Much has been said about our need for a MLB. Joe Mays has proven that he is at best a two down LB who is not worth his current salary and not a good fit for what we need at the position. Keith Brooking stepped in admirably and gave us the leadership we needed at the position but at 37, he's not the athlete he once was and also became a liability in coverage. DJ Williams subbed in at time and while athletic, hasn't really lived up to the 6 million dollars we're paying him. Fox could very well have plans to put DJ at MLB and bring in depth or draft a late rounder to develop and compete. Or EF could be targeting a first round MLB like Ogletree, Brown, Minter, Te'o or even Greene.
I think an option could be had for a reasonable price in FA that could possibly solve our MLB for the long term future, freeing up that first round pick for a variety of other areas of need that we have.
A Michigan native Brad Jones went to college at Colorado. He proved to be a versatile player, playing both DE on the line and OLB.
He's great size a 6-3, 240 lbs and fast. He timed an insane 4.54 (some had him at 4.49) at his pro day which is probably what got him drafted in the 7th round by the GB packers. What I like about Brad Jones (other than his size, speed and youth) his is versatility and his impact when given the opportunity.
His rookie year he subbed in at OLB for an injured Aaron Kampman and turned in 7 solo tackles in his debut. He then went on to finish the season (started 7 games) with 33 tackles and 4 sacks. Not bad production from a rookie. He became the starter the following season until suffering a season ending shoulder injury 6 games into the season.
Fast forward to 2012. When ILB Desmond Bishop suffers and early season injury and DJ Smith proves inconsistent, Brad Jones is put into the role and once again thrives. As 2012's 3rd overall best substitute (Chris Harris was #2, woot!) According to Pro Football Focus:
he Packers lost one of their defensive leaders for the season when Desmond Bishop tore his hamstring in their first preseason game. Bishop’s play was a bit unbalanced in 2011. His 10.9% Run Stop and 11.5 Pass Rushing Productivity were both excellent marks, and his 17.6 Combined Tackle Efficiency was one of the highest in the league for his position. Yet he was torched in coverage — the 568 yards he surrendered were the third-most allowed by any inside linebacker. D.J. Smith proved to be a capable but inconsistent replacement before suffering his own knee injury in Week 6. Brad Jones was thrust into the starting lineup in his place and grabbed the opportunity by the horns. His +8.9 grade this season was the 10th-highest for an inside linebacker, and his 9.2% Run Stop was solid. More importantly, he surrendered just 273 yards in coverage, helping to shore up a pass defense that was much-improved this season. He was an integral part of the Packers’ playoff push, recording 21 tackles and 12 run stops in the final three weeks of the regular season. With his contract expiring, the 26-year-old Jones now ranks as one of our top inside linebackers available in free agency.
He finished the season with 77 tackles (56 solo), 2 sacks, 1 FF and 4 PD.
26 years old, 6-3, 240lbs and 4.5 40 speed. This is the type of LB we are looking for and need in this defense. Being a 7th round pick and playing spot duty in his 4 year career, he should come at a reasonable FA price and make the contracts of Mays and DJ expendable, freeing up some valuable cap money to sign other more important players.
Would Brad Jones be interested in coming back to Colorado? I hope so and I hope Elway is interested in bringing him back.