Re: Chandler Jones...McGinest 2.0?
posted at 4/26/2012 11:58 PM EDT
Ithaca — Chandler Jones' draft-day party was only two hours old when he got the call.
As family members erupted into cheers and two dozen media members watched, the New England Patriots made the former Syracuse University defensive end the 21st pick in the 2012 NFL Draft with a phone call at approximately 10:02 p.m. tonight.
Jones, 22, becomes the first first-round pick from the Orange since defensive end Dwight Freeney went to the Indianapolis Colts in 2002.
"I feel like I have a great opportunity," the All-Big East selection said after the Patriots made it official on ESPN at 10:10 p.m.
The defending AFC champions made a trade to move up six spots to get Jones. The Patriots sent the No. 27 pick and their third rounder, the 93rd overall pick, to the Cincinnati Bengals for the 21st overall pick.
The youngest of three brothers from Endicott had water poured on him by his brothers -- Art, a defensive tackle for the Baltimore Ravens and Jon, a champion light-heavyweight in the Ultimate Fighting Championship mixed martial arts.
Nearby, his father, Arthur Jr., and mother, Camille, beamed for television cameras.
"It's Christmas in April," Arthur Jr. said.
"My prayers are answered," said his mother, who worried that her baby would be selected by the Seattle Seahawks, a six-hour flight away.
"It's great," said Jon "Bones" Jones, 24, just five days removed from defending his UFC title in Atlanta.
Jon Jones hosted tonight's gathering at his new, 4,200-square-foot home in Ithaca.
"I'm just so happy for him," Art Jones said. "It feels like I got taken in the first round."
After declaring for the draft Dec. 30, opting to skip a redshirt-senior season with the Orange, Jones’ stock began a steady rise that was aided by a solid performance at the NFL Combine in February. It continued through visits to 14 teams in the two months leading up to Thursday night’s first round of the three-day NFL Draft in New York City.
“Ever since I declared for the draft it’s been all up for me,” he said. “I was happy being considered third-round material coming out.”
Jones, 22, originally was graded as a third-round pick by the NFL’s draft advisory committee. Soon, experts had moved him into the mid-second round, and eventually some mock drafts had him solidly in the first round.
Despite missing five games with a knee injury suffered in the 2011 opener against Wake Forest, Jones recorded 38 tackles (30 solo) and 4½ sacks in seven games. Jones also was credited with two forced fumbles and made an acrobatic interception in the season final at Pittsburgh which he returned 32 yards.
Jones came to SU in 2008 but didn’t play in any games. He started eight times in 2009, playing on the same line as his older brother. In 2010, he started all 13 games and recorded 57 tackles (38 solo) with four sacks and three forced fumbles. He was a second-team All-Big East selection in 2010.