Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 4/27/12

Bill Belichick has frustrated New England fans in recent years by trading down and out of the first round with regularity. But that all changed Thursday night as Belichick made deals with both of his first-round selections -- scheduled to be at 27 and 31 overall -- moved up twice and selected Syracuse defensive end Chandler Jones and Alabama linebacker Dont'a Hightower.

"I thought we had a good day today," Belichick told reporters immediately following the conclusion of the first round. "As usual, the draft always takes some interesting twists and turns. You just never know how it's going to go."

The first move saw the Patriots send the 27th and 93rd picks in this year's draft to the Bengals for the No. 21 selection that it would use to take Jones. Jones is an athletic end with the ability to play in both the 4-3, as he did as an end for the Orange, as well as the 3-4. He has the length that Belichick covets on the edge of his defensive front -- Jones is 6-5, 266 pounds and has 35.5-inch arms.

Though Jones only had 10 sacks in his Syracuse career before leaving after his junior season -- having missed five games last fall with a knee injury -- many believe he has the potential to develop into one of the best defensive players from the 2012 draft class.

He comes from an extremely athletic family. His brothers are current UFC champion Jon "Bones" Jones and Ravens defensive tackle Arthur Jones.

"Chandler's a little younger, has a little less experience, but a very talented player," Belichick said of the first of his two picks. "Smart guy, works hard, did a good job against some quality players."

After taking Jones, New England sent the 31st selection and the 126th pick to the Broncos to move up to 25 to take Hightower.

Hightower is a versatile linebacker who can play all the spots at linebacker in both a 4-3 and 3-4, and also served as a rush end in nickel situations at Alabama. His versatility is clearly his most impressive trait.

"Hightower's been in a great program for a great coach (Nick Saban), won a couple of national championships, been the signal-caller for that defense," Belichick said. "He played middle linebacker, inside linebacker off the line for Alabama in their base defense and nickel, but he also played defensive end in their nickel, opposite (Courtney) Upshaw. He rarely came off the field, defensively.

"Both players have some versatility we can work with."

Jones will be the one with the biggest job to do. As a rare pass rusher that Belichick not only took in the first round, but traded up to acquire, Jones will be expected to contribute to the edge of the defense for a unit that ranked 31st in the NFL a year ago.

Jones likely added to those expectations when he was asked which NFL players he modeled his game after. His response?

"Julius Peppers and Aldon Smith," Jones told reporters.

If the Patriots get production from Jones similar to anything either of those two players have done in their time in the NFL, Thursday's first round of the draft will go down as much more than a "good day" for New England.

MORE FROM YARDBARKER:
The Worst: NFL Week 2
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Arnold Palmer, one of golf’s greatest ever players, dies at age 87

Report: Russell Wilson believed to have a sprained MCL

WATCH: Travis Kelce shows off nifty dance moves after TD

Report: Miles fired by LSU; Orgeron named interim coach

WATCH: Allen Robinson does 'hands up, don't shoot' after TD

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Jay Gruden sounds off about anonymous locker room leaks

Report: Beckham Jr. one bad penalty away from suspension

Report: Vikings want Peterson to retire in Minnesota

Jose Fernandez killed in boating accident

Michigan is now all-time winningest program in college football history

Wisconsin Badgers serve notice to Michigan State, rest of Big Ten

Ten biggest winners and losers from NFL Week 3

WATCH: What are the best WR-CB rivalries of all-time?

Bill Belichick may be forced to get hilariously creative to fill his quarterback slot

CFB Crash Course: Week 4 - No ranking is safe

Where does Landon Donovan's return rank among these notable athletes?

Five sports stadiums that should be renamed

WNBA playoffs head into second round after single eliminations

A 25-year award tour: Celebrating A Tribe Called Quest

YB Box Score: 9/23 - Win totals and the jobbing renaissance

WATCH: Is Anthony Davis the best Kentucky big man in the NBA?

NFL Kickoff: Week 3 - Pity the perpetually rebuilding Browns

Questions from reviewing the Vegas 2016-17 NBA win totals

All Sports News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Where does Landon Donovan's return rank?

WATCH: What are the best WR-CB rivalries of all-time?

Bill Belichick may be forced to get hilariously creative to fill his quarterback slot

Five sports stadiums that should be renamed

WNBA playoffs head into second round after single eliminations

CFB Crash Course: Week 4 - No ranking is safe

A 25-year award tour: Celebrating A Tribe Called Quest

WATCH: Is Anthony Davis the best Kentucky big man in the NBA?

A statistical trip thru Vin Scully’s extraordinary career

Questions from reviewing the Vegas 2016-17 NBA win totals

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker