In the case of Jarvis Jones the Arizona Cardinals hope they’re the benefit of right place, right time.
Players often come into the NFL with high expectations after excelling at the college level. Jarvis Jones, a former Georgia Bulldog, is no exception. Two years of starting on the Bulldog defense turned Jones from a USC transfer into one of the most intriguing up-and-coming edge prospects in the for the NFL. After all, 28 sacks and 44 tackles for loss in two seasons will do that for you, especially against SEC competition.
His college success turned into pro hype, and Jones was drafted in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers. However, he never lived up to first-round expectations. Or at least he hasn’t yet.
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Jones is just four years removed from college and only has six sacks to his name. That’s no typo—just six sacks. To top it off, he only has 129 tackles to his name while his former collegiate teammate, Alec Ogletree, had that just in 2016.
129 tackles and six sacks in 35 career starts is why Jones hit the open market this offseason. It’s why many people label him as a bust. But none of that means anything to NFL teams that can get a player with promise at a low price. Obviously Arizona Cardinals general manager Steve Keim is no exception as he signed the former Bulldog to a one-year “prove-it” deal.
Cardinals fans can look forward to what Jones can (hopefully) bring to their defense. With Chandler Jones signing a lucrative deal this offseason and Markus Golden expected to take on a bigger role on the other side of the defense, Jones will be brought in as a situational player. Unlike the situation he faced as a rookie, he’s coming to town with no immediate pressure to succeed.
That’s truly is what’s most important: no pressure. Jones set the Georgia school record for most sacks in a game and was just eight sacks away from breaking the career school record of 36. He played himself into pressure upon coming into the league.
Not every player is meant to be the next Von Miller. While it’s safe to assume Jones did and continues to strive to be the best ever, it may not be in the cards. Resurrecting his career doesn’t mean win the Defensive Player of the Year award, or beat Michael Strahans 22.5 sack record in a single season.
Regardless, if you put the right pieces together and the puzzle fits, there’s no saying what your potential is. If Jones is another missing piece to a much larger puzzle in Arizona, then they have a good thing coming.