The Steelers selected Jones with the No. 17 overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, adding a ready-to-play talent to their defense. Mike Tomlin might be playing it coy, but he doesn't sound like a coach ready to hand Jones a starting job.
"I think it's a daunting task for rookies to start in any system and play and perform well," Tomlin said, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "Obviously it is difficult when you have established veteran players like we have with a lot of continuity. We are not going to close the door on him or anyone else on earning an opportunity, and that is what this is about. This is about people taking advantage of opportunities, so he'll be given that."
Linebackers coach Keith Butler said the Steelers "have to be better" at the position. He also said no rookie has started at linebacker since he's been with the organization.
"He's going to come in and compete, but he's not going to be given the position," Butler said. "Some of you think that way. I certainly don't think that way. My thing is Jason Worilds is here. He's the next guy up since James has left and I expect Jason to be better than he ever has been."
Worilds is entering the final year of his contract and has been a disappointment in his first three years with the Steelers. It's logical that the Steelers would call it an open competition, but this should be Jones' job to lose.
Follow Dan Hanzus on Twitter @DanHanzus.