2012 Draft Revisited
posted at 3/6/2013 10:51 AM EST
#21 Chandler Jones: Starter that displayed decent pass rush moves, recorded 6 sacks and a number of QB pressures. Not to mention that he drew a number of holding calls (and frankly holding non-calls). Jones was definitely affected and slowed by injury. Moving forward I expect Chandler to stay healthy and be the Pats best pass rusher. It was mentioned that he has a good frame and room to grow. This will happen and Jones will get stronger at the point of attack. If you put him next to Wilfork both players become match-up nightmares.
#25 Dont'a Hightower: On a team with some good LBs (Spikes and Mayo) Hightower led the team in TFLs (tackles for loss) Looked lost at times, but like some rookies he gained more confidence as the season wore on and was somtimes used succesfully in blitz packages. Also was starter and on the field for well over 60% of the D snaps. Helped the run D improve (8th overall in the league).
#48 Tavon Wilson: Most of us fans had no clue who this guy was and viewed this pick as a reach or potential bust pick. Still, he contributed with 4 INTs, but got less playing time when a vet (Steve Gregory) to a spot and McCourty was moved to starting FS. Contributed probably more than most fans expected and was not a huge 2nd round bust.
#90 Jake Bequette: Generally perceived as a rush DE/OLB. Still learning and was buried on the depth chart. Has to improve if he wants to see some snaps.
#197 Nate Ebner: Some expected him to contend for the SS job on D. As I often state, it as just important to get rotational players and roster depth contributors. Ebner contributed by being tied with Slater for special teams lead in tackles. Again, not a starter, but depth if necessary, and made solid contributions on ST. Pretty much what I expect from a 6th round pick not named Brady.
#224 Alfonzo Dennard: We all know the story; his draft stock fell precipitously after off-field altercation. Arguably the Pats best starting CB prior to acquisition of Talib. Assumed starting CB role by mid-season and is currently the best non-free agent DB on the Pats roster. Could easily be considered a steal in the 7th round who will continue to improve.
#235 Jeremy Ebert: Some hoped he would be Edelman or Welker-lite when a more likely scenario would be (and was) that he would be way down on the WR depth chart (see Branch, Stallworth etc...). Spent time on the practice squad.
Overall: A very good draft the yielded three starters (Jones, Hightower, Dennard) and two solid contributors (Wilson and Ebner). It's unrealistic to think that every draft a team will yeild five starters (unless their team is terrible). This was a very good draft with three quality rookie starters; if these starters continue to improve the Pats D will be markedly better and this draft could do for the D what the Gronk/Hernandez draft did for the Pats offense.