Datone Jones: How Will Packers' Newest DE Fare in the Pros?

Dan Hope@Dan_HopeContributor IIIApril 25, 2013

Sept. 22, 2012; Pasadena, CA, USA;   Oregon State Beavers offensive tackle Colin Kelly (64) defends UCLA Bruins defensive end Datone Jones (56) in the fourth quarter at the Rose Bowl.  Oregon State won 27-20. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The Green Bay Packers added another interior pass-rusher to their defense with the No. 26 overall pick in the 2013 NFL draft, selecting UCLA defensive end Datone Jones.


Jones has huge upside as a 5-technique defensive end in the Packers' three-man defensive front and as one of two interior defensive linemen in the Packers' two-man nickel front. Jones has outstanding quickness and athleticism for a 6'4", 283-pound defensive lineman, and is explosive and skilled as both an inside and outside pass-rusher.

Jones was an inconsistent performer at UCLA, but when he gets a good jump off the line, he is a difficult player to block with his explosive start and powerful use of hands and pass-rushing moves. He can give the Packers what they do not currently have, an explosive penetrator on their defensive line to both improve their pass-rush and make run stops in the backfield.

He has the size and strength to hold up as an inside run defender, and will likely continue to add 10-15 pounds now that he has been drafted into a 3-4 scheme. If he can become a more consistent player against the run, he could be a real star on the Packers' defensive front.


The Packers were already one of the NFL's most productive pass-rushing teams last season, finishing fourth league-wide with 47 sacks, and only 11 1/2 of those sacks came from their defensive linemen. Jones is somewhat raw and may not be an immediate star, but could still be a 5-8 sack player in his rookie season given his athletic ability. He has the potential to be a very productive pass-rusher, which could make the Packers' defense more valuable in terms of points for sacks.


Jones will have to compete for a starting spot at both 5-technique defensive end and in the two-man nickel front with a number of defensive linemen, including 2012 second-round pick Jerel Worthy, Ryan Pickett, C.J. Wilson and Mike Neal.

Of that group, however, Jones is the best pass-rusher of the group. He should have the edge to win the primary spot next to Raji in the team's nickel formation, but will likely come off the bench in the team's base 3-4 defense as a rookie.


Considering Jones' upside as an interior pass-rusher, the late first round is an appropriate range for his value. He should make an immediate impact on the Packers' defense, and is a great fit for their scheme.

Without many obvious needs to fill, Jones was arguably the best fit of any player available on the board for the Packers, and was a smart choice at No. 26 overall.