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Could Chandler Jones be the answer to the Patriots' defensive woes?
For years, Patriots fans have clamored for play-makers. In return, Bill Belichick traded down and opted for quantity over quality.
Then came the 2012 draft.
Armed with two first-round picks, the Patriots traded up twice in the first round to secure two decorated defensive play-makers to bolster an underwhelming front seven.
With the 21st pick, New England selected their pass-rusher of the future in Chandler Jones of Syracuse. The 6'5" defensive end is expected to become the Patriots' new Willie McGinest, and with solid bloodlines and a tremendous work ethic, Jones seems poised to become a star.
After another trade, the Patriots landed Dont'a Hightower, the leader of college football's best defense. The 6'2", 265-pounder brings a unique blend of toughness, versatility and athleticism and figures to be utilized all over the defense.
In free agency, New England made two shrewd moves in signing safety Steve Gregory and defensive lineman Jonathan Fanene. Though not flashy, both players have significant starting experience for playoff-caliber teams and are true professionals. Gregory should help shore up a young secondary while Fanene can provide a solid interior pass rush.
Along with the addition of second-round safety Tavon Wilson and pass-rusher Trevor Scott, the New England defense should look a whole lot different in 2012.
For Patriots fans, that will be a welcomed sight.