“It's going to be difficult (for Jones to start immediately), especially outside,” Foote told The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “There is so much technique, (knowing) where you've got to line up, inside or outside."
History is against Jones starting right away. Outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley, a second-round pick in 2007, didn't start a game until his second season. Inside linebacker Lawrence Timmons, a first-round pick in 2007, didn't start full time until his third year.
What Jones has going for him is familiarity. The Steelers typically take undersized college defensive ends and convert them into outside linebackers. But Jones played linebacker in a 3-4 defense at Georgia, where he led the nation with 14.5 sacks last season.
"I've seen a lot (of players) come in as rookies and not have a clue," Foote said, "but you can tell he's been around our type of football.”
After the Steelers drafted Jones with the No. 17 overall pick, linebackers coach Keith Butler acknowledged the uphill battle facing the rookie.
"Jason Worilds should be a lot better than he was last year," Butler said. "Everybody talks about Jarvis coming in and stuff like that and is Jarvis going to start his first year? We've never started a [rookie] linebacker since I've been here."
Still, I wouldn't rule out Jones just yet. Unlike Worilds, Jones can get to the quarterback and force turnovers. This is the area where the Steelers' defense needs to improve.