When the Green Bay Packers selected Datone Jones in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft, they thought they were going to get a dominant force on their defensive line. Last season, Jones struggled and in part due to injury was not able to make the immediate impact expected. But now, in year two, the freakish defensive lineman from UCLA, is making plays and finally looks like the player the Packers hoped they were getting.
Jones, who is 6-4, 295-pounds, has seen a much bigger role on the defense this season for the Packers. Last year, he played more in nickel situations as an interior pass rusher. But now with a season of experience under his belt, Jones has locked down a starting position on the defensive line as an end/tackle depending upon alignment.
Last season, Jones did have 3.5 sacks, which was a solid number for a rookie, especially an interior pass rusher. But, outside of that his impact was minimal. He struggled against the run and did not see much time in the base defense. Yet, that has all changed this season and Jones has now turned into one of Green Bay’s most effective d-lineman.
The Packers run defense has struggled at times this season and in particular yesterday against Chicago when they surrendered 235 rushing yards, including 122 to Matt Forte and 77 to Ka’Deem Carey. Yet, that doesn’t change the fact that Jones had a very solid outing, registering two tackles and getting to Jay Cutler for Green Bay’s only sack of the day.
Even though Jones has just one sack on the season so far, his production levels are already better than a year ago. He has 12 tackles already in 2014, compared to just 1o all of last year.
Jones, who is a beast of a man, is the kind of player the Packers have needed up front since the departure of Cullen Jenkins. He is also the kind of long, athletic player that the Packers want on their defensive front. With all the athletic quarterbacks, no huddle offenses and new schemes in the new-age NFL, defensive lineman that are stout against the run, can pressure the quarterback and have some athleticism are at a premium. And luckily for the Packers it looks like they got one in Jones, who is getting closer and closer to being a dominating force each time he takes the field.