Jarvis Jones selected by Pittsburgh Steelers at No. 17


NEW YORK -- The Pittsburgh Steelers added a playmaker to their defense on Thursday night, selecting Georgia outside linebacker Jarvis Jones with the 17th overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft.

Jones was a terror in his final college season, leading the nation with 14.5 sacks and 24.5 tackles for loss in 2012. The performance earned him Southeastern Conference Defensive Player of the Year honors. He will attempt to fill the void left by James Harrison, who was released before signing with the Cincinnati Bengals.

Follow on your smartphone or tablet for exclusive content including live video from Radio City Music Hall.

"I got a long way to go before I'm a James Harrison," Jones said Thursday, according to Steelers Digest editor Bab Labriola.

The move doesn't come without risk. Jones suffered a neck injury during the 2009 season and was sidelined for the entire 2010 season. Jones was diagnosed with spinal stenosis, and USC doctors refused to clear him for contact. They went as far as recommending he retire from football. Jones instead chose to transfer to Georgia, where he was medically cleared.

Jones received positive medical updates during the pre-draft process, and the Steelers obviously were comfortable with the situation. Jones is a nice fit for this system, who will push right outside linebacker Jason Worilds for a starting job.

Follow Dan Hanzus on Twitter @DanHanzus.