The first 32 picks of the 2013 NFL Draft are in the books, and the Packers struck gold (and baby blue?) by grabbing UCLA defensive end Datone Jones at No. 26.
Jones was a popular pick among mock drafts, and he was my selection for the Packers in my final mock draft released Thursday. At 6’4″ 283 pounds, Jones has the frame to add another 10-15 pounds and be a difference-maker on the defensive line early in his career.
But when the Packers were on the clock, Jones wasn’t necessarily a no-brainer. A number of players at positions of need were on the board, including defensive linemen Jesse Williams and Sylvester Williams, safeties Jonathan Cyprien and Matt Elam, and wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson.
The team’s two biggest needs are/were at safety and on the defensive line. So rather than go with a luxury pick like Patterson, the Packers opted to go with the more glaring need by taking Jones.
A year ago, the Packers addressed the defensive line by taking Michigan State’s Jerel Worthy in the second round and Iowa’s Mike Daniels in the fourth. Worthy suffered a torn ACL late in 2012 and may miss a large chuck, or perhaps all, of the 2013 season. And with Ryan Pickett, B.J. Raji, Mike Neal and C.J. Wilson set to hit free agency after this season, the selection of Jones gives the team some flexibility along the line.
What they’re saying:
“Because Green Bay plays a 3-4 defense, this kid is an ideal fit. I love this kid’s upside. He fits the scheme. He’s the only one I saw who beat Eric Fisher all week long in one-on-one.” – Mike Mayock (via NFL.com)
“Datone is a very versatile player, played all up and down the line of scrimmage at UCLA. Really flourished in Coach Mora’s new system out there. We think he adds a lot of versatility to our group, should be able to fit in and help our group out.” – Ted Thompson (via PackersNews.com)
“I hate losing and I’m happy to come to an organization like Green Bay, with a winning tradition,” Jones said. “To be able to play at Lambeau Field is crazy. I’m so hyped up right now already. I just want to play.” – Datone Jones (via JSOnline)