Another Jones in the Green Bay Packers’ lineup? Never say never.
According to the NFL’s official workouts/visits release, the Packers hosted former Baltimore Ravens linebacker Alvin Jones Jr. — the twin brother of star running back Aaron Jones — for a workout Wednesday afternoon along with three other prospective roster additions.
Alvin Jones hasn’t come anywhere close to matching his brother’s production at the NFL level, but he has also been dealing with different circumstances. He was not drafted coming out of UTEP in 2018 as his brother had been a year earlier. He also spent two separate stints on the Ravens’ injured reserve list in his first two preseasons, the second of which ended with him getting waived with an injury settlement on Sept. 10, 2019.
At the same time, the Packers have been known to take chances on players who have been deprived of playing time due to injuries. They also have a sense of what type of player they would be getting from Alvin Jones given how they value Aaron Jones as both a player and a presence. With veteran middle linebacker Christian Kirksey still on IR, it certainly couldn’t hurt to add another capable body to the mix inside (even if only on the practice squad).
The Packers also worked out fourth-year offensive guard Ben Braden — who spent about two months on their practice squad in 2019 — along with rookie offensive lineman Zach Shackelford (Texas) and second-year offensive tackle Paul Adams (Missouri).
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Packers Already Turning to Young ILB Talent
Kirksey had played a combined nine games in his past two seasons coming into his first year with the Packers, so it especially stung to see him go down with a shoulder injury in Week 3 and end up on injured reserve in the following days. He now must wait until at least Week 8 before he can return to practice, and there are no guarantees he will be healthy at that point.
Either way, the Packers could be looking at a long stretch of play for some of their younger players, particularly undrafted rookie Krys Barnes and second-year Ty Summers — who have each shared the responsibilities of filling in for Kirksey during the 6 1/2 quarters he has missed so far. They’ve done well enough, but neither had played an NFL defensive snap prior to the 2020 season and may have some difficulty sustaining success.
The only other option behind them on the 53-man roster is Oren Burks, but the 2018 third-round pick has been working more with the outside ‘backer group in recent weeks. Whether he will remain in that role is unclear as is whether they still trust him on the inside. They did, after all, pick two inexperienced youngsters over him for starting duties.
The practice squad doesn’t offer a whole lot of relief, either. The lone inside linebacker among the 16-man squad is De’Jon ‘Scoota’ Harris, who was elevated to the active roster for Week 4’s win over the Atlanta Falcons but played just 13 snaps on the special teams unit.
While it is difficult to judge Alvin Jones based on his limited preseason work, don’t be surprised they find a place for him on the practice squad if they liked what they saw in Wednesday’s workout.