Patriots head coach Bill Belichick likes his linemen on both sides of the ball to play with a certain level of nastiness. Well, he might find the right candidate in Syracuse defensive end Chandler Jones, who is the younger brother of UFC champion Jon "Bones" Jones.
If the Patriots are looking to boost their pass rush in next week's draft, the Syracuse product would be a worthy candidate late in the first round. Jones might even bring a new level of training into the locker room.
Jones is the focus of the 21st installment of a 26-day series that will highlight draft prospects who could land with the Patriots at the end of April. Maybe the prospect fits perfectly in the range of their 27th and 31st picks. Maybe he's intriguing enough for them to make a rare move up the board. Or maybe it's a player who could be available in the mid-30s, causing the Patriots to, gasp, trade down.
The 6-foot-5, 266-pounder had 10.5 sacks in three seasons. In seven games in 2011, Jones had 4.5 sacks, 7.5 tackles for loss, 38 total tackles (30 solo), one interception, two forced fumbles and two pass breakups.
Why the Patriots Would Want Him
Jones is a very strong player with good hands and tackling ability. He plays hard and relies on effort to make plays. Jones is strong against the run, and he can get after the quarterback.
Why the Patriots Might Stay Away
Jones doesn't have great speed, and he lacks the explosion to be an elite pass rusher off the edge. Therefore, if the Patriots think they can get comparable value later in the second round, they might opt for help in another area.
Potential Impact in 2012
Jones would have a good opportunity to start at defensive end if the Patriots stick with their 4-3 set, particularly since he's adept at stopping the run and pass. Otherwise, Jones would be more of a situational player if the Patriots go back to the 3-4.
Likelihood Jones Is Available at No. 27
There's a pretty good chance Jones is still on the board. The important stretch comes when the Bears (No. 19), Titans (No. 20) and Bengals (No. 21) take their picks, as they all figure to be in the market for a 4-3 defensive end.
Each day in April, NESN.com will spotlight a player the Patriots could take with one of their first-round picks.
Sunday: UConn defensive tackle Kendall Reyes