AFC North: Chris Samuels

Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones is a perfect fit for the Browns' new 3-4 defense. Jones is the exact pass-rush terror the Steelers need to eventually replace James Harrison.

But the Browns and Steelers could both pass on the FBS leader in sacks in the first round because he's one of the biggest medical risks in the draft. Jones has stenosis, a narrowing of the spinal column.

Diagnosed with this condition at USC as a freshman, Jones transferred to Georgia when doctors wouldn't clear him to play for the Trojans. He went on to record 28.5 sacks in 26 games at Georgia.

Jones got a favorable report from neck and spine specialist Dr. Craig Brigham, who's examining players at the combine, various teams told ESPN's Chris Mortensen. But it's been reported that some teams have taken Jones off their draft board because of his medical condition.

Stenosis has cut short the careers of Sterling Sharpe and Chris Samuels. Former Chargers offensive tackle Marcus McNeill slid into the second round in 2006 because teams were worried about spinal stenosis. McNeill played six seasons, going to two Pro Bowls, before retiring prior to the 2012 season.

Jones said he has no concerns about playing with this condition in the NFL.

"Anybody who steps on that field has a chance of getting hurt," Jones said at the NFL combine. "If you think about it like that, nobody would ever play football. For me, I'm just taking advantage of the opportunity. I love this game. I'm passionate about it."

NFL teams have a couple of months to make their final decision on Jones.

Steelers halftime notes

November, 3, 2008

Posted by's James Walker

LANDOVER, Md. -- The Pittsburgh Steelers are leading the Washington Redskins 10-6 in a big game for both teams.

Here are some first-half observations:

  • Pittsburgh is playing with reckless abandon on special teams. After trying an onsides kick on the opening kickoff in the first quarter (it failed), the Steelers successfully brought the pressure for a punt block in the second quarter. It was Pittsburgh's first punt block since Dec. 17, 2006 and set up quarterback Ben Roethlisberger's 1-yard touchdown run with 32 seconds left in the second quarter.
  • The Steelers are getting good pressure off the edges with outside linebackers James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley. Woodley has a sack and Harrison is attacking Washington's left side and has two sacks against Redskins left tackle Chris Samuels, who is returning from injury.
  • Monday marked the returns for Pittsburgh starting tailback Willie Parker and receiver Santonio Holmes. Parker showed some good shiftiness and had 45 rushing yards on 10 carries in the first half. Holmes looked the most rusty of the two, missing a hot read on one play in the first quarter. Holmes had one catch for nine yards.
  • The Redskins have played the Cover 1 defense on third down three straight times in the first quarter and the Steelers failed to figure it out all three times. It's been a common pressure package for Washington all season. Pittsburgh began attacking it deep a couple times in the second quarter with a little more success.