Why Green Bay Packers' Datone Jones Will Win NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year

By Jon Krouner
Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Green Bay Packers rookie Datone Jones was the fifth defensive end selected in the first round of of the 2013 NFL Draft, but could prove to be the most productive this season.

Jones joins an already fearsome Packers’ pass rush that features Clay Matthews, arguably the NFL’s best pass-rushing linebacker. In 2012, the Packers sacked the quarterback 47 times, fourth-most in the NFL, including 11 from Matthews despite four missed games.

In Green Bay’s 3-4 defense, Jones will start — assuming he beats out incumbent C.J. Wilson — at left defensive end alongside B.J. Raji and Ryan Pickett. Jones should reap the benefits of the attention paid to Matthews by opposing offenses.

With Matthews lurking and Raji’s bulk filling space, Jones won’t see many double-teams, which should create space and lead to plenty of quarterback pressures for Jones. This grouping could very well form the NFL’s premier pass rush this season.

In his senior season at UCLA, Jones recorded 5.5 sacks and 55 tackles, but it’s his size that makes him such a great prospect entering this season. At nearly 6-foot-4, Jones is Green Bay’s tallest lineman, while his 283 pounds — 30 pounds heavier than Demarcus Ware — suggest he’ll be able to play between the tackles when the Packers use four linemen.

Jones provides the Packers with a physical presence on the defensive line that they haven’t had in Titletown since the days of Reggie White.

“If you’re drawing up a defensive end, you’d like to have a guy with his kind of height and length,” said defensive coordinator Dom Capers, according to ESPN.

Jones isn’t an athletic freak like Dion Jordan or Ezekiel Ansah, but given his size and the ready-made Packers’ pass rush, Jones could pile up the sacks and take home the NFL’s Defensive Rookie of the Year.

Jon Krouner is the New York Giants writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @jkrouner  ”Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google+

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