Former Syracuse defensive end Chandler Jones was selected with the 21st pick in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft by the New England Patriots on Thursday night. The Patriots traded their first and third round pick to the Cincinnati Bengals to move six spots up for Jones.
Jones will have an opportunity to play right away with Mark Anderson signing with the Buffalo Bills and Andre Carter still unsigned after leg surgery. Anderson and Carter combined for 20 sacks last season.
“Chandler is everything you want a player to be,” said Syracuse head coach Doug Marrone in a release. “Based on my experience in the NFL, I see Chandler developing into a top tier defensive end.”
It is the first time a Syracuse player was selected in the first round since Dwight Freeney was selected by the Indianapolis Colts with the 11th overall pick in 2002.
Jones was originally projected to be drafted in the third round, but after an impressive Pro Day and combine, his stock rose to the first round.
Jones was named to the All Big East First Team this season after amassing 38 tackles (30 solo) and 4.5 sacks. Jones missed five games due to a lower body injury, but returned against West Virginia and led the Orange to a 49-23 win over West Virginia with six solo tackles and two sacks for a loss of 19 yards.
He is ninth on SU record book for career tackles by a down lineman (147) and career tackles for a loss (27.0).
Jones is the brother of Baltimore Ravens defensive tackle Arthur Jones and UFC fighter Jon “Bones” Jones.