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2012 Patriots Draft: Analysis of Chandler Jones

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The Patriots packaged their 27th and 93rd overall picks to move up to 21st to grab former Syracuse DE/OLB Chandler Jones. With the Bengals openly shopping the pick, the Patriots most likely heard that team was interested in grabbing Jones, so they moved up to make their selection.

Jones stands at 6'5.5 and weights 255 lbs- however, his playing weight is 265 and he's been fluctuating with his weight (265 at the combine, 255 at his pro day) to show his versatility to potential teams. While his 4.8 40 isn't impressive, his 10' broad jump shows impressive explosion and his 7.07 3 cone ties him with Shea McClellin and puts him at 6th for OLB/DE prospects. His has the ability to be an elite athlete, but he looks extremely raw.

When looking at his film, it's clear that he needs to improve his running motion- and it's something you can be sure the Patriots coaching staff will help him with. He often gets up quickly in his stance, which gives him poor pad leverage, while also removing some of his speed and explosion. When he has proper form (around 33% of the time), he looks like a 4.7 type of player and can explode through his blocker. However, the rest of the time, he looks like a 5.0 player who has to try to work his way into the backfield. If he can clean up his technique, he looks to be great.

Here are some of the positives from watching him:

Long frame allows him to trip up tacklers who seem to be getting away

Extremely versatile and played both 4-front DE and 5 tech 3-front DE to great success

Violent arms can lead to disengaging from blockers and forced fumbles

Gives 100% effort until the ball carrier is down

Strong pressure when cutting in to the middle

Good-to-great first step

Active hands to knock down passes

Able to avoid slide blocks to cut the ball carrier in the backfield

Savvy to drop into zone coverage

Very good in contain and setting the edge

Aware of cut blocks and won't be taken down, although his progress slows

Here are some of the weaknesses:

He needs to work on his running form- he tosses his head back and lifts his chest- keeping both forward will make him faster

Wastes a lot of movement due to high pad level and wasted movement as he uses his explosion upwards instead of outwards

Sometimes struggles to diagnose the option and will be drawn out of position

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Overall, I think Jones is a solid pick. I'm nervous that his speed will prevent him from being an elite pass rusher and that he'll always be one step behind making the big play (think to Jermaine Cunningham's rookie season). If he can develop his speed and technique, he has the physical capabilities to dominate opposing teams and the versatility to help the Patriots defense.