2023 NFL Draft

Steelers Depot Draft Discussion IV: Buyer Beware

This is the fourth in a 10-part series that concludes on April 26, the day before the 2023 NFL Draft starts. Each day Depot staff members offer their spin on a Steelers-related draft question.

Which player that you have seen mocked to the Steelers with one their top picks scares you — or whom you would stay away from altogether?

Joe Cammarota: The player who scares me the most is Ohio State offensive tackle Dawand Jones. At 6’8” 374 pounds he is a ginormous human being and I’m worried he might be a bit TOO big. Jones skipped out on the weigh-in at his Pro Day so it is possible he may weigh even more come rookie mini-camp/training camp. If he cannot maintain a lighter (for his size) playing weight, he might not work out.

I am not sure I feel comfortable taking a risk on a player like that with an early second- or even first-round pick. Obviously, any player can flame out and not work, but I feel the risk is even higher when looking at Jones. And right now the Steelers really can’t afford any early-round misses.

Josh Carney: It has to be Ohio State’s Dawand Jones. The Steelers seem infatuated with mammoth-sized offensive linemen recently — Jones this year, Minnesota’s Daniel Faalele last year. It pays to have those huge humans who are just bigger and stronger than everyone they’ll face, but Jones is a real concern for me. The tape at Ohio State is certainly intriguing. How he’s handled himself throughout the pre-draft process is a major concern.

Pulling out of the Senior Bowl after one great practice…not participating in the Ohio State Pro Day despite the Steelers sending a huge contingent to seemingly get a good look at him…Mike Tomlin chiding him about not weighing in…it all screams poor work ethic and makes me question his commitment to the game. I’d rather take a shot on another offensive lineman like North Dakota State’s Cody Mauch or Syracuse’s Matthew Bergeron instead of Jones.

Joe Clark: I don’t want to see Ohio State tackle Dawand Jones anywhere near Acrisure Stadium wearing a Steelers uniform. After a great first day at the Senior Bowl, he shut things down, which made some sense. But Jones, who weighed 374 pounds at Ohio State, then refused to weigh in and wasn’t a major participant at his Pro Day. I’m just not sure the work ethic is there for Jones to ever be a productive NFL offensive tackle. There are a lot of other guys in his range —Cody Mauch, anyone? — whom I would much prefer to Jones. I just think he’s too risky.

Jonathan Heitritter: I cringe every time I see Nolan Smith mocked to Pittsburgh in the first round. I love the person and his athleticism and character are off the charts, but he is a better athlete than football player at this stage of his career. He isn’t an accomplished pass rusher, lacking any moves outside of the bull rush or speed rush. He also is undersized for the EDGE position at the next level, being more of a tweener; I’d like to see stand up and play ILB. Throw in the fact that he is coming off a torn pec and I wouldn’t touch him with at least Pittsburgh’s first two selections.

Alex Kozora: Dawand Jones is a solid suggestion and he’s gotta be my answer too. Maybe he’ll be the next great right tackle. The talent is there. But there’s so many red flags. His weight, his lack of participation, sitting out and doing nothing at his Pro Day while teammate Paris Johnson Jr. – a better prospect and higher pick – did everything that day. There’s just too much risk here and I have a sinking feeling that Jones is a guy you’ll have to fight to manage the whole way through. I’ll let someone else assume that risk.

Thank you for reading and please drop your answer to the question below.

Previous Depot draft discussions:

Two draft scenarios

The Steelers and RBs

Best draft pick in Steelers history

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