GREEN BAY-The Packers selected UCLA defensive end Datone Jones with the 26th pick of tonight's NFL draft. Jones, 6-4, 280, registered 6.5 sacks and 19 tackles for loss last season. He is considered versatile enough to play in several schemes.
Jones was one of the standout players at the Senior Bowl and at the scouting combine this past winter. He immediately addresses the Packers' need for young talent on an aging defensive line.
"His size, balance, explosiveness and pass-rush ability make him scheme and position-versatile," one draft publication said of Jones.
Per our official site Jones is the first Bruin player to be chosen in round one of the NFL Draft since Marcedes Lewis was picked by the Jacksonville Jaguars with the 28th pick of the 2006 draft. The last UCLA defender selected in the first round was linebacker Robert Thomas (2002 draft, No. 31, St. Louis Rams).
Jones' skill set starts with versatility - he slid all over the line at UCLA, and he could handle either DE spot or an occasional spin inside in the Packers' 3-4.
Green Bay's rather humiliating defeat against San Francisco in the playoffs proved again that this team needs more of a stout defense. Eventually, it stands to reason, the Packers will address their secondary and linebacking corps in this draft, too.
But the defensive line needed at least one reliable player. Jones more than works.
Grade: A. The Vikings and Packers have taken the bull by the horns late in Round 1, beefing up on defense with talented players who fit their schemes well. With B.J. Raji plugging the middle in Green Bay's D, Jones should be able to generate a little push alongside him, thus freeing up the Packers' outside linebackers (specifically, Clay Mattews) to help slow down opposing offenses.
We couldn't be more excited for Jones. It's a huge night for the Bruin who worked his tail off his senior season and improved at all facets of this game. Of course that also is a testament to the coaching he received his senior season from Jim Mora, Lou Spanos and more importantly Angus McClure. Congrats to all of them.
Now let's cross our fingers for the Jet Ski and hope he gets his call tomorrow night.