Friday, April 26, 2013

Day 1 Packers Thoughts

Picture via
by Justis Mosqueda

Round 1 Pick 26:
Datone Jones DE UCLA

Going into the draft I really thought that the Packers pick would come down to either Tyler Eifert (assuming he would fall, which he did, but not to 26), Jesse Williams, or Datone Jones, in that order, if they stayed at 26. There were even rumors on Day 1 that they were going to trade back to the 2nd with the 49ers if things fell correctly, but the 49ers ended up trading up before the Packers were even OTC.

Eifert was just flat out my number one offensive skill player. I thought because he was a TE there was a possibility to fall. The Bengals swooped in and crushed that possibility.

The reason I had Jesse Williams over Datone Jones (same grade as a player) was his fit. First off, I thought that defensive line was the biggest "need" of this team. Here's what the Packers DL DC looks like:

Ryan Pickett (15 starts in 2012, free agent in 2014)
Jerel Worthy (5 starts in rookie year at LE/RE due to injury in 2012, might start season on PUP)

CJ Wilson (14 starts in 2012, free agent in 2014)
Mike Neal (no starts, rotational pass rushing DE, free agent in 2014)
Mike Daniels (no starts in his rookie year of 2012)

BJ Raji (15 starts in 2012, free agent in 2014)
Jordan Miller (has only played on game in two years pro with Green Bay/Chicago)

So that ends up looking like four free agents, two rookies (one of which is hurt), and a guy who probably won't make the roster. Because of this I leaned Jesse, who can play NT/DE (sort of like Pickett), instead of the DE only Datone Jones.

Maybe the staff was scared off by Williams injuries. Maybe they just wanted length. The staff did say they wanted to add length to the DL. The measurables of the 34 DL bodies that went Day 1 paints a pictures of what type of player Datone Jones is coming to Green Bay as:

All numbers via:

Datone Jones was by far the most athletic DL taken, not named Sheldon Richardson. He was only one bench rep, a half inch vert, and four inches off the broad from being on par or better than Richardson in every drill.

I have two questions going forward for Jones.

The first is: What he will do in the nickel? Green Bay runs more snaps in the 2-4-5 (nickel) than they do in any other formation. The two DL are usually the LE (Pickett) and NT (Raji). The RE's value in Green Bay is almost the 12nd man on defense, like a nickel corner in other defenses. Maybe with his rushing ability they keep him out there (like they used to use Cullen Jenkins) and take out Hawk (not a very good cover ILB) and go with a 3-3-5 type of defense from here on out as the nickel. No matter what the DL is the most rotated spot on the field, so we will see Jones on the field during the nickel, even if it's only on third downs or in for injury.

The second is: What's his playing weight going to be. Thompson said they were looking at other DL (namely Sylvester Williams), but that they were surprised Datone Jones fell to them, and they liked his length and athleticism. How athletic can Jones be if he gains 10-15-20 more pounds? He's already got strength (one more reps than Syl Williams, one less than Sheldon Richardson, who was the first DT off the board), but is he going to get pushed around at 283? Even at his pro day he seemed to drop some weight. According to

Datone Jones, DE (277) — Jones stood on his combine numbers and only did the position drills. The feeling with Jones is that he has to be play defense end in a 4-3 base defense in the NFL.”

He was 283 at the combine, but they reported he was down to 277 at his pro day? Jones needs to swing his weight in the opposite direction.

Updated DL depth chart:

Ryan Pickett (last year's LE starter)
CJ Wilson (last year's RE starter, plays more like a LE, just a lack of talent at the LE pos.)
Jerel Worthy (started five games last year, might start on PUP)

Datone Jones (maybe not week 1, but by the end of the year he should be starting)
Mike Neal (pass rush specialist)
Mike Daniels (pass rush specialist, rookie last year)

BJ Raji (last year's NT starter)
[Ryan Pickett]
Jordan Miller (inactive body, only played one game in two years)

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