Getting To Know New England Patriots Rookie Chandler Jones
Being the younger brother of Arthur Jones, a defensive tackle for the Baltimore Ravens, and Jon “Bones” Jones, a dominant UFC fighter, Chandler Jones is familiar with the hype and expectations that surround young professional athletes. The youngest of the Jones’ brothers, Chandler was the first of two first round picks made by the Patriots in the 2012 NFL Draft. The Pats traded ahead to pick 21 in order to secure the defensive end prospect out of Syracuse. Anyone who knows Patriots head coach, Bill Belichick, are assured that he saw something in Jones, as we are so accustomed to Belichick trading down in the draft rather than up.
Despite the success of his brothers and his own athletic ability, Chandler Jones was not always seen as a can’t miss prospect. After deciding to follow in the foot steps of his brother Arthur and attend Syracuse, many felt Chandler missed his chance to jump onto the national scene as the state of Orange football was embarrassing when he first enrolled.
Entering a program that was stuck in a rough patch, however, provided Jones with an opportunity that he may not have had on a more prominent team. The opportunity to play in and start games for Syracuse proved to be invaluable for Chandler as he quickly morphed his 6’5 frame and overall skill set into that of an elite defensive end. As a three year starter for Syracuse, Jones became the focus on defense, regularly drawing double teams. A few nagging injuries prevented Jones from racking up off the chart stats while at Syracuse, but his potential became obvious. It was what NFL scouts saw in Jones while he was on the field made many, including Belichick, realize the upside the young defensive end had to offer.
The addition of Chandler Jones has come at the ideal time for the Patriots. Jones, who is known for his ability to rush the passer, should make an immediate impact on a team that has struggled to do just that in recent seasons. At a position where the team is spread thin, Jones has already positioned himself to be the Patriots starting right end when the regular season kicks off. While bringing back Andre Carter still remains as a possibility for the Pats, not even his addition would limit the playing time Jones is expected to receive.
With expectations set high, Jones will feel the pressure as one of the team’s top pass rushing options. Bill Belichick and his staff will expect Jones to get after the quarterback and provide a much needed boost to the team’s pass rush. While fans should have high hopes for him as well, it will take Jones some time to progress as he is nowhere near his ceiling as a football player. Patriots fans can, however, rejoice as Chandler Jones should provide a much needed lift to a defense that was ranked 31st in the league last season.