Defensive end Datone Jones is a solid pick for the Green Bay Packers. The organization was wise to select Jones with the No. 26 overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft because he will greatly improve the defensive line over the years.
Jones is capable of stopping the run and chasing down an opposing quarterback. He is an ideal defensive lineman to play in a 3-4 defense, especially since that is what he ran at UCLA. He recorded 57 tackles, 17.5 tackles for loss and six sacks last season. Jones is the perfect all-around player to help Green Bay strengthen two major weaknesses: preventing an overwhelming ground game and getting after the quarterback.
The 6-foot-4, 283-pound defensive end will be utilized to his fullest potential under defensive coordinator Dom Capers. Everyone in the college football world saw what Jones is capable of when a great defensive coach takes control, and there are simply not many better than Capers. Green Bay’s defensive coaches are going to take the raw talent that Jones has and mold him into an unstoppable force.
Jones explodes off the snap and has the strength to bulldoze through anyone in his way. He gets in between blockers and takes down the ball carrier on a consistent basis. He will use his great hands to move blockers away from him so he can make any play within his grasp. Also, his natural ability to sniff out the football and take down playmakers will be critical when Clay Matthews and Nick Perry are applying outside pressure.
Green Bay’s biggest problem in the run game is the ability to seal the edge on a consistent basis. I have to imagine one of the major reasons Thompson selected Jones is because he is outstanding in this area. With Jones on the end, running backs and quick quarterbacks will have a difficult time breaking outside to record big runs.
The biggest flaw Jones has shown in his collegiate career is staying on the field for long periods. It appears the Packers will have to condition him properly in order for him to handle the big work load. He also has had a difficult time living up to the hype, but that is something Green Bay will take care of quickly. Playing for the Packers means one thing and one thing only, winning championships. If that does not prepare Jones mentally and physically right out of the gate, nothing will.
The good news for the Packers is that Jones is an aggressive player who hits very hard, something the Packers needed desperately on the defensive line. There is no question that he will be a huge asset in Green Bay’s next Super Bowl run.