Going into the off-season, there were a few areas that New England would need to focus on, one of which was its pass rush. With sack leader Mark Anderson to the Division rival Buffalo Bills, this position became even more of a priority.
With this in mind, a name that just keeps popping up in mock drafts across the board is the DE out of Syracuse, Chandler Jones.
His athletic abilities are impressive enough, but what you notice first about Jones is how long he is, drawing many comparisons to the New York Giants Jason Pierre-Paul, though Jones’ play is a bit more raw. He is a known as a smart & versatile player, with better than average pass-rush skills, but is a phenomenal tackler vs the run.
NFL Mocks had this to say:
Well-built defensive end prospect who has great upper-body strength and a lot of athletic upside. Very good size for a defensive end, and has the look of a very good NFL pass rusher…
…Solid wrap up tackler and takes good angles. Able to set the edge but needs to be coached up on not playing too high, which is an easy habit to fall into at his height. He has a really good motor and consistently gives solid effort. I think the biggest thing for him is going to be whether he can stay healthy or not.
Health was an issue for Jones, as he missed 5 games during 2011 after an knee injury the first game of that season. If he can stay healthy, Chandler looks like he would really fill a gap in the Patriots defense.
With Jones projected to go late 1′st round or early 2′nd, New England is in fairly prime position to add him to their defensive roster.