BOULDER – University of Colorado senior Brad Jones was drafted by the Green Bay Packers in the seventh round of the 2009 NFL Draft Sunday.
Four other Buffs signed free agent contracts Sunday, as well, with Daniel Sanders signing with the St. Louis Rams, George Hypolite with the Jacksonville Jaguars, Maurice Lucas with Atlanta, Brandon Nicolas with Seattle, while Patrick Williams will join Jones with the Packers.
Jones, a 6-3, 230-pound outside linebacker, was the ninth pick in the seventh round, No. 218 overall. Jones caught the eye of some scouts during CU’s pro timing day on March 9. He ran a 4.60 40-yard dash, which at the combine would’ve been the second-fastest time by a linebacker. One scout had him at 4.54 in the 40 that day, which would’ve been the fastest time at the combine.
Jones totaled 78 tackles for the Buffs in 2008, including 14 for a loss and seven sacks. He led the Buffs with 14 quarterback pressures and was second on the squad with 12 third down stops. He also led the Buffs with three quarterback chase-downs and a pair of forced fumbles.
“I really think Brad (Jones’) best football is ahead of him,” CU coach Dan Hawkins said. “He’s fast and with the Packers making the switch to the 3-4, he’ll have an opportunity up there.”
The Buffs have had a draft pick in the last four drafts, eight of the 10 this decade and in 18 of 20 since 1990. Jones is the second Buff drafted to Green Bay in the last three years, as Mason Crosby was the Packers sixth-round pick in 2007. He is the 17th player all-time drafted by the Packers and just the second linebacker (Mark Cooney, 1974, 16th round). Outside linebacker Hannibal Navies was the last CU linebacker to play in Green Bay, doing so from 2003-04. Jones is also the 196th player from CU chosen in the NFL Draft all-time.
Sanders, a 6-3, 315-pound center, signed with the St. Louis, and should he make the team he will be the sixth player this decade to strap it on with the Rams. Joe Klopfenstein just finished his third season with the Rams after being drafted there in 2006. Sanders graded out to 80 percent or higher in 11 of the Buffs 12 games in 2008 and played on all 843 offensive snaps during the season. He totaled 60.5 knockdown blocks, a team high six touchdown blocks and allowed just one sack all season.
“Sanders is a good kid, a smart kid who knows how to play football,” Hawkins said. “Those are the kinds of guys who are successful in the NFL at center and are hard to come by.”
Hypolite, a 6-1, 290-pound defensive tackle, will report to Jacksonville where pair of Buffs are currently on the roster as free agents. Offensive lineman Chris Naeole is an unrestricted free agent and outside linebacker Brian Iwuh is a restricted free agent with the Jaguars. Both played with the Jags in 2008. Dirk Koetter, who was the head coach at Boise State before Hawkins took over there in 2000, is currently the offensive coordinator at Jacksonville.
Hypolite played in over 80 percent of the snaps for CU in 2008 (668 of 834), and led CU defensive linemen with 45 tackles, including seven for loss and four sacks. Additionally, he had seven other tackles for no gain, racked up 12 quarterback pressures and seven third down stops.
Lucas, a 6-4, 270-pound defensive end, will report to Atlanta where there hasn’t been a Buff on the roster since Sam Rogers in 2002-03. Lucas was in on 43 tackles for the Buffs, 36 solo, and had six for a loss with one sack, and five more for no gain. He had five third down stops, four quarterback pressures and a pair of fumble recoveries.
Nicolas, a 6-3, 290-pound defensive tackle, will report to Seattle where there hasn't been a Buff on the roster since D.J. Hackett left to sign with Carolina after the 2007 season. Nicolas was a three-year starter for the Buffs and recorded 32 tackles, had two sacks, five more for a loss and three more for no gain. He had six third down stops, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.
Williams, a 6-2, 205-pound wide receiver, will join Jones in Green Bay. He caught 30 receptions for 322 yards and a pair of touchdowns in 2008. He was also valuable on special teams units for the Buffs, ranking tied for third on the team with five knockdown or springing block on returns.
Other Buffs, including but not limited to Ryan Walters, could end up signing or participating in an NFL camp of some sort, as well.