The Green Bay Packers, who lost Micah Hyde in free agency and have Morgan Burnett heading to free agency after the upcoming season, drafted North Carolina State safety Josh Jones with the second of their second-round picks.
Jones was a Freshman All-American after intercepting four passes in 2014. After a self-described “bad” season in 2015, Jones bounced back in a big way in 2016 with 109 tackles, 3.5 tackles for losses, three interceptions, eight pass breakups and one forced fumble. In three seasons, he posted 229 tackles, eight interceptions, 17 pass breakups and three forced fumbles.
With proven ballhawking ability and the size to play in the box making him one of the top available players entering Day 2, Packers director of player personnel Brian Gutekunst liked Jones’ all-around game.
“I think he’s really versatile. I think he can do a lot of things,” Gutekunst said. “He’s an explosive athlete. He’s got good size, so he’s going to be able to come down to the box and do some of those things. But he’s shown so much coverage ability, as well. He’s just a really versatile player in the back end of our defense.”
Jones is a big, hard-hitting safety who can move. At 6-foot-1 3/8 and 220 pounds, Jones ran his 40-yard dash in 4.41 seconds with a 37.5-inch vertical leap and a safeties-best 20 reps on the bench press at the Scouting Combine. Jones saved the agility drills for his pro day, where he didn’t do as well compared to his peers with a 4.32 in the 20-yard shuttle and 7.31 in the three-cone drill. To compare, Burnett ran a 3.92 in the shuttle and a 6.87 in the three-cone; Ha Ha Clinton-Dix ran a 4.16 shuttle and 7.16 three-cone.
“All I’m going to say is my best football is ahead of me,” Jones said. “My best football is ahead of me. I promise you: My best football is ahead of me.”
The Packers spent both of their second-round picks on the secondary. Washington cornerback Kevin King went at No. 33 overall and Jones went at No. 61. With the 6-foot-3 King running his 40 in 4.44 seconds, both players have an excellent blend of size and speed. “Taller and maybe a little faster,” Gutekunst said of the team’s remodeled secondary.
Bill Huber is publisher of PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at www.twitter.com/PackerReport.