As Dick LeBeau sees it, rookie outside linebacker Jarvis Jones is taking the first steps down a well-worn path.
The Steelers’ legendary defensive coordinator told reporters Thursday that Jones is “equal” to one-time Steelers edge rushers Jason Gildon, James Harrison, Greg Lloyd and Joey Porter and current Steelers outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley when comparing how those players were progressing at similarly early stages of their careers.
However, LeBeau indicated that Jones’ career is in its infancy.
“I don’t want to put that on him,” LeBeau said, according to a transcript from the club. “We’ll see how he develops. He has great work ethic. Obviously, we think he is playing well or we wouldn’t have started him.”
The Steelers have called on Jones, their first-round pick, to help in multiple areas.
The 23-year-old Jones moved into the starting lineup in Week Two, taking the spot of Jason Worilds. In his starting debut, the rookie from Georgia notched six tackles on defense and another two on special teams in Monday’s loss at Cincinnati. Overall, he played 59 snaps on defense and another 18 on special teams.
LeBeau said that Worilds will “get his snaps” at outside linebacker, too, with an eye keeping all three players both active and fresh.
“I feel good about this crew,” LeBeau said. “I say it’s a long way to go here, a lot of football to play. We will see where Jones ends up. I think his future is good.”