Coach Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots are always known for drafting players with great value and being able to utilize that player in a variety of different positions. That drafting technique was no different on April 26, 2012, opening night of the 2012 NFL draft, as the Patriots selected Syracuse DE Chandler Jones.
Belichick decided to make a move to trade up in the first round and swap the Patriots' No. 27 and No. 93 picks in exchange to the Cincinnati Bengals for the No. 21 pick of the first round. The results paid off again for the Patriots, as they were able to grab the explosive Jones at No. 21.
Jones, at 6'5'' and 265 pounds, is a freakish athlete coming off the edge with long arms and an explosive first step. He had a 10-foot broad jump at the NFL Combine and can use his length to trip up the opposition in the backfield. He also has very active hands and is tall enough to bat down passes at the line with ease. He's even better at causing fumbles when getting into the backfield.
From Mike Reiss at ESPNBoston.com:
There is intriguing potential here, similar to the Giants' selection of Jason Pierre-Paul in 2010. Giants GM Jerry Reese felt confident taking Pierre-Paul because he was such a good athlete -- he's turned into a stud -- and Jones falls into a similar category. Jones has rare physical traits, which don't come around often.
Jones is still raw at this point as he left Syracuse one year early and will need to develop his speed and technique. However, no one is better in the world than Belichick at developing and getting the most out of talent. In addition to his explosiveness, Jones is also versatile enough to drop into zone coverage and can play in multiple different looks on the defensive line.
Belichick's news conference following the first round of the 2012 NFL draft on Thursday night gave some key insight into the coach's selection of drafting Jones and Dont'a Hightower in the first round.
"Chandler is a little younger and has a little less experience coming out early; he missed part of the season last year. But very talented player, smart guy, works hard and really did a good job against some good quality players he faced in the last couple years at tackle in the Big East and in there on Syracuse’s schedule.
"I think both players have some versatility, we’ll work with them and figure out what works best for us and them. But excited to work with them; glad we have them on our team. I think they’ll represent us well both on and off the field, at least that’s our expectations."
Furthermore, Jones is going to be a beast at the NFL level for the New England Patriots. Belichick can't wait to work with Jones on all the different defensive schemes that he can plug him into.
More importantly, Jones already has a strong professional pedigree as one older brother, Arthur Jones, plays defensive end for the Baltimore Ravens, and another brother, Jon Jones, is the current UFC light heavyweight champion.
Good genes plus better coaching equals extraordinary football player, and that is what Chandler Jones will be at the NFL level.