Open Thread: Patriots 1st Round Draft Grade

Dont'a Hightower  2012 NFL draft

Dont'a Hightower certainly made the grade during his time at Alabama. (Photo: US Presswire)

NEPD Editor: James Christensen

If you told most Patriots fans that Bill Belichick would trade up twice for impact front seven players, they would have given the draft an “A+” grade sight unseen.

With Chandler Jones and Dont’a Hightower now in the fold, how would you grade the draft so far?

I’m well aware that you can’t evaluate a draft fairly for another 3-5 years, but you can give the Patriots a grade on how they played the draft and improved their roster, on paper at least.

Our friends at gave the Patriots a C+ and an A for the Jones and Hightower picks respectively.

On a team that doesn’t project to have a lot of room for rookies, moving up to get two dynamic defenders deserves an initial A+ grade from me.

What grade would you give the Patriots 2012 NFL Draft so far?

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36 Responses to “Open Thread: Patriots 1st Round Draft Grade”

  1. @59russo59 says:

    The Bills draft guys are haters. It’s not like our 3rd and 4th rounders pan out every time, so they get a big fat A+ for trading up twice for talent in positions of need

  2. Larry says:


  3. GSeumalo says:

    With versatile guys like Hightower and Jones, I’m very excited to see our D this season and beyond. Hopefully we can revert back to our D in the 3 championship runs in the early 2000s. You would see like 1 or 2 down linemen and a bunch of LBs roaming around. You would never know how many were blitzing or dropping into coverage. It was a thing of beauty. Guys like Bruschi, T. Johnson, Vrabel, McGinest, Colvin and Phifer just walking around the line of scrimmage and Seymour, Green, Kelly or Warren digging into the dirt. It’s just crazy to think about the the greatness of a Belichick-Defense when all pieces are there. Hope this Draft gets better and we find these pieces.

  4. Kemicol says:

    The patriots struggled against the pass last year that’s known. To remedy that bb got 2 of the most versatile defenders in the draft. Gones already looks like aldon smith or jpp both studs let’s hope he pans out. Hightower is a 4 down player can do it all and well. The different looks to this defense is gunna give any offense a fit. BOLD prediction for the year pats top 10 defense. If not no way anything past 16 best

  5. John M says:

    I think the Pats have had an outstanding draft so far. They moved up twice and got the players that they targeted. Remember, the patriots have had 2 excellent drafts in a row so there’s a high probability that these 2 players will be good starters and possible pro bowlers. I like the fact that they moved up instead of moving back. BB knows what he’s doing most of time so let’s not be so critical of his picks. My grade is an ” A-“.

  6. Zander says:

    I completely agree with the Bills Draft team’s assessment. I absolutely love the Hightower pick. Classic Patriot: strong player with great versatility. He could play ILB, OLB, even played some DE in college. Great pick.

    Jones, on the other hand, is not a great pick. Where does he fit in the defense? Ya he’s versatile but you can’t play a 266 lb guy on the line when you use the 3-4 package and I’d rather have Mayo, Spikes, Ninko, and Hightower out there over Jones. And if we go to the 4-3, I’d expect Ninko or Hightower to have their hands on the ground. The only thing I can think is maybe they’re going to try and groom him for OLB once Ninko’s contract runs out in ’13. I think people are getting blinded by finally getting the shiny, pass-rushing toy and ignoring the problems with how he fits.

    A+ for Hightower, C/C+ for Jones

  7. Marcelo says:

    Some1 deleted my post… good one.

  8. Marcelo says:

    Why is everyone so excited? We had 2 good pash rushers last year, Carter and Anderson, and our defense still strugled and was #31.

    I doubt the defense will improve this much just cuz of these 2 picks.

    We need to pick Trumainse Johnson, otherwise our defense will still suk.

    However, i really liked the moves and picks. Definitely an A!

    • big w says:

      It doesn’t make sense to pay a guy with no sacks 4 million and let a guy go who had 10. Sometimes these guys in the front office forget mulroney, hill, merriweatherand think they are smarter than they are.

      • Justin says:

        With spelling like that I would not be questioning anyones smarts except your own

        • kyle says:

          Hey man the bostan paitrots are the bast teem evar.
          Seriously big w , do all of us true pats fans a favorgood and just stop watching football.

    • qwerty says:

      the reason why defense weak was mainly due to injuries to mayo, spikes, fletcher.

      • Marcelo says:

        We all wish that was the reason, but unfortunately it wasnt. I think the main reason we suffered that much was due to DB’s, and Steve Gregory himselv will not solve our problems. Thats why we need more DBs on round 2, otherwise it will be the same thing as the past 2 years.

        But one really good thing is that we got a Linebacker that can cover on Hightower.

        • qwerty says:

          also chung was injured

          missing those players really puts a big hole in the defense

          we had top 10 defense by playoff time

  9. chas t. says:

    they picked 2 difference makers for the defensive front 7,along with improving their athleticism – definite win win A+.

  10. Dano S says:

    It all comes down to would you rather Janoris Jenkins and Kendall Reyes
    or Mitchell Schwartz,Joe Adams,Dwight Bentley and Malik Jackson. I would find much more value taken the four guys.

  11. Dan says:

    I just listened to the Chandler Jones phone call on…the kid was impressive…mostly because he avoided the two douche bags that were asking him the stupid questions.
    Does anyone know who these two fools were??? They should be fired…the girl was obnoxious as hell and the dude wasn’t much better. Jones worked around it great…he should have hung up…they sounded like a couple of high school knuckleheads…dumb & unprofessional.

  12. Dan says:

    I’d give them a B, and I’m very happy they were so proactive and aggressive. Although, I do think that the Pats were correct in trading back in past years to avoid the hundreds of millions (literally) in lost money to poor first round selections made by the league. So, I’m not going to do what everyone else is and go with the obvious, “I can’t believe they finally moved up”. They moved up because now it makes sense to do so, and they have a nice base of a team.
    I will give them big credit for rolling the dice on Chandler Jones, even though I’m not a huge believer in the player as a top talent in this league. He has potential, and I’ll sit & watch…hope he pans out and causes disruption, at the least, to start; but, then improves to become a solid everydown player, if not a star.
    Hightower I love…great player, great pick, big need….leader, smart, very fast for his size (so please stop the Spike comparisons when it comes to running…Spikes can’t run, Hightower can…Hightower is flexible, Spikes isn’t…and I like Spikes playing in the middle of our defense).
    I also like that the team did use chips & picks to get more quality…maybe less “value”.
    I like Hightower better than Kuechly…he has about 20-25 lbs on him and is only a hair slower…in a big boy league…size does matter, especially playing LB and dealing with these monster guards & tackles.

  13. Ty says:

    I give them an A+. They get a guy with huge potential in Jones, also winning pedigree too! Then they get the Defencive Captain and Leader of one of the best college defences of all time. Both these guys can get after the QB, are smart, and had good combines. I’m hoping we move up to 39 today and get Jenkins. Then trade back with our second pick for multiple later picks from KC.

    • Me says:

      Would also love to move up, though not for Jenkins. The question is, how are we moving up if you have us still trading back with our 2nd pick? A 3rd rounder next year? Don’t see that happening. The level of talent is still so high at the beginning of 2nd round right now that teams are going to be able to offer more than we can. I actually wouldn’t be all that upset if we traded both our 2nds to move up for a guy they really like, but just know, it’s extremely unlikely that the Pats move up again AND keep their other 2nd round pick.

  14. Jim R says:

    Harrison Smith was oooooooooohhhhhhhhhhh so close to being a patriot. If Minnesota did not pick him and he slid to 31 the pats were going to grab him. Whew doged a bullet there. Thanks Vikes

  15. TD says:

    Although it’s way too early, I would give them a B+. I expect Jones to replace Anderson and I doubt he is going to be putting on 20-30 pounds just to fit the Patriot’s ideal 5-technique DE. They don’t run that D very much anymore. Also, Jones gets pressure just by his size and long, long arms.

    I expected Hightower to be on Jets or Steelers, but I think BB can line him up all over and get run stopper like Spikes and blitz packages from him.

    All it took was the 31st ranked D and reasonable rookie salaries to get BB to move up to select some difference makers.

    The downside is nothing left after round 2. BB’s wheelhouse is in finding guys in the later rounds, although I suspect he will still find some undrafted gems to develop.

  16. Blackluck says:

    Solid A. Needed impact defensive players. Hightower gives that immediately and Jones eventually. This draft is what Pat fans have been pining for years.

  17. patsfaninpittsburgh says:

    Obviously, our friends in Buffalo have a much different criteria for pass rushers.

  18. Jim R says:

    This has the potential to be outstanding. Hightower should be in a lot of packages from the get go. Jones will be gradually worked in and will contribute. Thier pass coverage just got a whole lot better. Would like to see them get a corner and a Big fatty for the oline

  19. Joey NL says:

    Because I live in Europe I had to get out of bed in the middle of the night to watch the draft but is was so worth it!

    I don’t know as much of football as you guys in the USA but I’m not surprised with the Chandler Jones pick. Last couple of days it was already rumoured the Pats loved this guy. I don’t like the way he moves but if he adds some weight he can turn out to be a very decent DE.

    I was surprised with the Hightower pick. As he is more of an inside guy it doesn’t fill a big need because we already have Mayo and Spikes but they’ll probably have a plan for him. They guy can play multiple spots.

    Two solid picks and hopefully they’ll add some more talent on day 2 and 3.

  20. John Courtney says:

    My grade is A+

    I made a list of 8 players to pick for 27 and 31. My # 1 was Hightower and # 8 was Jones. 7 of my 8 were picked in first round.
    I had a list of 7 for 2nd round and 2, Perry and Harrison Smith went in round 1. Can’t wait to see round 2. My only pick for round 1 that didn’t go is Kendall Reyes from U.Conn. He should go in round 2.

  21. Steve says:

    Trying to understand how Bills draft gave two grades with one being a C+. I would have to give the Pats an A. Don’t feel like they gave up a super lot to get two players with upside they have. Still a long way to go though.

  22. vb says:

    Once again, patriots drafted not so flashy but really solid picks. Being a patriots fan, its hard to not be biased and not give them A+, but I would give them A, simply because Chandler Jones in my opinion is a bit raw but have every potential to be one of the best. He sort of reminds me of combination of two players – Aldon smith and JPP. Just my opinion.

  23. JV says:

    The Pats got the #2 ILB and according to Mike Mayock the Pats also go the #9 overal prospect. Throw in the fact they moved up to get positions of need without giving away the farm…I would say this is an A+
    Buff is just hating.

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