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Steelers QB Landry Jones 'a little up and down' in OTAs

PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Steelers drafted fourth-rounder Landry Jones higher than any other quarterback since 2005. He has work to do to validate that billing.

The third-year quarterback has been "a little up and down" in organized team activities, Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley said while meeting with the media after Wednesday's session.

Jones has gotten valuable reps while backup Bruce Gradkowski has been sitting out.

"He's working hard and it's a tough spot to be in, being the third guy," Haley said. "He's gotten thrust into getting a little more with Bruce being out, so he's got to take advantage of the opportunity."

Also in the quarterback mix is former sixth-round pick Tajh Boyd and undrafted free agent Devin Gardner, who quarterbacked at Michigan but is a wide receiver option, as well.

Gradkowski enters his 10th NFL season. The Steelers could groom Jones to eventually take ownership of the backup position behind Ben Roethlisberger, who's 33. He must be better than "up and down" to do just that.

If Jones isn't in the team's long-term plans, perhaps the Steelers could employ a Patriots strategy with Tom Brady and Jimmy Garoppolo -- draft a second-round quarterback to develop during Roethlisberger's final stage.