New England Patriots: Could Chandler Jones Be Another Jason Pierre-Paul?

Drew BonifantAnalyst IIMay 7, 2012

SEATTLE - SEPTEMBER 11:  Chandler Jones #99 of the Syracuse Orange looks on during the game against the Washington Huskies on September 11, 2010 at Husky Stadium in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

He was a player New England Patriots fans had to talk themselves into liking. When the Patriots shot up to pick No. 21 in the 2012 NFL draft, plenty of highly-touted players remained. Fans wanted one of them. Whitney Mercilus. Nick Perry. Courtney Upshaw. Any of those guys.

Then the pick was announced. Chandler Jones, a 4-3 defensive end out of Syracuse, was the choice. To be more specific, Jones, a 4-3 defensive end with very raw skills, was the player picked to instantly upgrade what has traditionally been a 3-4 defense.

There's reason to think this move could wind up being years of trying to cram a round peg into a square hole. There's also a reason to think this move could be a home run on a Richard Seymour or Rob Gronkowski scale.

That reason currently kills quarterbacks in New York. After all, the story that's being repeated here is that of Jason Pierre-Paul. If that's an exaggeration, it's at least the first chapter.

When Pierre-Paul was taken 15th overall in 2010, the scouting report was much the same. Pierre-Paul was raw, with potential through the roof. His football background wasn't extensive, but his talent was so prodigious that the development into an outstanding pass-rusher was more an issue of when, not if.

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 05:  Jason Pierre-Paul #90 of the New York Giants celebrates a play during the first half against the New England Patriots during Super Bowl XLVI at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 5, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Win
Win McNamee/Getty Images

With Jones, the Patriots are thinking along the same lines. He has a terrific frame, and shows every sign that, with a little development, he'll grow into a force on the defensive line.

His path is already looking like Pierre-Paul's, which can only mean good things for the Patriots. In only his second season, Pierre-Paul made the leap to the upper echelon of NFL sack artists. He totaled 16.5, and was the best pass-rusher on another fearsome defensive line in New York that resulted in another Lombardi Trophy for the Giants.

It's too much to expect Jones to become a Pierre-Paul clone, but that's the kind of player the Patriots should be eager to add to the mix. If Jones brings the same sort of pass-rushing skill set that Pierre-Paul does, he's immediately an asset. It doesn't matter what the defensive scheme is; there's a place for that kind of player.

According to scouting reports, Jones won't be that player that fans anticipated. He won't step in Day 1 and change the game. He won't start the season in a quarterback's face. That's for later on down the road.

And if Jones follows his precedent's path, down the road is looking pretty good for New England.

Related

    Brady Will Report to Training Camp Four Days Early

    New England Patriots logo
    New England Patriots

    Brady Will Report to Training Camp Four Days Early

    Henry McKenna
    via Patriots Wire

    Dolphins Clarify Anthem Policy

    NFL logo
    NFL

    Dolphins Clarify Anthem Policy

    Tim Daniels
    via Bleacher Report

    Report: NFL Suspends Fowler 1 Game

    NFL logo
    NFL

    Report: NFL Suspends Fowler 1 Game

    Timothy Rapp
    via Bleacher Report

    Andrew Luck Cleared for Training Camp

    NFL logo
    NFL

    Andrew Luck Cleared for Training Camp

    Timothy Rapp
    via Bleacher Report