NFL Draft Live Blog: Patriots Trade Up Twice, Select Chandler Jones and Dont’a Hightower


NFL Draft Live Blog: Patriots Trade Up Twice, Select Chandler Jones and Dont'a Hightower

11:14 p.m.: That’s it for the first night of the draft, and again, the Patriots traded up twice to get Syracuse defensive end Chandler Jones with the 21st pick and Alabama linebacker Dont’a Hightower with the 25th pick.

I’ll have plenty more coverage on throughout the night and the rest of the weekend, so don’t go far.

11:09 p.m.: The first round is in the books, and the Bucs jumped up to select Boise State running back Doug Martin with the 31st pick, which had to kill the Giants, who wound up with Virginia Tech running back David Wilson at No. 32.

I’m going to need to reasses the board one more time, but the Patriots did about as well as anyone in the first round. You’ve really got to like the way they improved their defense.

Dont’a Hightower just addressed the media, and Chandler Jones will be up in a few minutes. Bill Belichick will meet with us after that.

10:50 p.m.: Three more selections to update: The Packers took USC defensive end Nick Perry at No. 28, while the Vikings selected Notre Dame safety Harrison Smith at No. 29 and the 49ers added Illinois wide receiver A.J. Jenkins at No. 30.

There are two picks to go in the first round, but I’ve got to run downstairs for a few minutes.

10:34 p.m.: The Texans made a surprise selection and picked Illinois defensive end Whitney Mercilus with the 26th pick. Mercilus led the nation with 16 sacks, so he’s obviously a terrific player, but the Texans didn’t address an immediate need.

The Bengals followed that up by taking Wisconsin guard Kevin Zeitler at No. 27. Good addition for them. They needed to address the guard position.

10:23 p.m.: It’s official, the Patriots took Dont’a Hightower. I’ll say this: The Patriots have seriously improved their team in this draft. The fan base should be ecstatic.

The Patriots only have two picks left in the draft — the 48th and 62nd picks in the second round.

10:20 p.m.: ESPN is reporting the Patriots added a fourth-round pick to get the 25th selection from Denver, and they took Alabama inside linebacker Dont’a Hightower, who is an absolute stud. The Patriots are crushing it in the first round. This is huge.

The Lions took Iowa tackle Riley Reiff with the 23rd pick, and the Steelers stole Stanford guard David DeCastro with the 24th pick.

10:19 p.m.: The Patriots traded up to No. 25. They sent the 31st and another pick to the Broncos.

10:12 p.m.: The Browns took Oklahoma State quarterback Brandon Weeden with the 22nd pick. Weeden is 28 years old.

10:09 p.m.: That’s a really solid pick by the Patriots. Chandler Jones has a terrific motor off the edge, and the thing I knew Bill Belichick would like is Jones is just as strong against the run, which will make him a three-down player. There’s no reason to think Jones can’t move to outside linebacker, but he’s a pure defensive end, which makes me think they’re sticking with the 4-3.

10:07 p.m.: The Titans took Baylor wide receiver Kendall Wright with the 20th pick.

10:06 p.m.: There’s a report coming from somewhere that the Patriots have selected Syracuse defensive end Chandler Jones.

10:02 p.m.: The Patriots have traded up in the first round for the second time in Bill Belichick’s 13 drafts in New England. They gave up the 27th pick and their third-rounder (No. 93) for the 21st selection, which was previously owned by the Bengals. Intrigue!

9:58 p.m.: The Bears have made a very surprising pick at No. 19, taking Boise State outside linebacker Shea McClellin. I’m not sure if he’ll play defensive end or outside linebacker in their 4-3 scheme, but he’s versatile. I can’t believe they let Stanford guard David DeCastro go by them. Seemed like a lay-up.

9:50 p.m.: The Chargers have used the 18th pick on South Carolina defensive end Melvin Ingram, who I had rated as the draft’s top edge rusher, for whatever that happens to be worth. That was the Chargers’ top need, too, so it’s a huge score for them.

There are some intriguing edge players on the board, but the Bears, Titans and Bengals could take them off the board in the next three picks. Add Ingram to that mix, and it could crush the depth at the position for the Patriots.

9:46 p.m.: The Bengals took Alabama cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick with the 17th pick. That’s a really good one. The Bengals are coming together, but they needed an upgrade at corner, and Kirkpatrick looks like a legit one. Kirkpatrick joins Trent Richardson and Mark Barron among the Alabama players taken in the first round.

9:38 p.m.: The Jets have taken North Carolina defensive end Quinton Coples with the 16th pick, and that’s a scary selection for the Patriots. Coples has elite potential as a pass rusher, but his motor is made for a Kia. Then again, Rex Ryan makes guys play all-out, so Coples could be dominant in that system.

9:31 p.m.: The Seahawks have made the first huge surprise with a pick in the draft, using the 15th pick to select West Virginia defensive end Bruce Irvin, who looked like a second-rounder. Melvin Ingram and Quinton Coples are still on the board, too. The Seahawks might have been able to trade down once or twice more and still gotten Irvin, but hey, can’t hate a team for taking the guy they’ve identified as the one they want. Well, unless that player isn’t good at football.

9:27 p.m.: The Rams took LSU defensive tackle Michael Brockers with the 14th pick, and that’s a defensive line that needs some help. Jeff Fisher knows how to coach them, though, and Brockers has so much long-term potential.

Side note: Seahawks owner Paul Allen is tweeting the picks a few minutes before the announcements. The backlash from this stuff is going to be great.

9:18 p.m.: The Cardinals have taken Notre Dame wide receiver Michael Floyd with the 13th pick. That’s going to be a scary combination with Floyd and Larry Fitzgerald. The problem will be the guy throwing them the ball.

9:10 p.m.: The Eagles traded up to No. 12 to select Mississippi State defensive tackle Fletcher Cox. The Seahawks got the 15th pick and two later picks to move down, so it’s not a bad move for them.

The thinking here is the Eagles jumped ahead of the Rams to take Cox. While the Rams deserve credit for accumulating a bunch of picks, what’s the cost? They’ve now been jumped for Justin Blackmon and Cox. If the Rams were high on those guys, they’ve got to be hurting. Then again, I doubt the Rams traded down to No. 14 and thought they could still get Cox.

9:04 p.m.: The Chiefs made a surprising pick to select Memphis defensive tackle Dontari Poe, who has the biggest boom-bust potential of any non-quarterback in the draft, in my opinion. But I’ve got to think if Scott Pioli has taken him, there’s more there than we might have realized. I just can’t believe they took him over Fletcher Cox.

8:58 p.m.: Interesting, the Bills took South Carolina cornerback Stephon Gilmore with the 10th pick. Good pick because they need help in the secondary, but I’m surprised they passed on Notre Dame wide receiver Michael Floyd and Iowa tackle Riley Reiff.

8:55 p.m.: Roger Goodell is going to have a word with the Panthers, who tweeted their pick of Boston College linebacker Luke Kuechly before the announcement at the podium, which was a strict no-no in this year’s draft.

That should be exciting for BC fans, though. Cam Newton is the face of the offense (and the organization), and Kuechly will become the face of the defense.

But seriously, I can’t wait to see if the NFL comes down on the Panthers for that tweet.

8:49 p.m.: The Dolphins have their quarterback after taking Ryan Tannehill from Texas A&M. I’d still expect Matt Moore to be the starter in 2012 because Tannehill is going to need a year or two to develop. If it works out, Tannehill should be a terrific pick, but it’s going to take a while.

8:44 p.m.: The Bucs have selected Alabama safety Mark Barron with the seventh pick. There is a huge drop-off to the next set of safeties.

Barron’s gold watch would make Big Ben blush. Somebody gave him a serious line of credit before the draft, which reminds me of a top-five pick who got a $500,000 line of credit before the 2011 draft.

8:37 p.m.: The Cowboys moved up to No. 6 to select LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne. That’s going to be a terrific pairing with Brandon Carr, and that’s how you upgrade a secondary in one offseason.

ESPN is reporting the Buccaneers will take Alabama safety Mark Barron at No. 7.

Crazy, the third, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh picks have been traded so far. We knew how the draft would start, but we had no idea it would turn into this.

8:33 p.m.: The Jaguars made it official by taking Justin Blackmon with the fifth pick. I have no idea if Blaine Gabbert will be a good quarterback, but Blackmon will surely help his development.

8:31 p.m.: After apparently losing out on Justin Blackmon, the Rams have traded out of the sixth pick. The Cowboys have moved up from No. 14. That’s the biggest surprise of the draft so far, and the Cowboys gave up their second-round pick to move up.

8:27 p.m.: The Vikings have taken USC tackle Matt Kalil with the fourth pick, and I’ll just say it again that I called their bluff from day one.

8:23 p.m.: We still don’t know who the Vikings picked at No. 4, but the Jaguars traded up to No. 5, giving the seventh pick to the Bucs. It sounds like the Jaguars are going to take Oklahoma State wide receiver Justin Blackmon. The Rams have to be deflated.

8:20 p.m.: Alabama running back Trent Richardson is going to the Browns with the third pick. Richardson was better than Mark Ingram when he won the Heisman. Richardson might be a replica of Adrian Peterson.

The Vikings have apparently filed their pick, too. At this rate, the draft is going to be over before Roger Goodell announces the 10th pick.

8:18 p.m.: It’s fine for the NFL to restrict the networks’ coverage to build suspense for each pick, but it’s already gotten annoying that they’re also holding the picks to build suspense. The Browns’ pick was apparently filed 5-10 minutes ago, but nothing has been announced. This is like boarding a plane.

8:12 p.m.: Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III is officially going to Washington with the second pick. Now that the predictable picks are out of the way, it’s time for the draft to really start.

8:05 p.m.: The Colts have made one of the most prominent transitions between quarterbacks in NFL history, selecting Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck with the draft’s first pick.

8:03 p.m.: Roger Goodell came out to a loud chorus of boos and announced the Colts are on the clock.

8:00 p.m.: It’s time for the draft, folks.

7:54 p.m.: By the way, I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if the Vikings traded out of the fourth pick. With how badly they wanted out of No. 3, why should No. 4 be any different?

7:26 p.m.: Bill Belichick was just on NFL Network and didn’t pinpoint much, other than to say there’s good depth in the second and third rounds. He also wants to keep the team’s best interests in mind, which seems like a logical approach.

7:12 p.m.: Hey, look at that, someone bit on the Vikings’ sale, so good for them. The Browns snagged the third overall pick from the Vikings, who dropped down to the fourth selection. NFL Network is making it sounds like the Browns are going to select Alabama running back Trent Richardson, and it’s one heck of a price to pay.

Reports indicate the Browns also gave up picks in the fourth, fifth and seventh round just to move up one spot. I’ve loved Richardson’s game since he was backing up Mark Ingram, but wow, that’s a steep price to move up one spot for the sole reason of keeping Richardson away from the Buccaneers.

7:08 p.m.: I’ve arrived at Gillette Stadium and will be located in the press box throughout the draft. There’s a private party here for fans, and the NFL Network is on the video boards inside the stadium and on the TVs in the press box. Bill Belichick will address the media after the first round.

5:07 p.m.: The Patriots officially announced they have not spoken to the Seahawks about trading for the 12th pick in the draft. Take it for what it’s worth. My opinion on it still hasn’t changed, and for more on that, scroll down to some earlier posts.

4:58 p.m.: There hasn’t been a team that has leaked more information than the Vikings, and is reporting LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne is their top-rated player. The Vikings are trying to sell this thing so bad that it’s just weird and desperate. Hey, if they draft Claiborne, that’s all well and good, but the amount of information that has reached the public reeks of a team that wants to trade the pick. Stop trying so hard.

4:53 p.m.: Curious what the Patriots’ draft room looks like? They tweeted out a photo of it. Unfortunately, they were careful to leave out the fun stuff.

3:37 p.m.: I love the reports of “Team X will trade up/down for the right price.” Just replace “Teams X, Y and Z” with “everyone.”

Anyway, here’s what I wrote earlier about the Patriots’ goals for the draft. Check it out.

2:46 p.m.: Stacey Dales from NFL Network is now reporting the Patriots have told her there have been no contact with the Seahawks about the 12th pick.

I think it’s semantics. I’m sure they’ve spoken to the Seahawks just like every other team, but maybe there weren’t any hard discussions for the pick.

As always, especially at this point in the process, it’s impossible to take anything at face value. I’m sure, though, that if the Patriots’ guy is available at No. 12, they’ll know exactly how much it will cost to move up and take him.

12:55 p.m.: It was only a matter of time before something like this got leaked. The Patriots have inquired about the price to get the 12th pick from the Seahawks, according to Albert Breer from NFL Network. That’s where they’d need to be to get Alabama safety Mark Barron.

Don’t get overly excited about the news. For years now, the Patriots have noted they talk to every team about the price for each pick. It’s necessary due diligence because teams only have 10 minutes to make their first-round picks.

I’ve brought this up a few times already, but I’m guessing it would take one of two packages to get the 12th pick. They’d either need to surrender both first-rounders or the 27th and two second-rounders. In each scenario, I think the Patriots would also get a late-round pick in return. For much more detail on all of this, read my Two-Minute Drill from Wednesday.

12:08 p.m.: NFL Network’s Michael Lombardi said he has heard the Vikings will take LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne with the third pick. Lombardi is a great reporter, but keep in mind the Vikings have been trying to trade this pick for about two months. They’ll be desperate to create a market for any team that fears losing Claiborne.

If true, though, this might be good news for Boston College linebacker Luke Kuechly. If the Browns still take Alabama running back Trent Richardson with the fourth pick, I can see the Bucs going with Kuechly at No. 5.

12:00 p.m.: The Patriots’ first-round pick(s) will be expected at Gillette Stadium on Friday, and the pick(s) will meet with the media later in the afternoon. So it’s only a matter of time before you get your first look at part of the team’s future.

Now, cue the jokes about trading out of the first round.

10:33 a.m.: I won’t let you completely avoid mock drafts just yet. Here is my 10th and final edition.

I’ve given the Patriots Syracuse defensive end Chandler Jones and Michigan State defensive tackle Jerel Worthy. For further explanation, check out the mock draft.

Over the course of 10 mock drafts, I had given the Patriots 10 different players, so that just goes to show you how many options they’ll have at the end of the first round.

8 a.m.: Mocked out yet? Well, this is the day the speculation can go into hibernation, as it’s finally time for the 2012 NFL draft to commence.

The first round starts Thursday night at 8 p.m., and the Patriots are equipped with the 27th and 31st picks. Each team gets 10 minutes to make its selection, and based on last year’s draft, the Patriots are expected to pick around 11 p.m. and 11:25 p.m., though those times are estimations.

The draft takes place at Radio City Music Hall in New York City, but I’ll have you covered live from Gillette Stadium, where Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and the team’s most pertinent decision makers will be based.

Stay with’s live blog throughout the day for all of your first-round information, and keep it here for the remainder of the draft Friday and Saturday, too.

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