04/30/2012 - A closer look at the Patriots' picks: Round 1/21 -- Chandler Jones, DE, 6-5, 265, Syracuse...This is clearly the player the Patriots coveted from Day 1, as evident by the fact they traded up to get him, dealing the 27th overall pick and a third-round selection to move to No. 21. Jones has already drawn some comparisons to Giants' defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul based on his pure athleticism, and it's obvious the Patriots needed help with the pass rush. - The Sports Xchange
Offensive tackles who know Chandler Jones' background will have little interest in engaging in hand-to-hand combat.
The defensive end from Syracuse does mixed martial arts training with his brother, who happens to be UFC superstar Jon "Bones" Jones.
"Some flying knees, punching, elbowing, throwing everything I can," Chandler Jones told The Journal Sentinel about workouts with Jon.
And if he wants to learn how to put those skills to good use on the field, he can turn to another brother, Art, who is a defensive tackle for the Baltimore Ravens.
That football pedigree is certainly playing in Chandler Jones' favor as he attempts to work his way into the first round of this year's draft.
"The way I was taught to play football, I was told there was a target I had to hit every snap," Jones told the paper. "Looking at the target out of snap, my hands were a lot more fast. I was on that target before I could even think about being that fast. My hands got lightning fast and I'm excited to see them get even better."
Jones was a highly-touted recruit, and was a third-team All-Big East selection as a redshirt sophomore. He built on that with second team honors in 2010 and first team last season, despite missing five games with a knee injury. Having watched Art's draft stock plummet due to a knee injury before the 2010 draft, Chandler Jones opted to leave Syracuse with a year of eligibility remaining.
He has just 10 sacks in 33 career games, but he is considered a good run defender, has good initial quickness and does a nice job of anticipating the snap count.
As you'd expect from someone with martial arts training, Jones is a physical defender who competes through the whistle on every snap. He projects best as a left defensive end in the 4-3 alignment. With added size and strength he could also become a very solid defensive end in the 3-4 scheme. His size, strength and scheme versatility should result in a top 75 selection but his lack of elite pass rush traits limit how high he'll go.
Despite lacking elite pass rushing skills, Jones' stock has been steadily rising during the pre-draft process.
Pass rush: Relies on hustle, vision and strength as a pass rusher. Times the snap well and has a good initial burst off the line. Lacks sustained speed around the corner, however, and will have a hard time beating NFL offensive tackles to the outside. Very long arms and an effective swim move, though he doesn't use this often enough. Good rip move. Good upper body strength and quick hands to knock away the blocker's attempts to control him. Good leg drive for the bull rush, though Jones struggles with pad level, at times. Very good vision and effort. Plays to the whistle.
Run defense: Good upper body strength and length to lock-out his opponent. Has at least moderate lateral agility to ride the block to the sideline and keep contain, though he's a bit stiff in changing directions and has only average speed, overall, for the position. Good vision to locate the football on the draw or QB scramble. Quick to break off his pass rush and pursue downfield. Recognizes the cut block but has only average balance overall to avoid it due to his high-cut frame.
Explosion: Possesses a quick burst off the line which is enhanced by his ability to time the snap count. Does not have the speed to turn the corner consistently. Good upper body strength to drive his opponent into the backfield on the bull rush but lacks true explosiveness to rock them back onto their heels. Is a wrap and drag down tackler more than an explosive hitter than ball-carriers need to fear.
Strength: Flashes upper-body strength to rip past blockers and lower-body strength to stand up to double-teams, but will need to get stronger and play with more leverage to succeed at the next level. Controlled on the line too often by strong-handed blockers. Good strength for the pull-down tackle as the ball-carrier is rushing past him.
Tackling: Good hustle and chase tackler. Goes down the line and gets back to help teammates wrap up ballcarriers downfield, though his limited speed means he can be left in the dust quickly. Long arms and good strength for the drag-down tackle from behind, though he will leave his feet and lunge, on occasion. Is not a quick-twitch athlete who can change directions in small spaces and thus, can be eluded. Relies on his long arms to catch the ball-carrier rather than the agility to corral them.
Intangibles: Suffered a knee injury in the 2011 season opener against Wake Forest. The injury caused Jones to miss five games but was not publicly defined. Team doctors will certainly want to take a closer look at the Combine... Took on more of a leadership role in 2011, taking extra time to help coach up teammates from every defensive position on the team's scheme and expectations. Athletic bloodlines. Has two brothers -- Arthur, a former all-conference DT at Syracuse and currently with the Baltimore Ravens and Jon, who has been the UFC light-heavyweight champ.