Defense has been the main albatross of the Green Bay Packers for far too long. This is an organization that has reached the playoffs eight straight years. That’s tied with the New England Patriots for the longest active such streak in the league. And both clubs can tie the NFL record for most consecutive postseason appearances (9). In any case, the stretch began in 2009 and looked like it was going to end a year ago after the club got off to a 4-6 start.

But a red-hot stretch by quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the Pack got them within a game of Super Bowl LI. But the team and especially the defense was humbled in the NFC title game by the Atlanta Falcons, 44-21. This offseason was back to the drawing board in terms of adding defensive talent. General manager Ted Thompson traded down and wound up with a pair of second-round picks. With the first he took University of Washington cornerback Kevin King. With the next choice, the team grabbed a physical specimen.

What to know

The Green Bay Packers used the 61st overall selection in April’s draft to land North Carolina State Safety Josh Jones. It was the second of what would be four consecutive picks that the team would utilize on defense. The club already has a pair of solid starters at the position in Morgan Burnett and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. But it was Jones’ versatility that was the selling point here. The defending NFC North champions are in need of play-makers for a unit that finished 22nd overall in the NFL in total defense, next-to-last in the league in passing yards allowed, and surrendered 32 touchdown passes during the regular season.

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Green Bay Packers

Role for 2017

Last week (per Spotrac), Jones signed a four-year, $4.23 million contract with the club. So now where can we expect to see the 6’1”, 220-pound performer this fall? During rookie minicamp earlier this month, the safety could be found elsewhere. “That was my first time doing linebacker drills,” said the young defender to Rob Demovsky of ESPN. “I was pretty much everywhere – doing linebacker things, lining up at safety.

It was fun.” Jones’ versatility is a major plus here. You will recall that during free agency, the Green Bay Packers lost Micah Hyde to the Buffalo Bills. He was not only a terrific punt returner and solid safety but was also able to play cornerback in nickel situations. “However they want to use me, I’ll be used,” added Jones. I’m a very versatile safety. I can do a lot of things for a defense. This is all about taking coaching and doing what they tell you to do.” It’s safe to say that on a defense that has had its problems in recent seasons, the Packers will take all they can get from anyone and anywhere.

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