Reaction on Pats around country

April, 27, 2012
4/27/12
12:00
PM ET
Gathering up some reaction on the Patriots' draft from around the country:

1. Pass-rushing boost lauded. SI.com's Peter King liked the Patriots' approach, writing: "I think the Patriots, moving up twice and making both picks in the round (shock!), did what I thought they should have done last year -- take pass-rushing difference-makers in Chandler Jones and Dont'a Hightower. I've said for the past year I thought New England should have taken either Jabaal Sheard or Brooks Reed last year. Bill Belichick made up for it Thursday night."

2. Early grades are in. Pete Prisco of CBSSports.com gives out early grades and Chandler Jones gets an A-plus, while Dont'a Hightower only a C.

3. Big night for Patriots. Clark Judge of CBSSports.com likes what the Patriots did in terms of focusing on defense. "Big, big evening for New England and Bill Belichick. The Patriots couldn't stop the Giants on their last drives in Super Bowl XLII and XLVI, so they resolved to do something about it, and they did with the additions of defensive end Chandler Jones and linebacker Dont'a Hightower. Jones would've been a higher pick had he not missed the last five games with a knee injury, and he's a perfect fit for a team that lost its top two pass rushers, Andre Carter and Mark Anderson."

4. Czar likes it too. John Czarnecki of Foxsports.com likes the two trade-ups. "If Hightower and Jones, the earlier pick, are as good as advertised, the Patriots had a very good opening night," he writes.

5. Count Patriots among winners. Chad Reuter of NFL Network puts the Patriots in his "winners" category. "Both can stay on the field no matter what formation the coaching staff calls up, harassing the quarterback and also playing the run very well," he writes, before noting that the second round could include a trade down. NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock also calls the Patriots a winner (link here).

6. Shift in strategy for Patriots. Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! Sports highlights how the Patriots ran a reverse from the way they normally work the draft.

7. Patriots wheeling and dealing. The Associated Press keeps it straight-forward, focusing on the team's trades and how addressing the defense was the priority.

Mike Reiss

ESPN New England Patriots reporter
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