Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Chandler Jones' breakout year for Patriots?

Todd McShay rated Chandler Jones a 95 coming out of Syracuse in 2012. That rating yielded the Syracuse pass rusher a spot on McShay’s Top 32 prospects of past five years. Which begs the question, should Chandler Jones be having a bigger impact on the football field?

Jones recorded 17.5 sacks since entering the league. He is threatening to opposing offenses, but he is not the threat. Amidst a gaggle of talented defensemen like Vince Wilfork, Jerod Mayo, Devin McCourty and now Darelle Revis, Jones has the aforementioned excuses as to why he is not yet the guy in New England. Plus, those players are 26 years old or older. Jones is only 24.

His statistics speak to his development. As a rookie in 2012, he finished with 24 tackles and 6 sacks. Last year in his sophomore campaign, he totaled 40 tackles and 11.5 sacks – almost doubling both categories. But with so much untapped potential, and clear signs that he is improving, it is reasonable to expect more.

It all seems to be coming together for him, too. The defensive line that was hobbled last year is healthy. The Patriots may add depth a defensive tackle in the draft, which could mean more space for him to work. He will also have better support behind him with the return of captain Jerod Mayo and the development of second year linebacker Jamie Collins.

Jones has shown thus far that he is good not great. He has the physical abilities to take the next step into the upper echelon of pass rushers. He has the supporting cast. He even has two years of experience working in Belichick’s defensive schemes. There is no reason to doubt that Chandler Jones can have a very productive year. His output will be essential to disrupting the young quarterbacks in the AFC East.

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