2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Packers draft UCLA DE Datone Jones at No. 26

By DAVE CAMPBELL - AP Pro Football Writer
    2013-04-25 23:53

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) - Datone Jones didn't need a debriefing. The former UCLA defensive end already knew all about the Green Bay Packers and the guy who, years ago, played his position best.

Talk about a good way to introduce himself to his new fan base. Jones brought up Reggie White unprompted in describing his relentless style of play.

The Packers selected Jones with the 26th pick in the first round of the NFL draft on Thursday night, addressing one of their positions in greatest need of an upgrade with a 6-foot-4, 280-pound player who can move all over the line and has a penchant for making big plays behind it.

Jones had 19 tackles for loss and 6 1/2 sacks for UCLA in a breakout season in 2012 as a fifth-year senior. With an athletic build and a basketball background, the lifelong Los Angeles native didn't start playing football until his sophomore season at Compton High School. He sat out the 2010 season because of a broken foot but bounced back from the injury. He even received UCLA's Captain Don Brown Award for the team's most improved player.

On a conference call with reporters, Jones said he actually rooted for the Packers (plus the New York Giants) growing up. He admired White, the late Pro Football Hall of Fame pass rusher, from afar.

``Reggie White played one way: with maniacal effort and just with complete hunger, no matter who he lined up against,'' said Jones, who described the excitement he felt when he saw his name next to the Packers on his TV screen: ``I almost fainted, man. This is like a dream come true.''

Jones has a combination of quickness and strength that should give Green Bay a valuable run-stopper and pass-rusher up front, an area of weakness exposed down the stretch last season. General manager Ted Thompson praised the versatility of Jones, who will wear No. 95. Jones was the fourth defensive end taken, thanks in part to a splurge on offensive linemen around the league, and enticing enough to steer Thompson away from his past penchant for trading down for more middle-round picks.

``We were pretty surprised the opportunity was there,'' Thompson said.

Defensive coordinator Dom Capers spoke highly of his athleticism and acceleration off the snap. Jones isn't hefty enough to play nose tackle on a regular basis, but he can ably move to the inside spot on obvious passing downs, when the Packers use their nickel or dime defenses. Capers also suggested Jones could play the outside linebacker spot in certain situations.

``It's become more of a space game,'' Capers said. ``Any time you're spread out and you're going to cover space, the quicker and faster you are, the better you're going to be, probably.''

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers used Twitter to welcome Jones to Wisconsin shortly after the pick was made.

``Bring your warmest jacket,'' Rodgers tweeted. ``Winter is coming.''

Jones said he actually played in five snowy games in his career.

``It never bothered me,'' he said, adding: ``I just can't wait. I'm playing with a great team.''

With their 3-4 defense, the down linemen for the Packers aren't as central to the scheme as in a 4-3 system, like when White, Gilbert Brown, Santana Dotson and Sean Jones dominated up front during their 1996 Super Bowl season. That doesn't mean the Packers could afford to ignore this position group, though. Far from it. That much became painfully clear to the front office, coaches, players and fans last fall and once winter arrived.

They were 26th out of 32 in the NFL last season in yards allowed per rushing attempt at 4.5. In two December games against rival Minnesota, league MVP award winner Adrian Peterson totaled 409 yards to help the Vikings split those crucial matchups. The Packers got in his way a little better in their playoff game at Lambeau Field, though an early deficit forced the Vikings away from their standard plan of pounding Peterson into the line.

But then came San Francisco. Quarterback Colin Kaepernick ran the read option all over the Packers and their front seven, running for two touchdowns and 181 yards, a quarterback record for a playoff game. Frank Gore tacked on 119 more yards.

Nose tackle B.J. Raji, a first-round pick in 2009, has entered the final year of his contract. Left end Ryan Pickett, also in the last season of his deal, will be 34 in October. Right end Jerel Worthy, a second-round draft pick last year, suffered a major knee injury in the regular season finale and is months away from being ready to play again.

Other ends C.J. Wilson, Mike Neal and Mike Daniels, all draft picks between 2010 and 2012, haven't done much yet to distinguish themselves from the pack. Nose tackle Johnny Jolly was recently signed to see if he can recover from drug problems to help strengthen the middle, but he hasn't played since 2009.

``I like the whole group,'' Thompson said, adding: ``Our veterans will determine the fate of our team, but adding another good athlete, got a little bit more speed. Trying to add a little more speed to the defense, we think is a good idea.''

The Packers entered this draft, the ninth under Thompson, with eight picks. They have the 55th and 88th overall selections in the second and third rounds on Friday night.

---

Follow Dave Campbell on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/DaveCampbellAP

---

Online: http://pro32.ap.org

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Adrian PetersonApr 23 05:22p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson may not be in the Dallas Cowboys' plans after all, according Charles Robinson of Yahoo! Sports. Robinson said the Cowboys have not spoken to the Vikings regarding Peterson.

Demaryius ThomasApr 23 03:32p

Denver Broncos WR Demaryius Thomas has decided not to participate in offseason workouts because he does not want to suffer an injury, but general manager John Elway does not [ More ]

Will HillApr 23 03:12p

Baltimore Ravens restricted free-agent FS Will Hill signed his tender offer Thursday, April 23, according to sources. Hill received a one-year deal worth $1.54 million.

Andre EllingtonApr 23 03:02p

Arizona Cardinals RB Andre Ellington's (foot) injured foot is about 95 percent healed, and Ellington has not suffered any setbacks, according to head coach Bruce Arians.

M. Jones-DrewApr 23 02:22p

Free-agent RB Maurice Jones-Drew (Raiders) will sign a one-day deal to retire as a member of the Jacksonville Jaguars next Tuesday, April 28. He played nine seasons and rushed [ More ]

Victor CruzApr 23 02:12p

New York Giants WR Victor Cruz (knee) said he believes that he will be ready to play in the season opener next season and play like he did before he suffered the injury.

Justin TuckerApr 23 01:52p

Baltimore Ravens restricted free-agent PK Justin Tucker has signed his one-year tender offer. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Bear PascoeApr 23 12:52p

Free-agent TE Bear Pascoe (Falcons) signed a one-year deal with the Chicago Bears Thursday, April 23. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Sam BradfordApr 23 01:53a

The Philadelphia Eagles and QB Sam Bradford have yet to make significant progress on a contract extension sparking speculation the quarterback might be traded again, although head coach Chip [ More ]

Brandin CooksApr 22 11:43p

New Orleans Saints WR Brandin Cooks (knee) spent time training together with QB Drew Brees during the offseason in San Diego. 'Man, I love everything about him, his makeup, [ More ]

Greg JenningsApr 22 06:13p

Free-agent WR Greg Jennings (Vikings) signed an undisclosed deal with the Miami Dolphins Wednesday, April 22.

Philip RiversApr 22 05:33p

San Diego Chargers QB Philip Rivers may be losing faith in the organization, according to NFL Network analyst and former Chargers' RB LaDainian Tomlinson. 'The parts around him keep [ More ]

Jacques McClendonApr 22 04:13p

Free-agent OG Jacques McClendon (Jaguars) signed an undisclosed deal with the Miami Dolphins Wednesday, April 22.

Adrian PetersonApr 22 02:23p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson is not expected to be traded by the Vikings unless the team is overwhelmed by an offer from another team, according to a source. [ More ]

Antonio BrownApr 22 02:23p

Pittsburgh Steelers WR Antonio Brown said he is not participating in voluntary workouts because he is spending time with his newborn child. Brown said he will report to offseason [ More ]

Marvin LewisApr 22 11:33a

Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis signed a one-year extension Wednesday, April 22. He's under contract through the 2016 season.

S. RichardsonApr 21 05:23p

Kansas City Chiefs CB Shaquille Richardson (undisclosed) was released Tuesday, April 21, with a failure to disclose physical condition designation.

Adrian PetersonApr 21 01:52p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson remains a candidate to be traded, and a source close to the situation believes that if he isn't traded before or during the 2015 [ More ]

Dennis PittaApr 20 06:52p

Baltimore Ravens TE Dennis Pitta (hip) is participating in the team's voluntary conditioning program that started Monday, April 20. Pitta's career remains in doubt after fracturing his right hip [ More ]

Prince AmukamaraApr 20 05:22p

New York Giants CB Prince Amukamara (biceps) said he's about 90% recovered from a torn biceps he suffered last season.

Adrian WilsonApr 20 05:02p

Updating a previous item, free-agent SS Adrian Wilson (Bears) signed a contract to officially retire with the Arizona Cardinals.

Tim TebowApr 20 03:52p

Free-agent QB Tim Tebow (Patriots) officially signed a one-year deal with the Philadelphia Eagles Monday, April 20. Financial terms were undisclosed.

Adrian PetersonApr 20 01:42p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson is not in attendance for the start of the team's offseason workout program Monday, April 20, according to league sources. However, Peterson hasn't attended [ More ]

Antonio BrownApr 20 11:02a

Pittsburgh Steelers WR Antonio Brown is seeking a new contract and could hold out from minicamps and training camp, according to sources.

Adrian WilsonApr 20 07:22a

Free-agent SS Adrian Wilson (Bears) is expected to retire Monday, April 20, and join the Arizona Cardinals coaching staff. The Cardinals, the team Wilson played for from 2001-2012, have announced a press conference.

Tim TebowApr 19 07:42p

Free-agent QB Tim Tebow (Patriots) is expected to sign a contract with the Philadelphia Eagles Monday, April 20.

Stefen WisniewskiApr 18 01:02p

Free-agent C Stefen Wisniewski (Raiders) signed a one-year deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars Saturday, April 18. Financial terms were undisclosed.

Ryan JensenApr 17 05:02p

Baltimore Ravens exclusive rights free-agent TE Phillip Supernaw, SS Brynden Trawick, CB Rashaan Melvin and OT Ryan Jensen re-signed with the team Friday, April 17. Terms of the contracts were not disclosed.

Adrian PetersonApr 17 12:42p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson said earlier this week that he's not sure if he'll participate in the team's offseason program. Minnesota is set to start their offseason workouts [ More ]

Adrian PetersonApr 16 03:02p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson will not receive any further suspension after he is reinstated from the commissioner's exempt list, according to a source.

Adrian PetersonApr 16 02:22p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson has been informed that he will be reinstated from the commissioner exempt list starting Friday, April 17.

Sammy WatkinsApr 15 11:33p

Buffalo Bills WR Sammy Watkins (hip) is able to work out in some capacity during the team's offseason program, although head coach Rex Ryan indicated Wednesday, April 15, that [ More ]

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2015 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group