Hall, New York City
When: Today: Round 1 (8 p.m.); Friday: Rounds 2-3 (6:30 p.m.); Saturday: Rounds 4-7 (noon)
Steelers pick: 17th overall pick in the 1st round. They also have picks in the 2nd round (48th overall), 3rd (79th), 4th (115th), 5th (150th), 6th (186th), 6th (206th) and 7th (223rd)
Estimated time of Steelers’ first-round pick: 9:45 p.m.
Steelers biggest needs: Outside linebacker, safety, wide receiver, running back, tight end
TV: ESPN and NFL Network
Trib Total Media’s Steelers beat team has you covered
>> Ever wonder how the NFL Draft became such a big event? My story from a couple weeks back will tell you all you need to know … and much more … about how the draft became a much-watch TV show.
>> The Tribune-Review’s Steelers page
>> My mock draft from Thursday so you can use it to mock me when it goes awry.
>> Alan Robinson’s draft day preview
>> Ralph Paulk’s feature on the importance of drafting character guys.
>> And, of course, Dejan Kovacevic’s chat that covers a lot of draft topics.
What you will need to follow the NFL Draft
>> You can follow the NFL’s Draft Tracker so you don’t miss a pick
>> If you are curious of the Steelers all-time first-round picks.
>> The Steelers’ official website
>> Twitter: @MarkKaboly_Trib, @ARobinson_Trib, @Dejan_Kovacevic, @RalphPaulk_Trib
Here we go:
8:02 p.m. — These drafts have sure changed a lot when it comes to media covering it since it went to prime time a couple years back. The “Media” war room used to be packed to the gills with reporters. Now, we have just a couple dozen.
Also, it wasn’t very long ago that a PR representative would come in and write every pick of the draft on pre-made board. Oh, it’s changed. We are about to start, but here is what the war room looks like.
8:16 p.m. — The Chiefs took their allotted time but decided to go with left tackle Eric Fisher out of Central Michigan. As some wiseguy in the media room just said, it is the highest draft pick ever for Central Michigan. Well, duh. I am surprised that it wasn’t LT Luke Joekel of Texas A&M but six of one, half dozen of the other. Oh, by the way, my mock draft is busted — 0-for-1. Ha!
8:24 p.m. — And there goes Luke Jokel to the Jaguars. Being a former (bad) offensive linemen myself, you just have to love the fatties going 1 and 2. Just think, last year at this time the 1-2 in the draft were Andrew Luck and RGIII. How quickly we have fallen.
8:35 p.m. — The Dolphins traded up nine sports to grab Oregon DL Dion Jordan. Very curious decision by the Dolphins there. By moving up nine picks, it cost the Dolphins a pretty penny — a second round pick. Not sure if it is worth jumping up to grab a guy like that especially when there are comparable players still on the board.
On the Steelers front, it’s pretty quiet here. I talked to Dick LeBeau briefly before the draft started, but everybody must be holed up in the war room waiting. We are looking like the Steelers pick isn’t going to be anywhere near 9:45 like I predicted.
8:42 p.m. — Philadelphia takes yet another left tackle with the selection of Lane Johnson. Johnson fits in perfectly with what the Eagles want to do with its offense under new coach Chip Kelly. Johnson is fast and the spread needs fast offensive linemen. What a red-letter date in fat-guy football history. I am getting all choked up. Four picks in the NFL draft and three OL. A tremendous day.
8:51 p.m. — Yet another ‘project” as the Lions select BYU DE Ziggy Ansah. Kind of strange for teams to take guys that have a lot of question marks like Ansah and Dion Jordan this high in the draft. The Lions would love to have a tackle, but, ironically, all the tackles were gone.
8:55 p.m. — The Browns continue this crazy first-round with the selection of Barkevious Mingo. Somebody who has to be worried right now is Geno Smith. Not many teams interested after Buffalo.
9:01 p.m. — And yet another offensive linemen gone with the Cardinals taking UNC guard Jonathan Cooper. I am kind of shocked that Bruce Arians didn’t take a flyer on Tavon Austin. Oh, by the way, 0-for-7 with my mock.
9:09 p.m. — The Rams move up from 16 to 8 to take WVU WR Tavon Austin. What an absolute great pick for the Rams. Can you imagine how fast this kid is going to be on turf 8 games a year. With the Bills moving back to 16, they will most definitely have their choice of quarterbacks — Geno Smith or Ryan Nassib.
9:11 p.m. — It is setting up nicely for the Steelers. I still think Jarvis Jones will be gone by 17, but I know truly believe that Texas safety Kenny Vaccaro will be around.
9:17 p.m. — Alabama CB Dee Milliner goes to the Jets. Yes, it makes a lot of sense with the loss of Darrelle Revis. In unrelated news, Trib columnist Dejan Kovacevic just let out a big sigh … Winnipeg is losing.
9:29 p.m. — What a glorious day for the offensive linemen of the world. Chance Warmack to the Titans make three tackles and two guards selected with the first 10 picks. The Chargers follow that up with yet another tackle in D.J. Fluker. This is wonderful. On the Steelers front, I have a feeling that Jarvis Jones is going to the Jets at 13 leaving Kenny Vaccaro their man.
9:38 p.m. — This strange draft continues. The Raiders actually made a pretty good trade moving back to 12 and getting arguably the best cornerback in the draft in D.J. Hayden.
9:47 p.m. — The Jets took all that time to take Sheldon Richardson? What in the world is going on with Shariff Floyd? He is falling fast, but not as fast as Geno Smith. If the Bills don’t take him at 16, somebody is going to have to trade back into the first or he isn’t going. Remember, the Pats sit at 28 and would love to add a pick or two by trading out. New England only has five picks this draft.
9:57 p.m. — Carolina gets DL Star Lotulelei and have to be happy about that. The Saints added Texas safety Kenny Vaccarro and with the Bills likely to take a quarterback, Jarvis Jones will likely be the Steelers pick at 17.
10:05 p.m. — The Bills select Florida State QB E.J. Manuel. Come on, don’t the Bills think they could’ve got him in the second round? BTW, only way Geno Smith goes in the first round now if Philly,
10:11 p.m. The Steelers select Georgia LB Jarvis Jones. They are ecstatic. Kevin Colbert, Mike Tomlin and Jones will talk now so I’ll be off the grid for a couple picks.
10:21 p.m. — Jarvis Jones just finished up his conference call with the media and Colbert and Tomlin just finished addressing the media. Colbert said that the organization was thrilled when Jones ran a 4.9 40-yard dash at the Combine because it gave the Steelers a chance to get him at 17 then.
Here are some quick comments from Jones, Colbert and Tomlin
Colbert: “We are very pleased to have a player like Jarvis Jones available for us at the 17th pick. He was one of the guys that I talked about the other day as being a special player in this draft. He is a solid kid, he is a great player. He was productive at a major college level. In fact, he has been dominant at the major college level. He plays the run, he chases the ball and most important, he gets after the passer.”
Tomlin: “It was a fun and easy evaluation. When you look at the outside linebackers in the 3-4 defenses generally there is some projection and so forth int he evaluation. This was an easy evaluation from that standpoint. He plays in a very similar scheme. It made it a fun evaluation and made it comfortable evaluation. He excelled in what they asked him to do and he will be asked to do similar things here.”
Jones: “James Harrison is a beast. I have a lot of work to do to get to James Harrison. The guy is powerful and has speed. He is a pro. I am trying to get the level to where he is at. I have a lot of work to do. He is a great player and I love the way he plays. I think we both play relentless and we both are passionate about this game. We are ball hogs and impact players. We made plays when they needed to be made.”
10:48 p.m.: Time to catch up with some picks. San Francisco traded up with Dallas at 18 and took LSU safety Eric Reid. The Giants took OT Justin Pugh; Chicago took guard Kyle Long; Cincinnati grabbed Notre Dame tight end Tyler Eifert; Atlanta moved up to take Desmond Trufant at No. 22 and the Vikings selected Florida DT Shariff Floyd at No. 23.
10:52 p.m.: All is quiet on the South Side. Mike Tomlin said “I’ll see you tomorrow” after his press conference so they aren’t interested in trading back into the first round. The first round continues with the Colts taking Germany native Bjoern Werner and the Vikings taking Xavier Rhodes.
11:34 p.m.: After a brief Popeye’s Chicken break down in the cafeteria, the biggest thing that happened was Bill Belichick shipping his 29th pick to Minnesota for a 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 7th round pick in which the Vikings used on Tennessee receiver Cordarrelle Patterson. Thanks to Bill Belichick, it made the league honoring the victims in the Boston Marathon bombing a little awkward. Besides that, what a move by the Pats again. They had only five picks the entire draft — 1, 2, 3 and two 7s but now have eight picks.
11:43 p.m.: Here is the Jarvis Jones transcript:
Re: Confident that he wouldn’t fall past the 17th pick:
I just had a great visit and I talked to Coach Tomlin at my pro day. I was very confident and they sounded pretty legit to me. He was talking about how he liked my game and how I could fit in right away, and do what I’m supposed to do. Just come in and play, they needed an outside linebacker. I’m just so happy to be a part of this organization. I know they have a great defense, and they always have been known for their defense. That’s something they take pride in and are very passionate about. I’m just so happy to be a part of this organization.
Re: Comparing himself to James Harrison:
I’ve got a lot of work to do to get to James Harrison. The guy is powerful, has speed and he is a pro. I’m trying to get on the level he’s at. I’ve got a lot of work to do. He’s one of the guys I look up to as far as trying to learn how to better my game and better my craft. He’s a great player, and I love him and the way he plays. As for me, how would I compare my game to his? I think we both play relentlessly. You can tell we’re both passionate about this game in the way we play. We’re ball hawks, we’re impact players and we make plays when they need to be made.
I know you have been working out with Ike Taylor the past couple months. What did he have to say about the Steelers organization to you?
Ike is one of my best mentors and we train together. He just talked about how great the program is and what their defense means up there. It means a whole lot. They take pride in what they do. Everybody knows the Steel Curtain. It’s their thing, the defense in Pittsburgh. I’m just so happy to work hard for this organization.
What, if any questions did the Steelers have for you about your health, and how did the doctors confidently convey to them that you thought you were good enough medically to be drafted this high?
They did not have any questions at all. I was fine at the combine. The doctor had cleared me. After I left the combine I was cleared. I did not have to go back to get re-checked. All that was over with. Everyone pretty much stopped questioning me about my spine.
Do you think your combine time cost you falling down in this draft?
At the end of the day, I don’t know. I think I just made a great fit with the Pittsburgh Steelers. I am loving it. The combine stuff is over with now. I’m in the zone right now, and I’m enjoying it. I’m just trying to stay on the positives and enjoy it and get to work.
11:45 p.m.: That’s it. And the Ravens close out the first round with safety Matt Elam. That means Manti Te’o and Geno Smith didn’t go in the first round.
OK, folks, that’s it. It was real but it is now time to go get some sleep and be back from the 5 p.m. press conference with Jarvis Jones.
P.S. I got only one right with my mock draft (Star Loutolelei to Carolina at 14) but Mel Kiper only got two right and he had Geno Smith going in the first 5 picks. I didn’t have Geno Smith going at all in the first round which gives me the win. Or at least in my mind.