Dom Capers has to be drooling over the thought of using Rookie Safety Josh Jones’ size, speed, and hitting ability all over the field. Having Morgan Burnett, HaHa Clinton-Dix, and Kentrell Brice to take the responsibility of playing Safety will allow Jones to play all over the field and take chance when he sees the opportunity. I believe that flexibility will allow him to make a lot of impact plays that will result in him winning the Defensive Rookie of the Year award.
Jones has had an impressive first offseason, but it doesn’t necessarily mean it will translate into the regular season. His versatility will allow him to take some of the snaps vacated by Micah Hyde, and he will also line up as a Dime Linebacker at times. Voters are typically impressed by statistics, and I expect Jones to rack up several interceptions, sacks, and forced fumbles during his rookie campaign.
While it is typically very difficult for a first year Safety to make a big impact, Jones will be allowed to play in more positions where he can be instinctive, and doesn’t have to start out with the pressure of being the last line of defense. It also helps that many of the top defensive rookies were drafted to teams that won’t have much talent around them, and Jones will get more of a spotlight playing in more high profile games.
He will have to get off to a strong start in the preseason to get early season snaps, but he brings great speed to a defense that is sorely in need of it. Jones success will be critical to my other prediction coming to fruition (the Packers being a Top 10 defense):
Andrew Mertig is a a lifelong Packers fan and draft enthusiast. He has covered the NFL draft for radio and television stations in Green Bay. He is currently a writer for PackersTalk.com. You can follow him on Twitter @andrewmertig