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Patriots movin' on up in first round of NFL draft

By JIMMY GOLEN - AP Sports Writer
    2012-04-27 00:02

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) - The New England Patriots traded up twice in the first round of the NFL draft to add a couple of players to the defense that allowed the New York Giants to march down the field for the winning score in the Super Bowl.

The Patriots sent the No. 27 overall pick, which they'd obtained in a deal with New Orleans, and a third-rounder to Cincinnati for the 21st pick and used it to take Syracuse defensive end Chandler Jones. Then they traded the No. 31 pick to Denver with a fourth-rounder for the No. 25 pick they used to take Alabama linebacker Dont'a Hightower.

``As usual, the draft always takes some interesting twists and turns,'' coach Bill Belichick said Thursday night after the NFL wrapped up the first round of the draft. ``You just never know how it's going to go.''

The trades left New England with two second-round picks - 48th and 62nd overall - and nothing in the five rounds after that.

``As the players came off the board, we were able to execute a couple trades there and still hang onto our two second round picks,'' Belichick said. ``I thought if we moved up I wasn't sure that we would be able to do that, but it worked out that way.''

Despite winning the AFC title and reaching the Super Bowl for the fifth time in 11 years, the Patriots defense allowed the second-most yards overall and in pass defense last season. The problems were never more apparent than in the Super Bowl, when Eli Manning drove the New York Giants 88 yards for the game-winning touchdown.

Jones and Hightower could be a big help.

Hightower, who is 6-foot-4 and 260 pounds, played for Belichick buddy Nick Saban on Alabama teams that won the NCAA championship twice in the past three years. He was a leader of the unit that led the nation in rushing defense, allowing 72 yards per game, and total defense (183 yards per game).

Hightower, 22, was a finalist for the Bednarik, Butkus and Lombardi awards and a first-team All-America selection.

``Hightower has been in a great program for a great coach,'' Belichick said. ``They won a couple of national championships and (he) has been the signal caller, leader of that defense.''

Both he and Jones are considered versatile players who can fit into a variety of defensive systems.

``I'm going to get to the ball and I'm going to make plays,'' said Hightower, who had 40 tackles and 45 assists to go with four sacks as a senior last year. ``Regardless of whether it's a 4-3 or a 3-4 defense.''

The Patriots scouted both of them at the NFL combine. When they were in Indianapolis, Jones and Hightower met and fantasized about winding up on the same team - even though it was unlikely for the two potential first-round picks.

``It actually happened,'' said Jones, who is 6-foot-5 and 265 pounds. ``So I can't wait to see him tomorrow.''

Jones, 22, was an All-Big East selection as a senior who had 38 tackles, 30 of them solo, and led the team with 4.5 sacks. He was the conference's defensive player of the week after recording six solo tackles, including two sacks for a loss of 19 yards, against West Virginia on Oct. 21.

Jones' brother is Jon ``Bones'' Jones, a mixed martial arts fighter. Another brother, Arthur, is a defensive end for the Baltimore Ravens.

``Arthur has taught me a lot going through this whole draft process,'' Chandler Jones said. ``He was basically telling me that the way I carry myself off the field, I'm not just representing myself, I'm representing the organization. I feel like having a brother that's in the NFL is a great advantage.''

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Julius ThomasNov 27 07:52p

Denver Broncos TE Julius Thomas (ankle) was limited during practice Thursday, Nov. 27.

Anthony DavisNov 27 07:23p

The San Francisco 49ers have declared OT Anthony Davis, WR Bruce Ellington, DL Glenn Dorsey, QB Josh X. Johnson, WR Quinton Patton, CB Tramaine Brock, TE Vance McDonald inactive for Week 13.

Arian FosterNov 27 07:12p

Houston Texans RB Arian Foster (groin) was limited during practice Wednesday, Nov. 27.

Allen BradfordNov 27 07:12p

The Seattle Seahawks have declared LB Allen Bradford, TE Cooper Helfet, CB Jeremy Lane, LB Kevin Pierre-Louis, C Max Unger, TE Rashaun Allen, DL Travian Robertson inactive for Week 13.

Jordan CameronNov 27 06:32p

Cleveland Browns TE Jordan Cameron (concussion) was limited during practice Thursday, Nov. 27.

Latavius MurrayNov 27 04:52p

Oakland Raiders RB Latavius Murray (concussion) was limited during practice Thursday, Nov. 27.

Larry FitzgeraldNov 27 04:02p

Arizona Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald (knee) did not participate in practice Thursday, Nov. 27.

Tony HillsNov 27 03:22p

The Dallas Cowboys have declared LB Dekoda Watson, OG Donald Hawkins, QB Dustin Vaughan, FS Jeff Heath, DL Joshua Brent, OT Tony Hills, CB Tyler Patmon inactive for Week 13.

Taylor HartNov 27 03:12p

The Philadelphia Eagles have declared OT Dennis Kelly, DB Jaylen Watkins, WR Jeff Maehl, OG Julian Vandervelde, QB Nick Foles, CB Rashad Carmichael, DE Taylor Hart inactive for Week 13.

Jordan ReedNov 27 03:02p

Washington Redskins TE Jordan Reed (hamstring) was limited in practice Thursday, Nov. 27.

Dwayne AllenNov 27 02:32p

Indianapolis Colts TE Dwayne Allen (ankle) did not participate in practice Thursday, Nov. 27.

Kyle FullerNov 27 11:32a

Chicago Bears CB Kyle Fuller (knee) will play in the team's Week 13 game against the Detroit Lions. Fuller had been questionable during the week.

Lance BriggsNov 27 11:22a

The Chicago Bears have declared WR Chris X. Williams, LB Darryl Sharpton, OT Eben Britton, DL Jeremiah Ratliff, LB Lance Briggs, CB Terrance Mitchell, DL Trevor Scott inactive for Week Week 13.

Reggie BushNov 27 11:12a

The Detroit Lions have declared QB Kellen Moore, OG Larry Warford, DE Larry Webster, DL Nick Fairley, RB Reggie Bush, OT Riley Reiff, WR Ryan Broyles inactive for Week 13.

Reggie BushNov 27 11:12a

Detroit Lions RB Reggie Bush (ankle) is inactive Thursday, Nov. 27, for Week 13.

Reggie BushNov 27 10:12a

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R. Griffin IIINov 27 09:53a

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Jimmy StatenNov 26 09:43p

The Seattle Seahawks signed free-agent DT Jimmy Staten (Seahawks) to their practice squad Wednesday, Nov. 26. The team also released OT Andrew McDonald from their practice squad.

Marcus ThigpenNov 26 09:03p

The Buffalo Bills claimed WR Marcus Thigpen off waivers from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Wednesday, Nov. 26. The team also waived DE Bryan Johnson.

Richard GordonNov 26 09:03p

The Tennessee Titans waived TE Richard Gordon Wednesday, Nov. 26.

Larry FitzgeraldNov 26 08:33p

Arizona Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald (knee) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Nov. 26.

Dwayne AllenNov 26 07:33p

Indianapolis Colts TE Dwayne Allen (ankle) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Nov. 26.

C. PattersonNov 26 06:23p

Minnesota Vikings WR Cordarrelle Patterson (knee) did not practice Wednesday, Nov. 26.

Jerick McKinnonNov 26 06:13p

Minnesota Vikings RB Jerick McKinnon (back) did not practice Wednesday, Nov. 26.

Brandon LaFellNov 26 06:03p

New England Patriots WR Brandon LaFell (shoulder) was limited during practice Wednesday, Nov. 26.

Jace AmaroNov 26 05:13p

New York Jets TE Jace Amaro (head) is not expected to play in Week 13, because he is going through the concussion protocol.

Reggie BushNov 26 04:53p

Detroit Lions RB Reggie Bush (ankle, back) was limited in practice for the third straight day Wednesday, Nov. 26, and is questionable for Week 13 against the Chicago Bears.

Jordan CameronNov 26 04:43p

Cleveland Browns TE Jordan Cameron (concussion) remains day-to-day, but the team is looking for him to practice symptom-free this week, according to head coach Mike Pettine.

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Washington Redskins TE Jordan Reed (hamstring) was limited in practice Wednesday, Nov. 26, according to head coach Jay Gruden.

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