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Packers’ Brian Gutekunst on Josh Jones: Speed, versatility, & explosiveness

The Packers are excited about their new safety, and feel that he can play in a number of different places on the defense.

North Carolina v North Carolina State Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

After selecting safety Josh Jones out of North Carolina State with the 61st pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, the Green Bay Packers sent director of player personnel Brian Gutekunst out to meet with the media and discuss the selection. You’ll notice in his comments that versatility is one of Jones’ best attributes, as Gutekunst mentioned that word frequently throughout the Q&A.

What stood out about Jones?

“I think he’s really versatile. I think he can do a lot of things. He’s an explosive athelte. He can come down in the box but he’s shown coverage ability as well and he can do a lot of things in our defense.”

How did his Combine affect your analysis of him?

“That’s impressive in his own right and then you watch the tape and he backs it up ... you see it.”

Could he play a similar hybrid safety/linebacker role to Morgan Burnett?

“Yeah, that’s a good comparison. Both of those guys have really good ability throughout the secondary ... we see him as one of those guys that can help on a lot of fronts. ...I think he could do some of that stuff if we wanted to. His versatility is one of his best assets. Absolutely (he can blitz). His ability to cover wide receivers, backs, tight ends.”

Did you go into the draft looking for more size and speed in the secondary?

“I think we’re always that way and this guy in particular he jumps off the tape. I don’t think it’s unusual but bigger and faster is always the way we want to go.”

What sort of expectations do you have for these two players?

“I don’t think you put a whole lot of expectations on them right away. We have some pretty good players that are already here ... the way both these guys (are wired and the gifts that they have, I have high expectations for him.”

Did you value his strength and tackling ability?

“He’s a very good tackler. In space and in the box. He’s one of those guys at NC State they’ll drop him in there and play a Will LB and he’ll shoot in there and take on blockers ... with Josh the versatility, that’s the exciting part for us.”

How did he get eight interceptions in college?

“He can get off the hash. He’s got really good range to find the ball. He’s got good ball skills. His ability to get off the spot is really impressive.”

Did you do a lot of research on him throughout the process?

“We did. He’s a junior coming out so we met with him. We had two guys at his Pro Day. We felt really good about the guy and the player. He’s a Detroit kid from a small town outside of Detroit. He’s a confident kid, very smart. He’s pretty good to stand next to, too.”

Why did he have such a big year as a junior?

“I think he was more productive because they moved him around more this year. They tried to move him around to where he could be a playmaker. They realized they needed to get him in the mix as much as they could.”

What have these two picks improved in the Packers’ secondary?

“Taller! (We’re) definitely taller and maybe a little faster. We’ve got a really good group of secondary guys that are here and I think the versatility now in that room is really going to help us.”