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Patriots Notebook

Coach thinks they fit the bill

Belichick talks about draft picks

Patriots first-round draftees Chandler Jones (left) and Dont’a Hightower have a lot to offer. Patriots first-round draftees Chandler Jones (left) and Dont’a Hightower have a lot to offer. (Charles Krupa/Associated Press)
By Shalise Manza Young
Globe Staff / May 1, 2012
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Bill Belichick had positive things to say about his first-round draft picks during a Monday afternoon radio appearance.

Visiting with SiriusXM NFL radio, Belichick said Chandler Jones, the team’s first pick at 21st overall, is at his best on the outside of the defense and added Jones could get time at both defensive end and outside linebacker.

“He’s a perimeter player, a guy that lines up on the end of the line, whether you want to call him a linebacker or defensive end, but he’s an end-of-the-line player,’’ Belichick said. “He’s got great length - height, arm length - very athletic. He came out early, missed part of the season last year with an injury, but the opportunity he’s had to play he’s been very productive against a lot of good players in his conference, so we thought that he’d be able to work against NFL-type tackles.

“We played both odd and even front last year, I think we’ll continue to be multiple that way, but he’s more of an end-of-the-line player.’’

Belichick was highly complimentary of Alabama linebacker Dont’a Hightower, who was taken at No. 25.

“Dont’a is a very versatile player; he was used in a number of roles in Coach [Nick] Saban’s defense - he played at the end of the line, both down and up and of course he played that middle linebacker position for them in a variety of their fronts, whether it be their regular base defense or also nickel and dime defenses.

“Real smart guy; similar to [Jerod] Mayo in terms of leadership and command, being able to run the defense type of thing, but he’s big - he’s over 260, somewhere in that range, a big, strong guy that can do some different things or at least did for Alabama. We’ll see where he fits in here, but I think he’s got some versatility that is different but similar to Mike Vrabel in some respects: playing outside, playing inside, playing down, playing up, that type of thing, where he might have different roles based on what unit we happen to have out there.’’

Asked about defensive back Tavon Wilson, taken in the second round, Belichick highlighted the Illinois product’s ability to play corner and safety, and in nickel and dime packages as well as in the kicking game - essentially he can play all four downs.

As for third-rounder Jake Bequette, Belichick said he also might be able to play defensive end and linebacker, and added that Bequette’s repertoire of pass-rush moves are “better than some guys coming out of college, let’s put it that way.’’

More signings

Though there has been no official announcement on undrafted rookies from the Patriots, on Monday the University of Kentucky football program tweeted that receiver/quarterback Matt Roark had been picked up by New England; later in the day, a familiar name - former Patriots tight ends coach Brian Ferentz, now Iowa’s offensive line coach - congratulated lineman Markus Zusevics via Twitter for signing with the Patriots.

Iowa tight end Brad Herman and Miami defensive lineman Marcus Forston, who left school a year early, also signed with the Patriots, according to multiple reports.

The Patriots were quick to sign guard Jeremiah Warren, who played at South Florida. Warren is the early favorite to become this year’s undrafted rookie who makes the roster; New England has had at least one make it for several years.

Warren re-signs

The Patriots have agreed to terms with veteran defensive lineman Gerard Warren, according to a league source. Warren, 33, has been with New England the last two years. He played in 12 regular-season games last season.

Greg A. Bedard of the Globe Staff contributed to this report. Shalise Manza Young can be reached at syoung@globe.com.

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