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Rookie Watch: Do-it-all DE

Versatile Jones excelling for Patriots -- against the run and pass

Originally Published: October 3, 2012
By Matt Williamson | ESPN.com
Comparing anyone to the Giants' Jason Pierre-Paul just isn't fair. And Patriots DE Chandler Jones is not quite in that class in terms of physical gifts -- few are.

But Jones is close because of his incredibly long frame and arms, smooth movement skills and the natural strength to anchor or bull rush against bigger men. He has been extremely impressive thus far as a pass-rusher and against the run -- and he has yet to develop a wide array of pass-rush moves.

Also, Jones has to have endeared himself to Patriots coach Bill Belichick because of his versatility. He is best as a traditional 4-3 defensive end, but Jones also can stand up and bump outside in a wider technique or hunker down inside in more of a 3-4 defensive end role.

A big problem for Jones, and for New England, is that Jones is really the team's only threatening pass-rusher. Opposing teams now know he is the one to stop when they decide to pass, which is going to be a lot for any rookie to overcome. The Bills, namely fellow rookie Cordy Glenn, did a nice job against Jones in Week 4. But that is also a bit misleading, as Buffalo surrenders few sacks because its offense dictates getting the ball out very quickly.

We are now at the quarter mark of the season, so the truly top rookies are starting to take better shape -- including the quarterbacks, who once again populate the following list.

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