The Green Bay Packers have a handful of rookies that will make the 53-man roster when it is all said and done. It is true Green Bay will need more than one of those rookies to pan out right off the bat if the team wants to get back to the Super Bowl. With that being said, first round draft pick Datone Jones must have the biggest impact of all the rookies on the team during the 2013 NFL season.
Obviously, the Packers will need rookie running backs Eddie Lacy and Johnathan Franklin to have some sort of impact in the rushing attack in 2013. However, Green Bay also has running backs with experience, such as DuJuan Harris, James Starks and Alex Green, who can handle the load until the rookies figure it out.
What the Packers do not have is a legitimate pass rushing threat to go along with Clay Matthews. The major problem has to have an immediate solution, or Green Bay will once again fall just short of their ultimate goal.
Jones posted 62 tackles, 19 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks in 2012. The Packers will need him to put up monster numbers in his rookie season, while he will have to consistently attack the quarterback with the same intensity that Matthews does. There is a lot riding on what Jones will be able to do along the defensive line, which certainly puts on added pressure. However, if he wants to help Green Bay win another title he will have to be everything the Packers expect.
Whether Green Bay decides to line Jones up on the same side or opposite of Matthews is still up for discussion. Putting the rookie on the same side as one of the best pass rushers in the league is going to benefit everyone involved. However, it might be more effective to line him up next to outside linebacker Nick Perry.
The bottom line is that the expectations are huge for Jones in Titletown, USA. If he falls short of what Green Bay’s past two first round draft picks were able to accomplish then the Packers are in big trouble on the defensive front.