NFL

Pats DE Jones hopes to help new group of rookies

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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP)

Chandler Jones can't believe how quickly his first NFL season went with the New England Patriots.

Now last year's first-round draft pick from Syracuse wants to help the new group of rookies who open minicamp Friday.

''It happened very fast,'' Jones said Thursday. ''I posted it on my Twitter about my anniversary of being here on April 26. It's crazy.''

The defensive end met briefly with outside linebacker Jamie Collins, the Patriots' top pick this year who posed at midfield with a No. 1 jersey alongside owner Robert Kraft and his son, Jonathan, the team president.

''I feel like it's fresh in my mind because it just happened,'' Jones said. ''So, every question that he has or whatever difficulty that I had, I'm definitely going to share that to him.''

After trading their first-round pick to Minnesota, the Patriots selected Collins from Southern Mississippi with the 52nd choice last week. New England also picked Marshall wide receiver Aaron Dobson (59th overall), Rutgers cornerback Logan Ryan (83rd), Rutgers safety Duron Harmon (91st), TCU wide receiver Josh Boyce (102nd), Illinois defensive end-linebacker Michael Buchanan (226th) and Rutgers linebacker Steve Beauharnais (235th).

''Being a rookie, especially being a first-round draft pick, you come in there and you don't want to make any mistakes. You're nervous about going into every single drill,'' Jones said. ''Now, my second year in the NFL, I kind of try to lead, be the first one at every drill and just try to be a leader.''

Running back Stevan Ridley was a rookie in 2011 after the Patriots chose him in the third round. He emerged as the team's top back last season when he rushed for 1,263 yards.

''Two years have gone by pretty fast for me. I can only imagine how excited they are,'' he said. ''For the rookies that are coming in, they've got to come in and they've got to work. Like we say here, it's all done through hard work and dedication.

''I just advise them to go out there and be the players that they are and don't make it any harder than it is. Just do what you do best and what they brought you here to do.''

For the third time in four years, New England spent two early picks on players at the same position. They selected tight ends Rob Gronkowski (42nd) and Aaron Hernandez (113th) in 2010, running backs Shane Vereen (56th) and Ridley (73rd) in 2011 and Dobson and Boyce this year.

Robert Kraft is hoping to see similar successful results.

''We had no picks in the first round, but in the first 102 picks in the draft, we had five, which is more than any other team,'' he said. ''We felt that this was a deep draft in the second and third rounds, so we're excited about that.''

Tagged: Patriots, Rob Gronkowski, Chandler Jones

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