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Sports

April 30, 2012

Hector Longo: Draft unmasks Belichick's tell

FOXBORO - Bill Belichick gave it away this weekend. The Pats' boss told us all, through this weekend's NFL Draft, that he is here for the short term, most likely three to four seasons, and he — and most likely Tom Brady, too — is out.

How else do you explain the desperation in the Patriots draft this weekend?

For the first time, basically in his Pats tenure, Belichick went aggressively into the first round and culled a pair of potential impact defenders — not for five years down the road but for the here and now.

In Syracuse product Chandler "The Manhandler" Jones, Belichick gambled on a game-changing Willie McGinest-type edge guy.

Scouts talked about Jones being young and able to grow into his 6-foot-5 frame.

"He's a pretty well put together kid. I don't think he's going to be 295 if that's what you're asking," said Belichick on Friday night of Jones, who weighed in at 266 at the NFL Combine. "I wouldn't say that, but could he gain five or 10 pounds? I don't know. We'll see. Put him in the program and work with him. He trains pretty well. He's a pretty well-conditioned athlete."

Forget the 22-year-old being described as a project. He has 12 games to acclimate himself to the NFL game. When this December rolls around the Pats do not consider him a rookie. They consider him a havoc-wreaker.

Speaking of havoc, isn't that the top expectation from Dont'a Hightower, whom the Pats nabbed at the No. 25?

Hightower's top trait at Alabama, where he played every down basically in any spot in the front seven, was that he played the game downhill.

Forget any back-pedal drills with this guy.

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