"He's going to be a rookie and he'll go through the same thing rookies go through," Tomlin said. "We're not going to take anything for granted in terms of his growth and development."
Defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau's complex playbook can make it difficult for first-year players to find playing time. There will be plenty of studying before training camp opens in July. Jones hardly appears overcome by the sudden thrust from NFL prospect to NFL player.
Asked to describe LeBeau, Jones just smiled and called the Hall-of-Famer "chill."
Then again, it's early. The Steelers might not be rebuilding but they are regrouping after an 8-8 season. Jones will get a chance to prove he belongs. In a way, he already does. In the hours after hearing his name called by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, Jones received congratulatory phone calls and texts from Woodley, Polamalu and Ben Roethlisberger.
"I can't wait to get in the locker room with those guys and just learn from those guys," he said. "It's definitely a blessing to be on the field with those guys."
The Steelers might talk about having Jones take his time and learn the system, but in today's NFL, first-round picks aren't supposed to wait their turn, particularly if it's a position where there's a significant need.
Jones impressed Tomlin and general manager Kevin Colbert with his maturity. He'll need to lean on it to fit into an organization that's still knee-deep in veterans. As Tomlin likes to say, "the standard is the standard" regardless if it's Harrison out there or Jones. That's fine by the kid in the 95 jersey.
"They're about winning," Jones said. "They're about playing hard-nosed defense and they're about playing down after down. I see it and I know what it means."
Follow Will Graves at www.twitter.com/WillGravesAP