NFL Draft 2012: Why Chandler Jones Has No Place in First Round Conversation

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NFL Draft 2012: Why Chandler Jones Has No Place in First Round Conversation
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

So just recently, I saw Todd McShay and Mel Kiper's new mock drafts. For the most part, they made sense, or at least more than their earlier mocks.

However, there was one pick which made me stop, read it again, and then just stare in utter confusion for a few minutes. Chandler Jones in the first round.

McShay had Jones going to the Patriots at No. 27 overall. Kiper was even worse, mocking Jones to the Chargers at No. 18 overall. To make matters even more confusing, they both had him going before USC defensive end Nick Perry.

If anyone is unfamiliar with either of these players, I'll take a moment to fill you in: Nick Perry is better than Chandler Jones in nearly every category there is a number for. To show you how big the disparity is, I'll give you their numbers from the 2011 season.

Jones: 38 tackles, 4.5 sacks, 7.5 tackles for loss, one interception, two forced fumbles, two broken-up passes and three quarterback hurries.
Perry: 54 tackles, 8.5 sacks, 13 tackles for loss, three forced fumbles and three broken-up passes.

Jones had an interception and three quarterback hurries more than Perry. Even if you converted all those hurries into actual sacks, Jones still wouldn't catch up to Perry.

OK, you say, so what about the NFL combine? Maybe Jones had a great combine that vaults him over Perry. Nope. Let's compare:

Jones: 22 on bench, 4.85 second 40-yard dash, 10' broad jump, 35" vertical jump.
Perry: 35 on bench, 4.5 second 40-yard dash, 10'4" broad jump, 38.5" vertical jump.

Jones didn't participate in the 10 yard split, where Perry clocked in at a very good 1.56 seconds.

Where should Chandler Jones be drafted?

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Now, obviously there is more to a prospect than his numbers, but there, again, Nick Perry has the edge. Jones has a history of injury, whereas Perry is squeaky clean, having started every game for the last three years.

Chandler Jones did miss several games due to injury, but he also played in the Big East against easy competition, while Nick Perry had to face offensive tackles like Jonathan Martin, Tony Bergstrom and Senio Kelemente in the Pac 12.

No matter how I look at it, I can't come up with a single area where Chandler Jones beats Nick Perry. So the inevitable conclusion I have to reach is that Jones is simply an inferior prospect.

And if you'll go back and review those numbers, you'll see it isn't by a razor thin margin either. Jones isn't even in the same league as first rounders like Nick Perry and Whitney Mercilus (Mercilus beats Jones by an even bigger margin). Jones is a third rounder at best.

If you ask me, the defensive ends, in order from best to Chandler Jones are:

Quinton Coples
Whitney Mercilus
Nick Perry
Melvin Ingram
Vinny Curry
Andre Branch
Cam Johnson
Jake Bequette
Chandler Jones

If I were a GM, I wouldn't take Chandler Jones any earlier than the third round, and only then if all eight defensive ends I have ranked above him were gone. Chandler Jones being put in the first round is just something I don't even begin to understand.

So I just don't get it. Every year, there are a few rankings that simply don't make sense. Last year it was Da'Quan Bowers as the No. 1 overall prospect—this year it's Chandler Jones.

Is he a good prospect? Yes. Can he be a very good defensive end in the NFL? Yes. Is he worth spending a first-round draft pick on? Absolutely not.

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