Chandler Jones was a steal when the former Syracuse defensive end went to the New England Patriots at No. 21 overall this past April. In a matter of a few months, it appears that Jones could also be slated for a starting role for the defending AFC Champions.
According to Greg A. Bedard of the Boston Globe, Jones is already working with the first-team defense at left end and is unlikely to lose grip on that position anytime soon.
“I think it’s time for us (me) to adjust expectations for DE Chandler Jones,” Bedard said via Twitter. “At this point, he’s a starter. Not sure I see it changing.”
Jones brings a well-rounded attack and a plethora of physical tools to the table for the Patriots. Especially for a team that has been lacking a strong, consistent defensive line over the past couple of seasons, the Patriots couldn’t have asked for much more in Jones.
Gerard continued to praise Jones, saying that the rookie defensive end “entered camp much stronger than most anticipated” and that his pass-rushing abilities have been “much more advanced than your typical early-entry, first-round pick.”
What makes it easy to understand that he’s already practicing with the first-team defense is his burst and impressive point-of-attack strength. With a frame that will allow more muscle to be added as the season wears on, Jones brings physicality and quickness to the front seven. His ability to both pass-rush and hold ground against the run also make him an ideal fit for the Patriots’ 3-4 attack.
The younger brother of Baltimore Ravens defensive end Arthur Jones, the Syracuse standout left after his junior season. Throughout his three-year college career, Jones amassed 147 tackles (28 for a loss), 10.5 sacks and five forced fumbles.
Come Week 1 when the Patriots visit the Tennessee Titans, don’t be surprised to see Jones at the top of the defensive end depth chart.