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

Nate FreeseSep 22 04:17p

The Lions released Freese on Monday.

Mike TolbertSep 22 03:03p

Carolina Panthers FB Mike Tolbert (leg) has a hairline fracture in his leg. The timetable for his return is unknown.

Donald BrownSep 22 02:43p

San Diego Chargers RB Donald Brown rushed for seven yards on 15 carries in the second half against the Buffalo Bills in Week 3. Seven of Brown's carries went [ More ]

Jonathan StewartSep 22 02:43p

Carolina Panthers RB Jonathan Stewart (knee) could very well miss Week 4 with a severely sprained right knee. Stewart will not practice until Friday, Sept. 26 this week, [ More ]

Marqise LeeSep 22 02:13p

Jacksonville Jaguars WR Marqise Lee (hamstring) will be evaluated during the week but is not expected to play in Week 4.

Vincent JacksonSep 22 02:13p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Vincent Jackson (wrist) fractured his wrist against the Atlanta Falcons last Thursday night. The fracture is small and Jackson is expected to play this week.

Josh McCownSep 22 02:03p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Josh McCown (thumb) is not expected to play in Week 4 against the Pittsburgh Steelers because of his thumb injury and could miss more time [ More ]

Jason KelceSep 22 02:03p

Philadelphia Eagles C Jason Kelce (hernia) will likely need six weeks of recovery time following surgery to fix his sports hernia, according to a source with knowledge of the [ More ]

Jonathan GoodwinSep 22 01:53p

New Orleans Saints C Jonathan Goodwin (ankle) is dealing with a high ankle sprain, according to a source. An MRI exam confirmed the injury, and he's likely to miss some time.

Frank GoreSep 22 01:53p

San Francisco 49ers RB Frank Gore wasn't pleased with the offensive game plan in which they unleashed five-receiver sets against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 3 because of a [ More ]

Ryan TannehillSep 22 01:32p

Miami Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill is not guaranteed to be the starting quarterback in Week 4 against the Oakland Raiders after head coach Joe Philbin declined to name a starter for the game.

Stephen TullochSep 22 01:22p

Detroit Lions LB Stephen Tulloch (knee) will have surgery on his knee at an undetermined date. LB DeAndre Levy will likely slide to middle linebacker to replace Tulloch.

Demaryius ThomasSep 22 01:12p

Denver Broncos WR Demaryius Thomas finished with four catches for just 31 yards in the team's Week 3 loss to the Seattle Seahawks, but QB Peyton Manning targeted him [ More ]

Jason KelceSep 22 01:12p

Philadelphia Eagles C Jason Kelce (hernia) will undergo surgery to repair a sports hernia he suffered in Week 3. Head coach Chip Kelly said he does not know how [ More ]

Chris ProsinskiSep 22 01:12p

Jacksonville Jaguars FS Chris Prosinski (elbow) will miss two to four weeks because of an elbow injury.

Eric DeckerSep 22 12:52p

New York Jets WR Eric Decker (hamstring) will be a true game-time decision in Week 3 against the Chicago Bears Monday, Sept. 22.

Alex HenerySep 22 12:43p

Detroit Lions PK Nate Freese was waived Monday, Sept. 22, and the team signed free-agent PK Alex Henery (Eagles) to an undisclosed deal to take his place. Freese made [ More ]

Stephen TullochSep 22 12:43p

Detroit Lions LB Stephen Tulloch (knee) tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his knee and is out for the season, according to head coach Jim Caldwell. Tulloch injured himself while celebrating in Week 3.

Owen DanielsSep 22 12:43p

Houston Texans TE Owen Daniels will be relied on in the tight end position with TE Dennis Pitta (hip) out indefinitely. Daniels has experience in offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak's [ More ]

Frank GoreSep 22 11:32a

San Francisco 49ers RB Frank Gore had just 10 yards on six carries Sunday, Sept. 21. He received 16 carries in Week 1 and 13 carries in Week 2.

T Y HiltonSep 22 11:32a

Indianapolis Colts WR T.Y. Hilton (ankle) is not expected to have a severe ankle injury, according to head coach Chuck Pagano.

Darrelle RevisSep 22 11:02a

Oakland Raiders QB Derek Carr was 5-for-6 on passes against New England Patriots CB Darrelle Revis Sunday, Sept. 21. That is tied for the second-most receptions Revis has allowed [ More ]

Jarvis JonesSep 22 10:13a

Updating a previous report, Pittsburgh Steelers LB Jarvis Jones (wrist) will require surgery on his wrist injury suffered Sunday, Sept 21.

LeSean McCoySep 22 10:03a

Philadelphia Eagles RB LeSean McCoy was held in check by the Washington Redskins' big nickel package and base defensive front Sunday, Sept. 21. He was rarely able to bounce [ More ]

Ike TaylorSep 22 09:32a

Pittsburgh Steelers CB Ike Taylor (forearm) suffered a broken forearm Sunday, Sept. 21, and is out indefinitely.

Branden OliverSep 22 09:14a

With injuries to both RB Ryan Mathews (knee) and Danny Woodhead (ankle/leg), RB Branden Oliver could see more playing time going forward with the San Diego Chargers.

Eddie LacySep 22 09:13a

Green Bay Packers RB Eddie Lacy had five of 11 carries Sunday, Sept. 21, go for no gain or negative yardage. Lacy acknowledged defenses may know how to contain [ More ]

Jonathan GoodwinSep 22 06:42a

New Orleans Saints C Jonathan Goodwin (leg) left the game Sunday, Sept. 21 after suffering a left leg injury. He was carted off the field and was later seen [ More ]

Tyvon BranchSep 22 06:32a

Oakland Raiders SS Tyvon Branch (foot) sustained a fractured foot during his team's 16-9 loss to the New England Patriots on Sunday, Sept. 21. His status for future weeks has not been determined.

Rod StreaterSep 22 06:13a

Oakland Raiders WR Rod Streater (foot) suffered a fractured foot during his team's 16-9 loss to the New England Patriots Sunday, Sept. 21. Streater was wearing a walking boot [ More ]

Deonte ThompsonSep 22 05:53a

The Baltimore Ravens waived WR Deonte Thompson on Saturday, Sept. 20 in order to promote RB Fitzgerald Toussaint from the practice squad, but Thompson could stick with the team [ More ]

Marvin JonesSep 21 11:53p

Cincinnati Bengals WR Marvin Jones (foot) is expected to be healthy enough to return in Week 5 after the team's bye.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group