After being physically dominated in a 45-31 playoff loss to the San Francisco 49ers, the Green Bay Packers knew one thing: They needed to get tougher. And with the selection of Datone Jones with the 26th pick of the 2013 NFL Draft, they did just that.
The Jones pick didn't generate as much buzz as other first-round selections, but it should've because it's going to make a Green Bay pass rush that was already potent (47 sacks in in 2012, fourth-best in the NFL) downright scary.
At 6-3, 283 pounds, Jones may not have the athleticism to be a 4-3 defensive end, but he will fit perfectly as a five-technique in Dom Capers' 3-4 defense.
In that position, Jones will be able to utilize his innate ability to penetrate and wreak havoc in the backfield to help a run defense that ranked 17th in the NFL in rushing yards allowed and 26th in yards per carry (Pro Football Reference).
Over the course of his four-year career, the former UCLA Bruin was highly productive, totaling 148 career tackles (36.5 for loss) to go along with 12.5 sacks, three forced fumbles and five passes defensed; last season, he was particularly effective as he notched 62 tackles (19.5 for loss) and five sacks (Sports Reference).
Even though Jones is naturally a defensive end, he could make his greatest impact lined up at defensive tackle in pass rush situations when the Packers play their nickel and dime defenses.
That gives the Packers a formidable four-man rush with the combination of Jones and B.J. Raji inside as well as Clay Matthews and Nick Perry on the outside.
Beyond the pass rush, Jones also brings added toughness, which the Packers have been looking for all offseason.
They knew they needed to get tougher to get past the likes of Seattle and San Francisco en route to the Super Bowl, and while the work is far from over, it's off to a promising start.
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