The Green Bay Packers used their first-round selection on UCLA defensive end Datone Jones.
At 6-foot-4 and 280 pounds, he finally gives the Packers a tall defensive end. Playing in coach Jim Mora’s 3-4 scheme, Jones was a dominant force with 6.5 sacks and a career-high 19 tackles for losses as a senior. His 36.5 career tackles for losses rank 11th in school history. He’s got the strength to play the run and the ability to rush the passer, which the Packers badly need with Jerel Worthy’s torn ACL clouding his prospects for 2013.
Here is Jones’ official NFL biography, as provided courtesy of Dave-Te’ Thomas of Scouting Services Inc.
The fifth-year senior was having a quiet career before his breakout performance in 2012. After showing promise during his first season as a starter during his sophomore campaign, Jones suffered a right foot fracture during 2010 fall camp that forced him to sit out the entire season. He returned to action as a junior, extending his streak of 41 straight starting assignments before his eligibility ran out.
Jones would close out his career ranked eleventh in school history with 36.5 tackles behind the line of scrimmage, the most by a Bruin since Robert Thomas had 41.0 stops-for-loss from 1998-2001. His nineteen stops for losses of 64 yards in 2012 tied Justin Hickman (2006) and Carnell Lake (1987) for the seventh-best season total in UCLA annals.
The Compton High School product decided to stay “close to home” when he enrolled at UCLA. At Compton High, he was rated the 15th-best defensive end in the nation by ESPN. A four-star prospect grade from both Rivals.com and Scout.com was the result of Jones recording 60 tackles with four sacks as a junior, followed by 91 tackles, seven sacks, two fumble recoveries, nine quarterback pressures and three pass deflections in 2007.
Jones was named an All-American by Super Prep after his senior season. He also garnered All-State second-team honors from Cal-Hi Sports. The Long Beach Press-Telegram Dream Team member was also selected Moore League co-Defensive Player of the Year during his senior season.
Jones was a 238-pound rush end during his first season at UCLA in 2008. He appeared in the Bruins’ final ten games, playing behind Tom Blake on the left side, where he would earn two starting assignments during the second half of the schedule. He finished his rookie campaign with fifteen tackles, including ten solos.
In 2009, Jones earned Sophomore All-American honorable mention. He replaced Blake at left end, starting all thirteen contests. Having bulked up to 267 pounds during the off-season, he posted 30 tackles with four sacks and had eleven stops behind the line of scrimmage. He also caused two fumbles and deflected three passes for a unit that ranked third in the Pac-10 Conference, allowing opponents 334.0 yards per game.
When Jones returned to the field after missing the 2010 season with a broken foot, he measured in at 275 pounds – an increase of 8 assuming his duties at left defensive end. The Ted Hendricks Award Watch List member also slid inside to tackle on passing situations, finishing the year with 41 tackles that included three sacks among his 6.5 stops-for-loss.
With Jim Mora taking over as the Bruins’ head coach for the 2012 season, Jones had a banner campaign. He picked up All-American and All-Pac 12 Conference accolades while starting all fourteen games. He not only produced 62 tackles with 6.5 sacks, but ranked 20th in the nation with a career-best nineteen stops behind the line of scrimmage.
Jones added to his resume with two forced fumbles, as he also blocked two kicks and while playing on offense blocking in short yardage situations, he even scored on a 7-yard reception vs. Houston. But, it was his stellar performance during the week-long practices in Mobile, Alabama, preparing for the Senior Bowl that solidified his ranking with the draft’s elite defensive end prospects.
As soon as Jones stepped on the practice field for the first scrimmages, he showed off his excellent short-area burst coming off the edge, winning almost all of his one-on-one battles with strength and quickness at the point of attack. Because he had lined up all over the defensive line in college, his scheme versatility made him an attractive prospect for hybrid defenses in the National Football League.
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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at email@example.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.