In terms of true training camp darlings, players barely thought or talked about heading into training camp but have generated plenty of buzz now, Jamir Jones is at or near the top of the list. Signed to a futures contract this offseason, one of several the team plucked off the Pro Day circuit, Jones has run 2nd team outside linebacker all of camp (aided by TJ Watt’s lack of participation) and made the most of his chance.
He’s shown power, he’s shown a motor, and he’s made an impact on special teams. Speaking with reporters after Tuesday’s practice via the team website, Jones said he hopes the coaching staff has taken notice of his playing style.
“I feel like where I get people is I’m relentless,” Jones said of his pass rush game. “I’m just going to rush through until the whistle’s blown. Try to get around the ball, try to make sure I’m by the quarterback, by the ball, every single play. I feel like with that relentlessness, as the game goes on, I’ll out hustle some guys.”
He has. Jones has one sack through two preseason games, getting the Steelers’ defense off the field on 3rd and 7 Thursday night against the Eagles. It was an awkward-looking stunt but it got the job done. Jones’ impact goes beyond those basic stats. In both preseason games, his pressure has led to interceptions. Against Dallas, he bulled through the left tackle that led to Donovan Stiner’s pick. And versus Philadelphia, he came in off the edge free that created a hurried throw and Justin Layne’s interception.
Though Jones said he’s a mix of power and finesse, his speed bull rush has been his most deadly weapon.
“More swipe or speed to power, Just working that swipe, club and then mixing the power in there as well. More of a long arm than a bull rush.”
You can see that power to bully the Cowboys’ left tackle back in the Hall of Fame Game.
Jones has also made his mark on special teams, collecting multiple special teams tackles. If there is one, his path to the 53 will come through special teams and he’s showing a competency there. It’s something he did throughout his college career.
“When I was a sophomore and a freshman I was on all four special teams. Kind of dialed it down my later years, but special teams is something that I’ve always loved. I feel like it’s the most important part of the game. Getting the defense set up with good field position and setting the offense up with good field position. It takes all three phases to capitalize on everything we want to do.”
Making the 53 man roster will still be a climb though especially after the team traded for Joe Schobert. But landing on the practice squad feels like a definite possibility. At this point, he’s earned it and it’d be a surprise to see the Steelers let him get away.