The 2013 season ended in defeat for the New England Patriots, and now the team will be evaluating their roster as the draft and free agency are quickly approaching. Over the course of the next few weeks, PatsPulpit will take a look at each key player and review their performance, as well as their role on the Patriots moving forward.
Continuing the series, let's take a look at defensive end Chandler Jones.
Chandler Jones, DE
Before the 2012 draft, NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said, "Three years from now, I'm gonna say Chandler Jones is the best defensive player to come out of this draft."
After Chandler Jones' 2013 campaign, Mayock might be on the right track with that prediction. Jones has quickly become one of the better edge setting defensive ends in the NFL. Whether Jones was in a three-point or two-point stance, he did a terrific job of containing the run. He displayed intellect and awareness beyond his years while accumulating 14 tackles for losses, which was 17th in the league.
As a pass rusher, Jones took a significant step forward after an up-and-down rookie year. He tied for seventh in the league with 11.5 sacks, up from only six in his rookie season. Jones improved his body after mixed martial arts training over the offseason, which made him quicker and stronger on the field.
However, Jones only had 10 quarterback hurries, which tied him for 30th in the league. While this is a respectable number, it shows that he has plenty of room to improve.
One reason for his lack of consistency is likely due to his underdeveloped pass rushing moves. Jones still needs to improve on crafting a go-to move, since many of his sacks could be labeled as "coverage sacks."
But this is to be expected considering he was one of the rawest defensive players in the 2012 draft.
Entering next season, Chandler Jones is arguably ahead of schedule in his development, so the future is bright for him and the New England Patriots.