If the Green Bay Packers had one major downfall in 2016, it was a defense that seemed outmanned much of the time. Aaron Rodgers was expected to win shootouts, which he did more often than not. However, in the 2017 NFL Draft, the Packers worked on fixing those holes, and one of the names that Green Bay brought in was safety Josh Jones, a second-round draft pick from North Carolina State. Jones proved in the overtime win over the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 3 why he was such a valuable draft pick.

Josh Jones steps up for Packers

Despite the Cincinnati Bengals jumping out on top of the Green Bay Packers and holding the lead until the fourth quarter, there is no denying how great Josh Jones played in the game.

As a matter of fact, the only real mistake that the rookie from NC State made in this game was when he passed off Giovani Bernard, allowing the Bengals' running back to score on a six-yard touchdown reception. However, he more than made up for that miscue with the top performance of the game.

After finishing the first two games of his NFL career with five total tackles, Josh Jones exploded against Andy Dalton and the Green Bay Packers. Jones finished his third game of the 2017 NFL season with a Packers’ team-high 12 tackles, 11 of them solo and three for a loss of yardage. He also finished with two sacks of Dalton in the game – both of the sacks on third down.

It was a huge statement game for Jones, who was starting in place of the injured Kentrell Brice.

He played out of the Nitro linebacker role and worked in the slot as well. While it isn’t seen in the stats, it was Jones that made sure that the Green Bay Packers only needed a field goal in overtime to win. On a 3rd and 6 on their own 29, Andy Dalton threw a short pass to Tyler Kroft, but Jones tackled him for just a one-yard gain, forcing the punt.

Kevin King had a great game as well

While Josh Jones had the best game of any Green Bay Packers defensive player, he has been overshadowed in discussions by fellow rookie Kevin King. Not to be completely outdone, King had a great game as well. King ranked third in the game with seven tackles, five of them solo stops. That gives the rookie cornerback from Washington 10 total tackles for his rookie season.

Also enjoying a great game in the Green Bay Packers overtime win over the Cincinnati Bengals was their second-year linebacker, Blake Martinez. In what might be his best game since the Packers drafted him in the fourth round of the 2016 NFL Draft, he ranked second to Jones with 11 tackles, seven of them solo and one of them for a loss of yards. Much like Josh Jones, Martinez was also a key player in overtime, stopping rookie running back Joe Mixon on the first drive of overtime for a two-yard loss.

With two rookies and a second-year star leading the way, it seems the Green Bay Packers defense is stocked for a bright future.