NEPD Editor: Doug Kyed
Well that didn’t go as expected.
But really, that’s what you have to expect with the draft and especially this Patriots team. All the Patriots fans wanted impact players that could help them win next season, and I think they should be happy.
Lets first tackle the Patriots picks.
The Patriots moved their 27th pick and their 93rd pick to move up with the Cincinnati Bengals to take Chandler Jones. If you follow me on twitter, you saw me tweet about him all night. I finally came around on him a bit last night. I expect him to play 7-tech in the Pats defense right away, and he has the upside to eventually be a 5-tech or 3-tech if he can bulk up to 280 or 290.
He’s a 6-6/265 DE with tremendous length (35+ inch arms) and natural strength. He’s UFC Champion Jon “Bones” Jones brother, as well as current Baltimore Ravens DT Arthur Jones. So he comes from a nice pedigree.
Some people are projecting Jones as an OLB/elephant in the Pats hybrid defense, but he has a lot of trouble in space and looks very awkward running. He missed five games with a sprained knee last year, so that could have affected his mobility. He had a great short shuttle and 3 cone time at the combine, which was surprising, but as I said before, his knee might have hindered him in space.
Ooh boy. The Patriots used their 31st pick and 126th pick to grab 25 from the Broncos. This is one of my favorite Patriots picks EVER. Hightower can play rush DE, SLB or MLB in the 4-3 and he can play ILB or OLB in the 3-4. He’s a massive linebacker in the mold of Levon Kirkland/Adalius Thomas and he could play a similar role as those players.
The Patriots needed depth at inside linebacker, which Hightower provides and they needed some more pass rushers with Mark Anderson and Andre Carter gone. There could not have been a better fit in this Pats defense.
I’ve seen comparisons to Brandon Spikes which I think are way off base. Hightower is much more athletic, even bigger, far more versatile and most importantly, better in zone coverage. He’ll fit in any role in the hybrid defense and Belichick certainly knows a lot about him, he was coached at Alabama by Belichick’s best buddy Nick Saban.
The only way this was going to happen was if David DeCastro fell, which he did to the Steelers. Otherwise, Pittsburgh almost definitely would have taken Hightower.
Going into tomorrow, Patritos fans will be expecting to go secondary. The Patriots only have two picks left in the entire draft, and they’re both in the 2nd round, so this could be a quick draft for the Pats.
Likely, if one of their guys are there at 48, they’ll take them, otherwise, I’d expect the Patriots to trade out of both picks.
AROUND THE LEAGUE
AJ Jenkins – 30 to the 49ers
Bruce Irvin – 15 to the Seahawks
Harrison Smith – 29 to the Vikings
David Wilson – 32 to the Giants
Kevin Zeitler – 27 to the Bengals
Mark Barron – 7 to the Buccaneers
Dontari Poe – 11 to the Chiefs
Quinton Coples – 16 to the Jets
Riley Reiff – 23 to the Lions
Dre Kirkpatrick – 17 to the Bengals
David DeCastro – 24 to the Steelers
My best players available:
See how we did in each of our mocks here:
Overall, I thought it was a fantastic first day for the Patriots. Chandler Jones wasn’t my favorite player in the draft, but I understand and appreciate his upside, and it’s not like he can’t contribute right away. He may just look much different in three years.
There are also a ton of great players left that fit needs for the Patriots. At DL there’s still Devon Still, Brandon Thompson, Kendall Reyes and Jerell Worthy. At secondary there’s still Jenkins, Brandon Boykin, Jamell Fleming, Trumaine Johnson, Casey Hayward. At offensive line, there’s still Martin, Glenn, Konz, Amini Silatolu. One of those guys is guaranteed to be there at #48. That’s good news moving forward.
Until tomorrow, I hope you enjoyed the first day of the draft.