Where's the difficulty in saying that Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III is the best rookie of the 2012 NFL draft class? There isn't any. Yet, surprisingly, there isn't too much in arguing for Chandler Jones either.
Sure, the quarterbacks will end up with a nice package of stats and comeback wins that their champions can point towards. Plus, they have received plenty of national media exposure.
That doesn't mean that either one of them should be a shoe-in.
Check out the reasons why Jones has a great argument.
Jones Has Numbers Too
Jones has some impressive stats that measure up to the production of Luck and Griffin. No, I'm not talking about him being 6'5" and 260 pounds. Although, it doesn't hurt.
He's racked up 18 tackles to go along with three sacks, two forced fumbles and one pass defense.
While the numbers might not seem overly impressive, the remarkable part is his consistency. He didn't have one game where he blew up for all of his numbers. Jones has had a sack in three different games.
Versatility Counts For Something Too
Bill Belichick loves himself some versatile defenders, and that's exactly what he gets out of Jones.
Jon Bones' brother has the ability to play in either the two or three-point stance. He can bullrush a tackle or give him the slip with his quickness and speed.
Once he learns how to become a complete defensive end, this kid is going to be unstoppable.
Jones Is Doing It Under Heavy Pressure
The biggest marker of Jones play is that he isn't doing it in Washington or Indianapolis. Those situations provide bubbles where the saviors can do no wrong. He's performing in a locker room full of veterans who are fresh off a Super Bowl appearance.
Don't overlook this extremely important factor. If Jones was playing poorly, he'd get benched. Well, maybe not considering the poor shape of the New England Patriots defense the past few years, but the pressure is real.
When you show up as a first-round pick pass-rusher on a team that desperately needs to get after the quarterback, there is an expectation that you will put the team over the hump. Heading into Week 6, the Pats are ranked 20th in overall defense (yards per game). That's a huge improvement for the second-worst defense in 2011 and Jones is a major reason.
So don't be blinded by the stats. Look at the impact he is having in an environment that demands wins. Within those confines, you'll find that Chandler Jones has a great case for NFL Rookie of the Year.
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