The New England Patriots announced Wednesday that they have signed first-round pick Chandler Jones to a rookie contract. The deal should be for four years with a team option for a fifth.
Before the draft, NFL Network’s Mike Lombardi and Mike Mayock both predicted that Jones will develop into the best defender in the entire 2012 class. The Pats were similarly high on Jones, seeing as they traded up to land him, surrendering the 27th and 93rd overall picks in a first-day deal with the Bengals.
Jones is 6-foot-5 and 266 pounds with incredibly long arms (35 1/2 inches). Considered a relentless pass rusher with a high ceiling, Jones projects as New England’s starting right defensive end as a rookie. Jonathan Fanene figures to be the base left end, with Vince Wilfork and Kyle Love clogging the middle.
As ESPN Boston’s Field Yates notes, the Patriots have two draft picks left to sign: first-round linebacker Dont’a Hightower and third-round defensive end Jake Bequette.