Rookie Josh Jones easily brought home MVP honors from organized workouts this past May. A combination of strength, speed, and instinct allowed him to catch the eye of anyone watching. From breaking up passes to stuffing run gaps, Jones was a true standout. He is a rare talent with the versatility that allows him to play almost anywhere on the field. With training camp just getting underway, he has rekindled that mojo yet again as he takes first team reps at inside linebacker.
During his time at NC State Jones played safety, linebacker, and some corner. His stellar run defense is well known, though his ability to cover tight ends and receivers in the slot is under appreciated. In college he did not allow any touchdowns from passes thrown into his coverage. Jones is a true safety, but his ability to fill different roles is something Dom Capers will acknowledge as Jones becomes more adapted to the defense.
Initially, the selection of a safety in the second round was met with some surprise. Even with the loss of Micah Hyde, the Packers depth chart consists of Morgan Burnett, HaHa Clinton-Dix, and Kentrell Brice. A well rounded group that could have gotten away with a later round choice to provide more security. It may be early, but it is clear Jones’ place in Green Bay is not as a bench warmer.
Learning two positions is hard to the fathom for a rookie. Nonetheless, the Packers have the utmost confidence in him. Safeties coach Darren Perry has already commended his work ethic. And, they could not have chosen a better mentor in Burnett who has taken the rookie under his wing.
Burnett lined up at linebacker quite a bit in 2016 so you can expect more of the same this season. By adding Jones to the mix, the Packers will have multiple quick footed run stoppers to choose from. As Capers continues to incorporate the “Nitro” package into his gameplan, Jones will get his fair share of opportunities.
___________________Brandon Carwile was a Cheesehead at birth. His dad grew up attending games at Lambeau and passed on the legacy. He has covered the Packers for over five years and currently works with packerstalk.com. Find him on twitter at @PackerScribe.