Patriots News: A Look At New Guard Jonathan Cooper, Dont’a Hightower


Here is today’s dose of New England Patriots news…

The guys over at Pats Pulpit break down linebacker Dont’a Hightower:

"Dont’a Hightower has had another very good season in 2015, further cementing his place among the top linebackers in the NFL. He was a force against the run, dangerous as a blitzer and even able to hold his own in pass coverage. And while he did not have the flashy plays of fellow linebacker Jamie Collins, Hightower was arguably the most important cog in New England’s defensive machine."

I say this all the time. While Collins is much more athletic, makes “flashier” plays and probably has a higher ceiling, right now Hightower is the better linebacker, and he is more important to this defense. What he brings to the table in run defense, blitzing and leadership makes this defense go, particularly the run defense. His ability to diagnose the play, shed blocks and bring down the runner is second only to Luke Keuchly in my opinion, and when he is not on the field, the defense really suffers.

Here, our own Connor Fulton takes a look at new guard Jonathan Cooper, who came over from the Cardinals in the Chandler Jones trade.

"Cooper entered the NFL as one of the most anticipated guard prospects of this century. After all, he was drafted at No. 7 overall in 2013, the highest a guard had been taken since Jim Dombrowski in the 1986 NFL Draft. However, Cooper’s career has been a bit of a disappointment up to this point."

To say Cooper’s career up until this point has been a disappointment would be a huge understatement in my mind. As Connor said, as the highest guard drafted since 1986, there were a lot of expectations attached to this young man. However, injuries have derailed what should have been a promising career, which ultimately led to a benching, and eventually a trade. However, if there is anyone that can extract the talent that this kid had coming out of college, it is Bill Belichick.

Finally, Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski both made the NFL ‘Top 100’ list, Brady checking in at two, and Gronk at nine.