Patriots' Chris Jones played second most snaps among rookie DTs
The amount of injuries the Patriots have suffered this year has been taxing on the replacement players. They've been relied upon way too much than they ever would've thought at the beginning of the season. Some players are still viewed merely as a stopgap, while other players have thrived in their new positions and have most likely earned contracts later on, either with New England or somewhere else. A prime example of a player who made the most out of his situation was Chris Jones, when this stat was brought to the public's attention:
Patriots DT Chris Jones played 780 snaps, had 67.24% p/t in 2013. Only Sheldon Richardson (882, 80%) had more among DTs drafted in 2013
— Brian McIntyre (@brian_mcintyre) January 16, 2014
In the absence of Vince Wilfork and Tommy Kelly, Jones has filled in admirably. There is no shame to be in second place, especially to Sheldon Richardson who already seems to be a bonafide stud in his first year. According to Spotrac, Kelly is on the books for one more year until he hits free agency. Kelly certainly isn't getting younger, and it wouldn't be out of the realm of possibility to think him and Kelly would split time evenly along side Wilfork, and then when Kelly's time is up Jones will step up into the full time role.
To take a mantra from Kevin Millar and the 2004 Boston Red Sox, the Patriots have had to "cowboy up" this season and step into roles they might not have been comfortable with. Chris Jones snatched the opportunity up and never looked back. And now that he might've played himself into a new contract somewhere down the line, both he and the Patriots alike are reaping the benefits.