A quick look at Chandler Jones and Donta Hightower
|04.26.12 at 10:57 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio mentioned it a few times over the course of the offseason — when asked what stood out for him about this draft, he made it a point to mention the front seven. And on Thursday night, New England went out and acquired itself two premier front seven defenders in Syracuse defensive lineman Chandler Jones and linebacker Donta Hightower.
Jones, taken at No. 21 overall, is a long, lean player in the mold of Willie McGinest, a 6-foot-5, 265-pound defensive end who is known for his ability to get after the quarterback. He secured a first-team Big East nod in 2011 even after missing the first five games of the season with a knee injury. In seven games, Jones managed to accumulate 39 tackles, 4 1/2 sacks, one forced fumble and an interception.
As for Hightower, who was taken at No. 25, he can fill multiple spots. He’s worked as an inside linebacker in Alabama’s 3-4 defense, but has shown some positional versatility, including some work as an edge player. At 6-foot-2 and 265 pounds, he was a consensus All-American — one of the captains of the Crimson Tide defense, he finished with a career-high 85 tackles (40 solo), with four sacks and 11 tackles for loss.