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

Anthony SpencerJul 25 12:12a

Dallas Cowboys DE Anthony Spencer (knee) said he is feeling good but is not sure when he will be able to start practicing. Spencer said he is not sure [ More ]

Ndamukong SuhJul 24 05:02p

Detroit Lions DT Ndamukong Suh's long-awaited contract extension is highly unlikely to occur before the start of training camp, according to a source. The Lions commence training camp Sunday, July 27.

Vince WilforkJul 24 04:52p

New England Patriots DT Vince Wilfork (Achilles') said he doesn't have any limitations, or he wouldn't be practicing.

Aaron RossJul 24 04:42p

Baltimore Ravens CB Aaron Ross (Achilles') has been placed on Injured Reserve. Ross will miss the entire season with a torn Achilles' tendon.

Terrance WestJul 24 04:32p

Cleveland Browns RB Terrance West (undisclosed), DT Jacobbi McDaniel (undisclosed), OG Jeremiah Warren and OL Chris Faulk (undisclosed) returned to the team's active roster Thursday, July 24.

Corey PetersJul 24 04:32p

Atlanta Falcons DT Corey Peters (Achilles') plans to be back for Atlanta's season-opener, saying he's optimistic and is feeling good.

Kevin BurnettJul 24 04:12p

The Oakland Raiders have cut LB Kevin Burnett.

D.J. HaydenJul 24 04:02p

Oakland Raiders CB D.J. Hayden (foot) is out for the start of training camp with a stress fracture in his foot.

Odell Beckham Jr.Jul 24 03:42p

New York Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr. (hamstring) did not take any reps in practice Thursday July 24, as he continues to rehab from a hamstring injury.

Jonathan StewartJul 24 03:32p

Updating a previous report, Carolina Panthers RB Jonathan Stewart (hamstring) is expected to miss one-to-two weeks as he recovers from a hamstring injury. Stewart will not be placed on [ More ]

Laron LandryJul 24 02:52p

Indianapolis Colts CB Vontae Davis (undisclosed) and FS LaRon Landry (undisclosed) both did not participate in practice Thursday, July 24.

Jason HatcherJul 24 02:42p

Washington Redskins DT Jason Hatcher (knee) said he is progressing pretty quickly from a knee injury. I want to get back on the field, but I know I've got [ More ]

Chase FordJul 24 02:12p

Minnesota Vikings TE Chase Ford (foot) had a procedure on his left foot last week for a stress fracture and is expected to miss training camp.

Justin BlackmonJul 24 02:12p

Jacksonville Jaguars WR Justin Blackmon will not be cut by the team after his most recent arrest, according to owner Shad Khan. 'We want him to get help he needs,' Khan said.

Jamaal WestermanJul 24 02:02p

The Cleveland Browns signed LB Jamaal Westerman (Steelers) Thursday, July 24. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

Taylor LewanJul 24 01:52p

The Tennessee Titans signed OL Taylor Lewan Thursday, July 24. Per NFL rules, the length of the contract is four years. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Larry DonnellJul 24 01:32p

New York Giants TE Larry Donnell is listed as the team's starting tight end on the first unofficial depth chart of training camp.

Tre BostonJul 24 01:02p

Carolina Panthers SS Tre Boston (hernia) was placed on the team's Physically Unable to Perform list Thursday, July 24.

Jonathan StewartJul 24 12:52p

Carolina Panthers RB Jonathan Stewart (hamstring) is dealing with a hamstring injury, but the team will leave him on the active roster heading into training camp.

Cam NewtonJul 24 12:42p

Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton (ankle) was cleared for practice, according to general manager David Gettleman.

Rob GronkowskiJul 24 12:12p

New England Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski (knee) was limited in practice Thursday, July 24. He worked for an hour and 15 minutes before watching the rest of the activities. [ More ]

Anthony SpencerJul 24 12:12p

Dallas Cowboys DE Anthony Spencer (knee) was placed on the team's Physically Unable to Perform List Thursday, July 24.

Aaron RossJul 24 11:52a

Baltimore Ravens CB Aaron Ross (Achilles') has torn his Achilles' tendon.

Deone BucannonJul 24 11:32a

Arizona Cardinals S Deone Bucannon was not dropped into the starting lineup during offseason workouts, as the team has faith in FS Tony Jefferson and FS Rashad Johnson. He [ More ]

Ray RiceJul 24 11:31a

Baltimore Ravens RB Ray Rice will be suspended for the first two games of the season, according to sources. The announcement is expected Thursday, July 24.

Blake BortlesJul 24 11:22a

Jacksonville Jaguars QB Blake Bortles' lower-body mechanics likely will be revised. Bortles' flaw has been over-reliance on his right arm when throwing; he doesn't use his legs enough. A [ More ]

Mikel LeshoureJul 24 11:14a

Detroit Lions RB Mikel Leshoure is currently believed to be the fourth tailback on the club behind RBs Reggie Bush, Joique Bell and Theo Riddick heading into training camp [ More ]

Justin BlackmonJul 24 10:53a

Jacksonville Jaguars WR Justin Blackmon was arrested for possession of marijuana Wednesday, July 23, in Oklahoma.

Jordan PalmerJul 24 10:52a

Chicago Bears QB Jordan Palmer still has the first shot at winning the backup quarterback job, according to head coach Marc Trestman.

R. Griffin IIIJul 24 10:22a

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III's designed running plays might be 'few and far between,' according to head coach Jay Gruden. He still has the green light to scramble [ More ]

Daniel FellsJul 24 09:42a

New York Giants TE Daniel Fells has received the first snap in 11-on-11 drills during the team's two days in training camp. Kellen Davis and Adrien Robinson have [ More ]

Ahmad BradshawJul 24 08:33a

Indianapolis Colts RB Ahmad Bradshaw (neck) has been cleared to practice. Bradshaw is an RB4, but he could be worth more if Trent Richardson fails to produce again.

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