Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin watches as their fourth round draft pick quarterback Landry Jones out of Oklahoma throws during training camp at the team training facility in Latrobe, Pa. on Saturday, July 27, 2013 . (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
Landry Jones was a big time college quarterback, no question about it. In his time at Oklahoma he threw for over 16,000 yards and over 100 touchdowns as a four year starter. He has the size, 6 ft. 4″, 229lbs and he has a rocket arm.
The Steelers made him a 4th round pick indicating they saw something they liked in him. The question everyone has is what will his roll be this year and beyond with this organization?
Charlie Batch thinks he’s the eventual replacement for Ben Roethlisberger. Is he? Others say he’s a long term backup behind Big Ben. Is that the case? What is and what will be his role with this team?
First and foremost I will rule out the future starter of this team as the eventual replacement to Big Ben. It’s not that Jones can’t be that, but barring a devastating injury to Roethlisberger, it really doesn’t make sense. Big Ben should have another 5 or so years left, meaning Jones, who’s already 24, would be approaching 30 years old when he’d take the reigns as the starter. That’s just not going to occur.
With that ruled out, to me, the answer is actually a more complex and drawn out one. He’s the immediate third string quarterback who will learn and develop behind a future Hall of Famer in Big Ben and a pretty decent veteran backup in Bruce Gradkowski. Some say Jones will have a dog fight with John Parker Wilson for the third string job in 2013, he won’t. That job is his no matter what.
Jones will be the third string guy for a couple years before moving up the ladder to be the 2nd stringer for the back end of his rookie contract. Jones possesses the talent and ability to be a great future backup for this team and a guy I think the Steelers will trust to fill in as a starter if Big Ben has to sit out for one reason or another.
In the future, provided Jones develops nicely, I wouldn’t be shocked to see the team use him as trade bait. He could be a starter in this league and there are always teams looking for a new QB. In year 3 or 4 of the Landry Jones era, I expect to see him get a significant amount of pre-season exposure to try to showcase his skills. Assuming he plays well and puts up decent statistics; the team very well could shop him for a high pick with which they may actually draft the eventual replacement to Big Ben.
While that vision is a bit complex and may take 3 or 4 years to develop, it seems like a very real possibility for Jones. Jones is a hard worker and he’ll learn a lot over these next few years, he’ll grow into a solid backup, play well when called upon and eventually he’ll be the piece that brings in the true next generation Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback. So when you watch Jones this preseason you may want to reconsider how you view him. If you’re viewing him as the guy to replace Big Ben, you may want to re think your position. Look at him as the guy who’s going to bring in the guy to replace Big Ben.
Editor’s Note: Mike Pelaia hosts the website Steel Nation Association www.steelnationassociation.com – Covering the Steelers and helping Children’s Hospital All Day Everyday. You can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org