Ranking the Patriots Last 10 First-Round Picks, Worst to Best

Dec 21, 2019; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots outside linebacker Dont'a
Dec 21, 2019; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots outside linebacker Dont'a / Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports
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2. Chandler Jones

The first of New England's two first round picks in 2012, defensive end Chandler Jones was taken with the 21st overall pick after his collegiate career at Syracuse. He burst onto the scene with an impressive first season in 2012, earning an All-Rookie Team selection.

Jones spent four seasons with the Patriots as an effective pass rusher off of the edge. In 55 games in New England, Jones recorded 36 sacks and 211 tackles - including 38 tackles for loss. In his last season in Foxborough, he earned a Pro Bowl selection.

Entering the final year of his contract, Jones was traded to the Arizona Cardinals in March 2016 in exchange for guard Jonathan Cooper and a second round pick. Cooper never played in a game for the Patriots. Through a series of trades, New England eventually turned that second rounder into Joe Thuney and Malcolm Mitchell. Thuney would become one of the best guards in the game and Mitchell made some crucial catches in the Patriots' Super Bowl LI comeback, before his career was cut short after only two seasons due to knee injuries. Offloading Jones was a classic Bill Belichick decision to move on from a player once their payday was approaching.

Jones' best seasons were after he was traded to Arizona. He finished in the top three in the Defensive Player of the Year voting in both 2017 and 2019 and led the league in both sacks and tackles for loss in 2017. He was named to three more Pro Bowls and two All-Pro first teams, in addition to a distinguished place on the NFL 2010s All-Decade Team.

Obviously, Patriots fans probably wish that Jones spent more time in New England after the numbers that he posted in Arizona. But even with the Patriots, Jones was a Super Bowl champion, Pro Bowler and was named to the New England Patriots All-2010s team. It is hard not to put him high up on this list.