The Steelers are already bowing out of the race to nab this top offensive lineman in the 2023 NFL Draft having stated concerns about his work ethic.
The Pittsburgh Steelers have been enamored with their share of top draft prospects in the past. Unfortunately, Ohio State’s Dawand Jones may have rubbed them the wrong way this offseason.
It may be too early to count the Steelers out on Jones in the upcoming NFL Draft, and anything a team does or says could be considered part of an act in this smoke and mirrors period of the offseason. Based on at least one account, however, Pittsburgh has been far from impressed by Jones in the few workouts he’s participated in.
Once considered a bona fide star in the O-line draft class having put in a fantastic Senior Bowl practice, Jones’ stock may now be on the decline.
NFL analyst Tony Pauline recently spoke about the Steelers’ perception of Jones on the “Steelers Sanctuary” podcast, and the outlook doesn’t look like sunshine and rainbows for the potential first-round pick.
“Dawand Jones had one phenomenal day of practice at the Senior Bowl, but then he packed it in. Didn’t practice the next two days. Didn’t play in the game. Went to the Combine, ran the 40, did position drills. I was at the Ohio State Pro Day with Mike Tomlin and those guys, and they were very [upset] because Jones did nothing at his Pro Day.”
OT Dawand Jones has lost his “it” factor, no longer desirable to Steelers
Barring his outstanding showing at one Senior Bowl practice, Jones has struggled to live up to the hype, and taking himself out of workout showcases has hurt his stock more than it has helped it.
Jones likely saw how excited teams were after that practice and decided to limit his performances afterward, so as not to lower teams’ impression of him. Yet in doing so, he achieved the opposite effect, and many are left wondering whether his performance at the Senior Bowl training was just an anomaly.
According to The Draft Network, Jones ranks as a starting-caliber right tackle whose closest NFL comparison is Bengals’ Orlando Brown.
The OSU product also had a starry future in basketball back in the day and boasts a high degree of athleticism that translates well to his pass protection skills and overwhelming run-blocking traits.
Jones is still viewed as a first-round prospect to most pundits and could feasibly still be available at 17th overall, when Pittsburgh will be on the clock.
At this point, Mike Tomlin and the Steelers may have already made up their minds about Jones and his questionable decision to sit out of several combine and Pro Day workouts — Jones will be a fine addition to one team’s roster in late April, it just won’t be the Steelers’.
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