3. 2012 NFL Draft Round 1, Pick 21: Chandler Jones, EDGE
Just a few picks before the New England Patriots took Hightower in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft, they added edge defender Chandler Jones. Jones had an impressive first four years with the Patriots, piling up 36 sacks and 64 quarterback hits. He showed tremendous natural ability as an edge rusher those first four years and should have had a long career in New England.
However, the Patriots did not want to risk losing Jones in free agency so they traded him to the Arizona Cardinals prior to the 2016 season. Jones has gone on to become one of the best edge rushers in the entire NFL in Arizona piling up 60 sacks over the last four seasons.
Jones led the NFL in sacks with 17 in 2017 and was only half of a sack behind the NFL leader last season with 19. Jones’s 60 sacks lead all NFL players since the 2016 season. Simply put, this guy has been absolutely incredible and has reached any possible ceiling that we could have expected out of Jones when the Pats drafted him back in 2012.
Unfortunately, New England was not able to reap the benefits of Jones’ success, but it does not change how successful this pick was.