2012 NFL Draft, Syracuse Prospects: Chandler Jones Has 'No Expectations'

Follow this SB Nation New York StoryStream for the latest 2012 NFL Draft News concerning draft prospects from Syracuse University.

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27 Total Updates since March 9, 2012
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Undrafted Free Agents 2012: Syracuse's Nick Provo Signs With Ravens, Michael Hay Inks With Rams

The 2012 NFL Draft has come and gone, and by the end of the three-day event and the undrafted free-agent signing period, the Syracuse Orange football program will have five players trying to make NFL roster come this Spring and Summer. That's because tight end Nick Provo and offensive linemen Michael Hay inked deals with prospective NFL teams on Sunday.


Jones Picked By Patriots In 1st Round / Tiller Drafted In 6th By Saints

Provo (6-foot-4, 249 pounds) didn't get drafted after many NFL Draft websites had him being a possible sixth- or seventh-round prospect, but did sign with the Baltimore Ravens. In the past, the Ravens have featured a few successful tight ends such as Todd Heap and Shannon Sharpe.

Last season, Provo set a school record for a tight end by hauling in 51 receptions, however, his draft stock was hampered by shoulder surgery which prevented him from working out during the NFL Combine.

Meanwhile, Hay (6-foot-5, 280 pounds), a two-year starter at Syracuse, signed with the St. Louis Rams.

-- For more on Syracuse Orange football NFL Draft prospects, check back to this StoryStream. For everything else Syracuse, visit the SB Nation blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician.

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Undrafted Free Agents 2012: Phillip Thomas Of Syracuse Signs With Philadelphia Eagles

Former Syracuse University safety Phillip Thomas has signed as an undrafted free agents with the Philadelphia Eagles.

Thomas played in 10 games for the Orange last season before being dismissed from the team due to off-the-field issues. That most likely is the main reason why Thomas was not selected during the 2012 NFL Draft.

Here is a scouting report from SI.com:

“Thomas displayed a variety of skill the past two seasons, but off-the-field incidents marred his college career. He’s rough around the edges yet has the underlying ability to succeed at the next level if he makes football a priority.”

Syracuse had two players selected during the draft. Defensive end Chandler Jones went to the New England Patriots in the first round (21st overall) and offensive guard Andrew Tiller was selected by the New Orleans Saints in the sixth round, 179th overall.

Syracuse players like running back Antwon Bailey and Nick Provo are still hoping to find teams. SB Nation New York will keep you updated.

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NFL Draft Results 2012: Andrew Tiller Selected By Saints In Sixth Round

The second Syracuse Orange fooball player was just selected by the New Orleans Saints in the sixth round of the 2012 NFL Draft. Andrew Tiller, the offensive guard from Syracuse, was the ninth pick in the sixth round – the 179th pick overall.

ESPN's Scout's Inc. graded Tiller as 'above average' in the following areas: height, weight and speed, run blocking, awareness and toughness. They think he has decent potential:

Has the potential to develop into a mauler but needs to improve upper body strength (benched 225 just 16 times at the combine) and learn to sink.

Tiller joins Chandler Jones, as the only other Syracuse prospect drafted in this year's draft. Jones went in the first round to the New England Patriots, 21st overall.

Phillip Thomas, the Syracuse safety, is also expected to be selected before Saturday's end.

-- For more on Syracuse Orange football NFL Draft prospects, check back to this StoryStream. For everything else Syracuse, visit the SB Nation blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician.

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Chandler Jones Press Conference: Former SU Defensive End Joins New England Patriots

During his introductory press conference on Friday as a member of the New England Patriots, former Syracuse defensive end Chandler Jones described the moment the Patriots made him the 21st pick of the 2012 NFL Draft this way:

“I didn’t know if I was going to laugh, didn’t know if I was going to cry, didn’t know if I was going to faint,” Jones said. But if you guys watched the pick on TV, I was smiling from ear-to-ear. You guys can tell, I’m really happy to be here, really."

Jones told the New England media that he has no idea what to expect from Bill Belichick and the Patriots.

“I have no expectations as far as what’s going to happen to me at this level. I was told about it – my brother plays for the Ravens – but I really don’t know until I get out there,” Jones said. “As far as me being a rookie, my job right now is to know my role. Take whatever I can from whoever.”

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NFL Draft Results 2012: Chandler Jones Selected No. 21 Overall By New England Patriots

It took three hours, 3 minutes and 20 other picks into 2012 NFL Draft Thursday, but Syracuse University has its 13th name to add to the list of former first-rounders as defensive end Chandler Jones is a New England Patriots. The Patriots selected Jones (6-foot-5, 265 pounds) with the No. 21-overall pick, after trading up its No. 27th pick and third-round pick with the Cincinnati Bengals.

The Patriots will now hope the former Orange can develop into player like, maybe, All-Pro pass-rusher Dwight Freeney, a former first-rounder and Syracuse grad.

“Based on my experience in the NFL," said Syracuse head coach Doug Marrone, "I see Chandler developing into a top tier defensive end. I hope he has the same success as (defensive end) Dwight Freeney and all of the Syracuse players in the National Football League.”


Related: The Curious Case Of Chandler Jones' Draft Stock

For weeks, rumors swirled about where Jones, a native of Binghmaton, NY, would go. Since declaring for the NFL Draft in December, Jones has flown up draft boards, which initial pegged him as a third- to fourth-rounder. Now, like it or not, Jones is another SU alum who's a face of a NFL franchise.

“Chandler is everything you want a player to be. And, as good as he is on the field, he is an even better person off the field," said Marrone. "He comes from a family that did a great job in raising him. He has terrific parents and two outstanding role models in his brothers, Arthur, who plays for the Baltimore Ravens and Jon, the UFC light heavyweight champion. Chandler is a prime example of what we mean when we talk about keeping New York state players in their home state to play at Syracuse.

Here's a list of former Syracuse University football players that were taken in the first round of the draft:

1973: Joe Ehrmann, DT, Baltimore Colts

1980: Art Monk, WR, Washington Redskins

1986: Tim Green, LB, Atlanta Falcons

1988: Ted Gregory, DT, Denver Broncos

1990: Rob Moore, WR, New York Jets

1996: Marvin Harrison, WR, Indianapolis Colts

1998: Donovin Darius, DB, Jacksonville Jaguars

1998: Tebucky Jones, DB, New England Patriots

1999: Donovan McNabb, QB, Philadelphia Eagles

2000: Keith Bulluck, LB, Tennessee Titans

2001: Will Allen, CB, New York Giants

2002: Dwight Freeney, DE, Indianapolis Colts


For more on the 2012 NFL Draft, visit SB Nation New York’s StoryStream. For a complete list of 2012 NFL Draft results as they happen, visit SBNation.com. For more on how Jones fits in with the Patriots, check outs Pats' Pulpit. Talk about Jones and Syracuse football fans over Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician. For even more comprehensive coverage of the NFL Draft, visit Mocking The Draft.

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2012 NFL Draft: Syracuse Football Prospects Waiting For Names To Be Called

Syracuse football fans are expecting to hear at least one player -- defensive end Chandler Jones -- having his name called during the first round of the NFL Draft on Thursday (8 p.m. ET on ESPN and NFL Network). Jones, the 6-foot-5, 265-pound pass rusher, is flying up NFL Big Boards and is slotted be selected anywhere from pick No. 10-32.

Though, Jones is now basically a shoo-in to earn a spot on a NFL roster, there are a few other Syracuse prospects -- defensive back Phillip Thomas, tight end Nick Provo and offensive linemen Andrew Tiller -- who will be doing a lot of hoping and praying over the next three days, as they wait for their names to be called.

So far, Thomas and Provo are the two best options for NFL teams.

Thomas (5-1, 160 pounds) is a play-making corner back/safety prospect, who collected six interceptions in his senior season for the Orange. However, his season was cut short due to a year-ending suspension that Thomas' has claimed full responsibility for.

Thomas also had some issues getting lost in coverage during his senior season, and, at time, showed a lot of laziness when it came to wrapping-and-tackling.

During the NFL Combine, Thomas' NFL Draft stock took a huge hit when his 40-yard dash time -- 4.72 seconds and 4.59 -- were way below average. The result pushed Thomas from being a late-round selection to an undrafted free agent. My guess is that Thomas doesn't get picked during the NFL's three-day event at Radio City Music Hall.


Sacks Interceptions Tackles
G Sacks YdsL Int Yds IntTD Solo Ast Total
2011 - Phillip Thomas 10 0 0 6 50 0 54 28

Meanwhile, Provo (6-4, 219), I believe, could be a future starter in the NFL. Provo played all four season for Syracuse and was a reliable target for quarterback Ryan Nassib for two of those.

This past season, Provo caught 51 passes for 537 yards and seven touchdowns. Those numbers were good enough to help break SU single-season records for receptions and help him earn a All-Big East First-Team honors.

Under head coach Doug Marrone, a former offensive coordinator for the New Orleans Saints, Provo has played under a pro-style offense and has flourished. The issue with Provo, however, is he's recovering from shoulder surgery, which he had in December, which kept him working out at the NFL Combine.

In an interview with Scout.com this week, Provo said his rehab is going well and he's not limited in activity. Currently, NFLDraftScout.com has Provo on the brink of being drafted or not.

Tiller (6-5, 334) had terrible workouts at the NFL Combien and didn't improve his stock at Syracuse's NFL Pro Day. The chances of Tiller getting picked are very slim.

-- For more on Syracuse Orange football NFL Draft prospects, check back to this StoryStream. Need more reaction to Jones' possible departure, visit the SB Nation blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician.

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NFL Draft 2012: The Curious Case Of Chandler Jones' Draft Stock

It was a little over six months ago when West Virginia football fans were personal witnesses to the possible greatness of NFL defensive end prospect Chandler Jones. In a 49-23 loss at the hands of the Syracuse Orange at a nearly-packed Carrier Dome, Jones returned to the field after missing the previous six games because of a lower-body injury to tally six solo tackles, including two critical sacks of WVU's junior quarterback Geno Smith, in dominating performance.


Related: Mocking The Draft On Jones' Rapid Rise

At the time, I remember sitting in the press box thinking, "Chalk that up as a solid showcase of talent that will look outstanding on NFL Draft scouting video." The performance was basically flawless, as Jones was able to, by himself, shutdown a late-first half, Mountaineers drive by sacking Smith on consecutive plays -- the second being more impressive than the first. And then, in the second half, Jones used all of his body length and strength to sniff out a first-down, screen pass to WVU freshman running back Dustin Garrison, who could have ran 20-plus yards but, instead, was tackled after just four.

The performance was so good, I wrote a post-game piece on it, somebody made a YouTube video of it and the rest of the Syracuse football season couldn't live up to it.

In the end, it could be argued, that performance is what has vaulted the 6-foot-5, 265-pound defensive end from a third-round projection to now a possible top-15 selection come Thursday's prime-time event in Times Square.

And while the rest of the NFL Draft world falls in love with Jones, who is brothers with Arthur, a defensive end for the Baltimore Ravens, and Jon, who's the youngest UFC title holder in history, the Syracuse football world is wondering: "How is our guy, who's supposed to be a pass-rushing defensive end, going in the first round when he tallied 10 sacks in 32 collegiate games and had a history of health problems playing for us?"

Now, don't get me wrong, nobody wearing Orange is rooting against Jones, but its hard for a fan base to grasp such a projection.

Really, what changed? Was he that impressive in workouts? Interviews? How much does his brothers' success/backing have to do with this? WHY WASN'T HE THIS GOOD FOR US?!?!?

It turns out, Syracuse fans were, again, part of a bad draw because NFL draft gurus and front-office brass see Jones on tape and see a guy with great football character that can turn his raw talent into something special.

"The No. 9 player on my board is Chandler Jones, a defensive end from Syracuse," said NFL Network's Draft expert Mike Mayock Monday on The Dan Patrick Show. "So, when teams tell me he's too high, well, I am going to keep him there, because I believe in him there, because I did the work, I watched the tape."

Since Jones' decision to go pro, which came back in December, SB Nation New York has been tracking his draft projections, here's how its played out.

Now, I've followed the NFL Draft for a while, but I don't follow it closely enough to remember a prospect rising as fast as Jones. What's even more interesting, Jones is doing so basically by himself, because the recent (non) clout of the Syracuse football program isn't helping his case. I guess, that's why Jones' rise is so intriguing.

At Syracuse, he was the best player in a "small pond" that hasn't produced a big NFL Draft fish since 2002, when defensive end Dwight Freeney was picked in the first round, No. 11 overall, by the Indianapolis Colts.

From the get-go, Freeney was a no-brainier as he has wreaked havoc on collegiate and professional offensive linemen for about 14 years now. The case with Jones, however, isn't the same. In fact, Jones' wreaking havoc-like play only stems from that West Virginia game about six months ago.

Of course, over the course of his three seasons at Syracuse, there were other glimpses of potential, but nothing to the extent of what Freeney did in his two seasons at Syracuse -- 17.5 sacks in '01-02 and a school-record 34 sacks overall -- and what Jones did on that day against the Mountaineers.

Yet, here we all are, six months later, and Jones is getting a draft grade near as good as Freeney, but nobody -- at least in the Syracuse area -- is going to buy into that type of hype. Again, nobody is doubting Jones' potential, because nobody was against him entering the NFL Draft, but in the same aspect nobody who is close to or covers the Syracuse football program (cough, cough -- me) is buying him as a first-round talent. At least, not yet.

But that's the beauty of the NFL Draft, and why football fans -- college or pro -- love it so much. Not only are NFL franchises planning their futures in front of everyone's eyes, but people are fulfilling childhood dreams by making a living (or millions of dollars) playing a game. And in the end, sometimes one's most important moments come during the most unexpected times.

For Jones, that time was Oct. 22 against WVU, when he came off a six-game layoff to dominate a (then) top-25 program. That was enough for NFL front-office brass and scouts to believe in him. Will they be right?

I am curious to find out.

-- For more on Syracuse Orange football NFL Draft prospects, check back to this StoryStream. Need more reaction to Jones' possible departure, visit the SB Nation blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician.

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2012 NFL Draft: Chandler Jones Cracks Top 10 On Final Mike Mayock Draft Board

Chandler Jones has been rising up draft boards throughout the buildup to the 2012 NFL Draft, which begins Thursday. But, this high? NFL Network draft guru Mike Mayock released his final Top 100 prospect rankings Tuesday morning, and incredibly he has the former Syracuse defensive end at No. 9.

Mayock also has Jones as the top-rated defensive end in his final position rankings. Jones has generally been considered a late-first to second-round pick by most draft analysts.


Related: Mohamed Sanu Of Rutgers Ranked No. 91

“I think league value is more in the 20s, but the more I look at this kid on tape, he’s 6-51/2, 266 pounds, he’s got almost 36-inch arms and my belief is his bets football is ahead of him,” Mayock said. “Where can he realistically go? I think somewhere between 19 and 32. The Bears are at 19, the Titans at 20, the Bengals are at 21. To me, difficult for him to get through those three teams.”

Meanwhile, ESPN.com's draft expert Todd McShay said Tuesday morning that Jones could be the first defensive end taken overall.

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2012 NFL Mock Draft: Chandler Jones Among Jets Options?

Todd McShay of ESPN has continued his series of mock drafts, with the latest revealing multiple scenarios for each team to consider come Thursday, April 26.

For the New York Jets, he flushed out five thoughts:

- McShay believes Melvin Ingram, a defensive end/outside linebacker from South Carolina, is the dream scenario for New York, but notes that he'll be long gone.

- Riley Reiff, an offensive tackle from Iowa, would also fill a need, but like Ingram will be off the board at 16.

- He points to the Jets need for a complimentary wide receiver to Santonio Holmes, but believes with Michael Floyd off of his board that no receiver merits a pick at this point.

- Trading back is an option, assuming Ingram, Reiff, and Floyd are not available.

- Should the Jets stick at 16, McShay believes Chandler Jones, a defensive end/outside linebacker from Syracuse, is an intriguing pick with some potential, but not an "ideal" selection for the Jets.

His outlook isn't exactly the brightest for a team that has had an underwhelming (if not compelling) offseason, so it's up to GM Mike Tannenbaum to make sure he nails each of his draft picks.

For more news and updates on the New York Jets be sure to visit Gang Green Nation and SB Nation New York. For more mock draft information, check out Mocking The Draft. Prospect profiles can also be found at the National Football Post, an SB Nation partner.

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Chandler Jones Draft Update: Todd McShay Mock Puts Jones In First Round To Patriots

With the 2012 NFL Draft less than a month away ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay continues to champion the draft case for Syracuse defensive end Chandler Jones. Most analysts seem to see Jones as a third- or fourth-round selection, but throughout the entire buildup to the April draft McShay has seen Jones as much more than that.

McShay continued to showcase that belief in Jones in his latest mock draft, a two-round version. McShay has the 6-foot-6, 266-pound Jones going to the New England Patriots in the first round, 27th overall.


Related: Complete SB Nation New York NFL Draft Coverage

McShay says:

“Jones is one of the most underrated prospects in the entire 2012 class and just the kind of versatile defender Bill Belichick likes. Jones is long and athletic and can play end in an odd or even front, maybe even some outside linebacker in 3-4 looks.”

In its most recent computer simulation, Draft Tek had Jones pegged as fourth-round pick, going to the Arizona Cardinals with the 111th overall selection.

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Chandler Jones 2012 NFL Draft Update: Draft Tek Has Jones Going In Fourth Round

Where Syracuse University defensive end Chandler Jones will be taken in the 2012 NFL Draft promises to be interesting. Mock drafts have placed him all over the board.

In its most recent draft simulation, Draft Tek has Jones going to the Arizona Cardinals in the fourth round, 111th overall. Interestingly, Draft Tek shows the Cardinals taking the 6-foot-5, 266-pound Jones as a 3-4 outside linebacker.

That would seem like a stretch for Jones, who played as a 4-3 defensive end at Syracuse. Jones reportedly drew some attention from the New York Giants at the SU Pro Day.

This version of Draft Tek’s mock has Syracuse safety Phillip Thomas going undrafted. In its last simulation Thomas went to the Tennessee Titans in the fifth round.

— See SB Nation New York’s NFL Draft Hub Page for complete news about the New York Giants and New York Jets as the draft approaches, as well as news about the draft hopefuls from both Syracuse and Rutgers.

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Chandler Jones 2012 NFL Draft Update: Draft Tek Mock Gives Him To Titans in Third Round

Opinions on how early former Syracuse defensive end Chandler Jones will be selected in the 2012 NFL Draft have varied wildly throughout the draft process. Some have pegged the 6-foot-6, 265-pound Jones as a late first-round pick. Others have him being selected in the third or fourth round.

In Draft Tek’s most recent 2012 NFL Draft Simulation, released Tuesday, Jones went to the Tennessee Titans in the third round, 83rd overall.

Jones received attention from the New York Giants during the recent Syracuse Pro Day. The Giants, of course, have a history of drafting and developing pass-rushing defensive ends, although right now they appear fairly well-stocked at the position.

Safety Phillip Thomas was the only other Syracuse player taken in the Draft Tek simulation. Thomas also went to Tennessee in Round 5, 147th overall.

— See SB Nation’s Big Blue View for complete discussion and analysis of the Giants leading up to the draft.

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2012 NFL Draft: Chandler Jones Has 'Exceptional' Pro Day; Giants Show Interest

The draft stock of Syracuse pass rusher Chandler Jones has been on the rise after a good performance at the NFL Combine, and he may have helped himself even more following his 'exceptional' Pro Day workout.

William Hicks, assistant athletics director for athletic performance, said Jones increased his vertical jump from the combine -- in which he hit 35 inches, tied for fourth among defensive lineman.

Hicks termed Jones' performance "exceptional."

In Todd McShay's latest mock draft, Jones went to the Patriots in the first round – one pick before the Super Bowl champion, New York Giants, who reportedly have shown increased interest in Jones.

Jones said a scout from the New York Giants showed more interest Thursday following up on his performance from the Combine and talked about the team's history in drafting pass-rushers from the Big East, referring to former South Florida standout Jason Pierre-Paul, who emerged as one of the league's leading sack totalers this season.

Jones, along with 13 other players worked out at Syracuse's Pro Day. Those players are as follows:

Antown Bailey, running back

Van Chew, receiver

Olando Fisher, safety

Dorian Graham, receiver, kick returns

Michael Hay, offensive tackle

Chandler Jones, defensive end

Tombe Kose, fullback

Nick Provo, tight end

Kevyn Scott, cornerback

Phillip Thomas, safety

Andrew Tiller, offensive guard

Jose Cruz, tight end

Rob Long, punter, kicker, holder

Aaron Weaver, receiver

-- For more on Syracuse Orange football NFL Draft prospects, check back to this StoryStream. Need more reaction to Jones' possible departure, visit the SB Nation blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician.

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2012 NFL Mock Draft: Draft Tek Gives SU's Chandler Jones To Buffalo In Round 3

In the first Draft Tek seven-round 2012 NFL Mock Draft released since the NFL Scouting Combine ended, former Syracuse University defensive end Chandler Jones was the first member of the Orange selected. Draft Tek’s simulation gave Jones to the Buffalo Bills in the third round, 74th overall.

Jones had a good, but not great, performance during the Combine. The third round is right about where SB Nation New York college football writer Jared Smith expects Jones to be taken in the real NFL Draft this April.

The Draft Tek mock has the Detroit Lions selecting former Orange free safety Phillip Thomas in the fourth round, 117th overall. Thomas led the Big East in interceptions with six and was third in the conference in tackles with 82, but missed the season’s final two games after being suspended for violating athletic department policy.

Two other former Syracuse players who are 2012 NFL Draft hopefuls, tight end Nick Provo and offensive lineman Andrew Tiller, were not selected in the Draft Tek mock.

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NFL Combine 2012 Invitations: Four Former Syracuse Players Invited

Four former Syracuse Orangemen have been invited to the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. The Combine will be held Feb. 22-28 as NFL teams get a first-hand look at prospects for the 2012 NFL Draft.

Defensive end Chandler Jones, tight end Nick Provo, free safety Phillip Thomas and Andrew Tiller (offensive guard) will be in Indianapolis trying to improve their draft stock.

Jones, unquestionably, will draw the most interest. The 6-foot-5, 265-pound Jones has seen his draft stock rise recently, and was placed in the first round by ESPN's Todd McShay in his most recent mock draft. Here is the National Football Post scouting report on Jones.

Provo is a 6-4, 249-pound tight end. The National Football Post's Wes Bunting does not appear optimistic about Provo's NFL chances.

Thomas led the Big East in interceptions with six and was third in the conference in tackles with 82, but missed the season's final two games after being suspended for violating athletic department policy. The suspension would have continued almost until the end of the 2012 season had he not declared for the draft.

Tiller is a 6-4, 330-pound lineman who scouting reports seem to indicate might be able to find his way onto an NFL practice squad as a developmental player.

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2012 NFL Mock Draft, Todd McShay 2.0: Chandler Jones Of Syracuse To New England In First Round

ESPN NFL Draft expert Todd McShay released the second version of his 2012 NFL Mock Draft Tuesday, and to a surprise to a lot of Syracuse football fans their own Chandler Jones, a 6-foot-5, 265-pound defense end, has vaulted into the first round. According to McShay, the New England Patriots, who have two first-round selections, will use their 27th-overall selection on Jones, who declared for the draft in late December and was originally given a third-round draft grade by the advisory committee.

Here's what McShay had to say:

"The Patriots have two first-round picks, and while coach Bill Belichick's track record indicates he'll trade one of them, we have to project both to the Patriots until we know otherwise. Jones is an under-the-radar pass-rusher with the frame (6-5, 247) Bill Belichick likes in his DE/OLB hybrids, and he's a gifted athlete who bends the edge naturally. He's the brother of Ravens DL Arthur Jones and MMA sensation Jon Jones."

In all respect to Jones, who's a very underrated pass rusher, this does come as a bit of a surprise. In no way am I saying that Jones doesn't have first-round talent, it's just I would have thought that with his recent history with injuries it would scare teams away from selecting him that early.

Last season, Jones played in just seven games as he battled a lower-body injury, however, No. 99 did tally 30 solo tackles, 7 1/2 tackles for a loss, 4 1/2 sacks and earned All-Big East First-Team honors. Also, Jones did start and play in all of his games during his sophomore and junior seasons.

When Jones was in the game and healthy, however, he was a force to be reckoned with -- note: his performance in a 49-23 victory, Oct. 21, over the West Virginia Mountaineers.

For more on Chandler Jones and the 2012 NFL Draft, check back to this StoryStream. For more on Syracuse Orange football visit the SB Nation blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician.

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2012 NFL Draft: Syracuse's Chandler Jones Climbing Big Boards

Former Syracuse football defensive end Chandler Jones is climbing the 2012 NFL Draft big boards, blogged ESPN.com's Andrea Adelson Wednesday. Since declaring for the NFL Draft, the Orange's 6-foot-5, 265-pound pass-rusher has caught the eye of ESPN's Scouts Inc. Steve Muench says Adelson:

"We watched Jones last year and felt he was bit of a 'tweener, but too slow to be a quality defensive end and not athletic enough to be an outside linebacker. However, he has added 15 to 20 pounds of good weight since then and now looks like a legitimate end prospect.

"The added bulk has not taken away his good initial quickness, but the most impressive thing we've seen on film is his flexibility."

In the eyes of Meunch, Jones could be a second-day selection (second or third round), which is a better grade than other scouts who almost a week ago projected him to be a third- or fourth-round draft pick.

-- For more on Syracuse Orange football NFL Draft prospects, check back to this StoryStream. Need more reaction to Jones' possible departure, visit the SB Nation blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician.

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2012 NFL Draft: Chandler Jones, Thomas Phillip, Dorian Graham Granted Eligibility

Three members of the Syracuse University football team are part of a record-setting group of 65 players who have been granted special eligibility into the 2012 NFL Draft.

The three are defensive end Chandler Jones, defensive back Thomas Phillip and wide receiver Dorian Graham. Each of the 65 players has met the league’s three-year eligibility rule and each has submitted a written application in which he renounced his remaining college football eligibility. The deadline for receiving applications was January 15.

Jones is the most highly-regarded of any Syracuse player eligible for the upcoming draft. He is considered a third or fourth-round pick at this point, and was listed in the recent top 100 prospects released by Draft Countdown.

Follow this StoryStream to see all of the twists and turns for the various Syracuse prospects as the draft approaches. Our 2012 NFL Draft Hub Page will keep tabs on mock drafts, features and all the other news you need to know about the New York Giants, New York Jets and the prospects from SU and Rutgers.

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2012 NFL Draft: Chandler Jones Of Syracuse Ranked In Top 100 Draft Countdown Prospects

Syracuse University defensive end Chandler Jones is ranked as the 98th-best overall prospect for the 2012 NFL in rankings released this week by Scott Wright of Draft Countdown. Wright is a highly-respect, veteran draft analyst.

Jones, 6-foot-5, 265 pounds, had 4.5 sacks while playing just seven games for the Orange in 2011.

Wes Bunting of the National Football Post had this to say about Jones:

I love his size and length. But I worry about defensive lineman who play upright, lack a great get off burst and struggle to change directions. I don’t see him as a big time pass rusher. But if he improves his pad level he could mature into a potential starting option.

The ranking of 98th (Bunting has Jones at No. 103) would put Jones into the third or fourth-round discussion when it comes to the draft this April.

Jones is the only Syracuse player to be ranked among the top 100 draft prospects.

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2012 NFL Draft: Shamarko Thomas Of Syracuse Will Return For 2012 Season

On the same day that senior defensive end Chandler Jones announced that he'd be forgoing his fourth year of eligibility at Syracuse University, Orange junior strong safety Shamarko Thomas said Friday via Twitter that he's returning for at least one more year.

"I've decided to put my NFL career on hold for another year and will remain at SU for another season to further develop myself as an athlete."

This season, Thomas (5-foot-10, 208-pounds) compiled 59 tackles, 40 solo, in 12 games. However, the junior is more known for his hard hitting and physical approach to the game than his overall play.

"If I had to guess," wrote Sean Keeley of the SB Nation Syracsue blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician, "I'd say that Shamarko probably didn't like what we heard from the NFL Draft projections out there. Another year is sure to do him good in that department. And given the departure of Jones, Phil Thomas and the seniors, it's going to do SU good as well."

Thomas return is a good thing for a Syracuse defense that finished at the bottom of the Big East Conference and will already need to replace Jones and play-making safety Phillip Thomas, who was suspended for one year near the end of the 2011 season.

-- For more on Syracuse Orange football NFL Draft prospects, check back to this StoryStream. Need more reaction to Jones' possible departure, visit the SB Nation blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician.

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2012 NFL Draft: Chandler Jones Of Syracuse Will Enter Draft

Syracuse football's senior defensive end Chandler Jones announced via Twitter Friday that he will skip his fourth year of eligibility and enter the 2012 NFL Draft. Jones (6-foot-5, 265-pounds) earned All-Big East First Team honors in his final season, which featured 30 solo tackles, 7 1/2 tackles for a loss and 4 1/2 sacks in just seven games. Jones missed five games during the season because of a lower body injury.

"I just want to thank all the Cuse fans, alum, teammates, & coaches for supporting me those three years," said Jones. "I'll always bleed orange & blue no matter what."

Earlier in the day, SI.com's Draft Analyst Tony Pauline tweeted that Jones had been given a third-round grade by the advisory committee. The Orange, who finished the season 5-7 overall, will now need to replace its best defensive player for the 2012 season.

"It goes without saying this is a crushing blow to the 2012 Syracuse defense," wrote Sean Keeley of the SB Nation Syracuse blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician. "Jones would have been the anchor and almost certainly a team captain. Now the Orange are left to replace two veteran defensive ends as well as two solid safeties. It's going to be a scary spring."

-- For more on Syracuse Orange football NFL Draft prospects, check back to this StoryStream. Need more reaction to Jones' possible departure, visit the SB Nation blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician.

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