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Chandler Jones: Rex Ryan ‘showed a lot of interest’ in me 10.19.12 at 2:10 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Last April, before the Patriots and Bill Belichick selected pass rushing beast Chandler Jones in the first round (21st overall), there was a good chance Rex Ryan was going to take the prospect out of Syracuse.

The Jets eventually selected another pass rusher in Quinton Coples with the 16th overall pick. But Ryan and the Jets were certainly interested, according to Jones, who acknowledged as much on Friday, just 48 hours before his first game against the Jets.

“I haven’t really even seen any of the press conference, to be honest,” Jones said when asked if he saw Ryan’s praise of Belichick this week. “But from what I know, Rex Ryan is a great coach. I sat down and interviewed with him over the draft. He’s a good coach. He’s very up-to-date on things. He’s always asking me about my brother [Jon "Bones" Jones] and the UFC fighting. He’s a good coach. Rex is a great coach.

“He’s a good person.”

So, what was it like to be interviewed by the man who always wears a smile?

“I went up there and he sat me down and we went over a few of schemes, basically what every team does with you, and talked about my brother for a little bit but that’s about it,” Jones said. “They showed a lot of interest, showed a lot of interest.”

As for experiencing the AFC rivalry between the two for the first time, Jones was more low-key – playing it right down the middle.

“We’re 3-3 right now,” Jones said. “That’s not where we want to be. Personally, that’s not where I would want to be. You’ve got to win. You go into every week with the same goal, to win, win the football game. That’s every week. You have that sense of urgency every week, to win the game, and that’s our goal.”

“We just want to win. If you want to call this a big game, personally for me, it’ll be a big game. That’s my mentality every week, so yeah, against the Jets, it’s a big game.”

Read More: chandler jones, Jon Bones Jones, New England Patriots, New York Jets
NFL Draft’s Potential Patriots: North Carolina DE Quinton Coples 02.22.12 at 8:12 am ET
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WEEI.com will continue to offer daily insight and analysis regarding options that may be available to the Patriots when it comes to the 2012 NFL draft. Here is one is a series of profiles of players who could be on the board when it’s time for the Patriots to make a selection.

QUINTON COPLES

Position: Defensive End

School: North Carolina

Height: 6-foot-6

Weight: 285 pounds

Achievements: 2010 first-team All-ACC, 2011 Lombardi Award candidate, 2011 Hendricks Award candidate

What he brings: A strong defensive end who brings a lot of length to the line, Coples played as a defensive tackle for a most of last season, a move that showed how versatile he can be. Coples has the athletic tools to be an elite pass rusher but lacks the agility and overall speed that separates the elite defensive ends. Coples has great hands and strength that make him very hard to block without leverage. He’s been mentioned as a less-agile Julius Peppers.

Where the Patriots could get him: Round 1 (likely via a trade to move up)

Notes: Coples was cleared by the NCAA in the agent scandal that rocked the UNC program in 2010. While playing tackle last season Coples earned All-ACC honors after recording 59 tackles, 15.5 for loss, and 10 sacks. The biggest knock against him besides his lack of burst speed is the question of whether he can play defensive end on the right side. Coples added 30 pounds to his frame while at North Carolina.

Recent articles:

ESPN: UNC players stand out at Senior Bowl

CBS: Coples versatility drawing rave reviews

Video: Here is a collection of clips of Coples against Clemson and Florida State.

Read More: 2012 NFL Draft, 2012 Potential Patriots, quinton coples,
Ten players the Patriots should look at drafting 02.07.12 at 11:59 pm ET
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The games have been played, and now it’s time for the real fun to begin. The NFL Scouting Combine is just two short weeks away, and the Patriots have four of the draft’s first 63 picks in this year’s draft (Nos. 27, 31, 48 and 63).

Is this the year the Pats finally go after a pass-rusher? Will the team spend another high pick on a defensive back (and shouldn’t they)? Will the Patriots add a big receiver? These are the questions that will likely be asked time and time again in the weeks leading up to April 26.

So, with some apparent needs and a plethora of picks to address them early, here are 10 players the Pats might want to consider in this year’s draft. Of course, this is an incredibly early look and workouts have yet to be conducted, so projections as to where players might be selected are merely educated guesses at this point.

Quinton Coples, DE/DT, UNC

Where he might go in the draft: Top 10

When it comes to defensive prospects in this draft, this is the guy. Projected as an elite lineman as either a defensive end or defensive tackle, Coples would bring star power to a defensive line that doesn’t have much outside of Vince Wilfork. Bill Belichick would really need to change his ways in order to secure Coples’ services, as the last time the Pats traded up in the first round was in 2003, and it was just one spot.

Coples has very good size (6-foot-5 6/8, 281 pounds), is strong and has very good speed. The thing that might not make Coples worth trading up for is the fact that he is not an elite pass-rusher, which is something the Patriots need.

Jared Crick, DE, Nebraska

Where he might go in the draft: First or second round

Every year, it seems, we list all of the pass-rushers who seem perfect for the Patriots, but the Pats have largely ignored the need for years. With that being said, people won’t stop suggesting they add a legitimate pass-rusher until they do. Crick is a pass-rush specialist, is big (6-foot-4 2/8, 286) and could play on the line in the 4-3 and standing up in the 3-4.

Crick emerged as a sophomore, playing on the same line as Ndamukong Suh and racking up 9.5 sacks for the Huskers. When Suh left, Crick’s production didn’t drop off. He posted 9.5 sacks again as a junior, and seemed poised for a big senior year before it was cut short by injury. Crick was limited to only five games this season due to a torn pectoral muscle, which he suffered on Sept. 17 against Wyoming. He played two more games through pain, but the team shut the senior down for the season in October, so he finished his final year with just one sack.

Alshon Jeffery, WR, South Carolina

Where he might go in the draft: Second round

The Patriots lack a big, tall receiving option, and it seems they’ve been shell-shocked when it comes to drafting receivers high. Given how bad their track record has been, perhaps their reluctance to draft at the position is justified. The last three receivers drafted in the the first three rounds (Chad Jackson, second round ’06; Brandon Tate, third round ’09; Taylor Price, third round ’10) have each lasted less than two seasons with the team before being released.

At 6-foot-4, Jeffery’s body is more filled out than Stephen Hill‘s (see below), as the South Carolina product weighs in at 232 pounds. Jeffery possesses good enough speed for such a big receiver and has very good hands. Jeffery’s best season came in 2010 as a sophomore, when he reeled in 88 catches for 1,517 yards and nine touchdowns. There also is no injury history with Jeffery, so for what the Patriots need at receiver, he seems to be a logical fit.

Rueben Randle, WR, LSU

Where he might go in the draft: Second round

The fact that Randle declared for the draft and is now in a rather crowded group of big receivers is only good news for teams in need, but another year at LSU may have made him a first-round prospect.

Route-running is Randle’s biggest weakness, but he is big and fast, and having both he and Rob Gronkowski on the field at the same time would create nightmares for defenses when the Pats get in the red zone. Randle had nine touchdowns as a junior.

Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech

Where he might go in the draft: Late second or third round

The 208-pound Hill stands at 6-foot-4 2/8, and, like Demaryius Thomas and other receivers to come from Georgia Tech’s triple-option offense, wasn’t a focal point of his team’s offense in college. That doesn’t mean that some coaching and improvement in route-running can’t make this Yellow Jacket into a legitimate NFL receiver. Just look at Thomas and Calvin Johnson, both of whom came from Georgia Tech and have established themselves as two of the best young receivers in the game. Unlike Johnson and Thomas, Hill probably won’t cost a team a first-round pick.

Mark Barron, S, Alabama

Where he might go in the draft: First round

Assuming Belichick plans on using Devin McCourty as a cornerback, the team will need more help at safety. That’s a position Belichick certainly hasn’t been afraid of early in the draft, as he drafted the likes of Brandon Meriweather and Patrick Chung in the first two rounds.

Barron might be a Belichick type of player simply because he’s good at everything. He’s got solid timed speed for his size (6-foot-1 4/8, 223-pounds and projects to run the 40-yard dash in the 4.5 range), is a strong tackler and plays well against both the pass and the run. Also, you can never discount the Nick Saban connection.

Barron does have a history with the law, as he was arrested last March on a second-degree charge of hindering the prosecution. Barron allegedly was unwilling to identify his cousin as the driver in a car accident in which the driver had fled the scene.

Chandler Jones, DE, Syracuse

Where he might go in the draft: Second round

At 6-foot-5 and 247 pounds, Jones has a similar body to Pats defensive end Mark Anderson. He was actually recruited as a tight end, but developed into a star defensive end in his time at Syracuse.

Jones is a good enough athlete, but he was by no means the feared pass-rusher that Crick was in college. Still, he has the size to potentially contribute at defensive end or outside linebacker for the Patriots. Belichick needs to grab at least one of these guys in the first two rounds, and both Crick and Jones fit the bill with their potential positional versatility. Jones missed time during his junior season with a lower body injury.

Cam Johnson, DE/OLB, Virginia

Where he might go in the draft: Second or third round

When looking at players who potentially could play both defensive end and outside linebacker, experience at both is something that not all prospects have. Johnson does have that experience. He was originally an outside linebacker in the 3-4, and he played defensive end when the team switched to 4-3. Given that the Pats go back and forth between the two schemes, having someone who could switch seamlessly would be advantageous.

Johnson isn’t as tall (6-foot-3 6/8) as Crick or Jones, but he has better bulk than Jones at 267 pounds. He also has good speed, which could potentially help his draft stock if he runs well at the combine.

Brandon Boykin, CB, Georgia

Where he might go in the draft: Second round

The Patriots hope to see what a healthy Ras-I Dowling can do next season, but his history of injuries is significant enough that the Pats shouldn’t feel comfortable leaving the cornerback position unaddressed in the draft this year. Boykin isn’t the biggest guy in the world (5-foot-9 2/8, 183 pounds), but considering that McCourty, Kyle Arrington and Sterling Moore are 5-foot-10, height evidently is not a deal-breaker for New England. Despite his suboptimal size, Boykin should warrant selection early on Day 2 due to his athleticism.

Boykin can also contribute in the return game, and his contributions on offense both running and catching the ball earned him the 2011 Paul Hornung award for being the nation’s most versatile player. He figures to be a factor only at corner and as a return man in the NFL, but if there’s one thing Bill Belichick likes, it’s versatility.

George Iloka, S, Boise State

Where he might get drafted: Third round or later

Iloka is a giant in the secondary at 6-foot-3 5/8 and 222 pounds and is a good enough athlete to not be limited by his big frame. He isn’t nearly the complete safety prospect that Barron is, but he does have some experience playing cornerback. Given that Belichick is no stranger to moving guys around in his defensive backfield, that could be a good thing.

Read More: 2012 NFL Draft, alshon jeffery, brandon boykin, cam johnson
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