The Green Bay Packers generally remain dormant when it comes to free agency in the NFL so the draft takes a whole new level of importance. Last year the Packers went defense-heavy in the draft as it was sorely needed and this draft is off to the same start as last years.
The Packers, with the 26th pick of the draft took Datone Jones, a defensive end out of UCLA.
Jones has a great body for a defensive end. He is six feet four inches tall and has long arms, 32 and 3/4 inches in length. With Jones as an end he will be able to knock down some passes JJ Watt style. He also possesses a 31.50 inch vertical which will also aid him in disrupting the passing game.
Jones has progressed very well during his college career, with his stats increasing every season. As a true freshman in 2008, he recorded 15 tackles, 10 of them solo, all while only starting two games. He broke out in 2009 with 30 tackles, 11 tackles for loss, four sacks and two forced fumbles.
He missed all the 2010 season with a foot injury but came back strong in 2011 with 41 tackles, 6.5 for a loss, and three sacks. In his senior year, Jones had 62 tackles, 19 for a loss, 5.5 sacks and one forced fumble.
Another good thing about Jones is that while he was at UCLA he played almost every spot on the defensive line. This works perfectly for the Packers who can use him as a defensive end but can also move him inside on third down situations. His versatility on the line will greatly help a Packers defense that struggled terribly for the second year in a row.
This is a great pick for the Packers. As mentioned before, the Packers defense struggled all year and really struggled against good running backs like Adrian Peterson and mobile quarterbacks like Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick. Jones has good lateral movement and will be able to get around the edge to hit running backs and mobile quarterbacks before they get into the open field.
Ted Thompson generally makes the right moves when it comes to the NFL draft. It seems he once again found a player that fits the Packers style and is hungry to prove himself at the professional level. Jones has gotten better every year he’s played, hopefully that trend continues into the NFL. The Packers need the help.