PROS: Datone Jones is a freak athletically. He has the ability to play nearly every position along the defensive line and his versatility is exactly what the Packers need. He was the top-performer at the NFL Combine in the 20-yard shuttle drill with an impressive time of 4.32 seconds. Jones is coming off his best year in what has been a very productive college career, in 2012. He totaled 62 tackles, 19 of those were for a loss, and 6.5 sacks in his senior season at UCLA.
At 6'4" 285 pounds, Jones has a huge frame that equates to tremendous strength. One of the more impressive things about Jones that you see in his game tape is his ability to jump off the ball. Jones literally shocks offensive linemen by how quick he jumps out of his stance at the snap of the ball — in a number of cases he won a given play just because he got of the ball so quickly.
Along with Jones' great timing and quick first step, his ability to use his hands well was also a pleasant surprise. He is violent with his hands in some of the videos I watched. He has the ability to throw bigger offensive linemen aside and hunt down the ball carrier with vengeance.
Smaller pros for Jones include: his high motor. Jones rarely gives up on a play and when he is fresh he wrecks havoc on the opposing backfield. He is a great on the field leader, which fits perfectly in Green Bay with the departure of Charles Woodson. Finally, he is very humble. Coming out of high school in Compton, California, Jones was a 4-star prospect that had offers from Norte Dame, USC and Oregon, but decided to go down the road to UCLA in order to stay with his family and friends. You don't see that very often from very talented high school players.
CONS: The biggest glaring con for Jones came back in the 2010 season when he missed the entire season with a broken right foot. Historically players that break their foot during their career suffer from it later in their career. The Packers have taken often injured college players in the past and it hasn't worked out. The Packers are also consistently riddled with injuries, so they will look to draft tougher and more durable players in this draft.
Jones had a mediocre season in 2011 as a junior, which maybe from the lingering effects of his broken foot the previous season, however, as a skeptic one could argue his high production his senior season was a fluke.
Jones isn't considered an elite pass rusher, which the Packers could highly use to put opposite of Clay Matthews. However, to play devil's avocate, Packer fans should expect a significant role increase for second year man Nick Perry, so adding Jones wouldn't mean he has to be the No. 2 pass rusher.
Finally, Jones' mechanics within his stance are poor to say the least. In the film I watched, Jones had the tendency to get locked on with offensive linemen for a long time during a play. Like I previously mentioned Jones has a great first step, however, if he doesn't win with his first step he is often times taken out of the play by a good offensive linemen. He needs to improve his ability to scrape and get off blocks.
Final Verdict: As you can see there are far more strengths than weaknesses for Jones. With the exception of the injury history, which may or may not be a one time thing, all of Jones' flaws can be easily corrected at the next level. At No. 26 he would simply be too hard to pass up if I'm the Packers. He is an impact player and will contribute day one. He has been my favorite pick for the last two months for the Packers and quite frankly its the biggest position of need for the Packers. Jones could instantly provide depth and production to a defensive line that is in trouble not only now, but after the 2013-14 season with Raji's and Pickett's contracts coming off the books potentially.
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