After weeks of extreme Mac Jones hype, which included him being the betting favorite to be drafted No. 3 overall by the San Francisco 49ers entering Thursday, the Alabama quarterback ended up being drafted closer to where pundits expected a few months ago.
The New England Patriots selected Mac Jones with the No. 15 overall pick of the 2021 NFL Draft.
— New England Patriots (@Patriots) April 30, 2021
Mac Jones becomes the 11th player Bill Belichick has drafted that played under Nick Saban in college, extending the record for the most players taken by a pro-college coach combo in the Common Draft era.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 30, 2021
This was a rumored match for weeks, with the Patriots expected to be looking to draft a quarterback, and with Jones having some similarities with his skillset, smarts, etc as a pocket quarterback to Tom Brad (or more realistically, a Jimmy Garoppolo). But the expectation was that the Patriots would have to trade up to get their guy. And with Jones, that couldn’t have even been the case if the 49ers took Jones instead of Lance at No. 3. But four quarterbacks went ahead of Jones (Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, Lance, and Justin Fields), and the Alabama product slid to the Patriots’ pick at No. 15.
Jones says that the Patriots were the team he wanted to end up with all along.
"This is what I wanted all along." – Mac Jones on joining the #Patriots. "I can't wait to play for the greatest franchise in NFL history."
— Michael Giardi (@MikeGiardi) April 30, 2021
There are plenty of skeptics about Jones’ chances to succeed as an NFL quarterback, particularly with physical traits that aren’t exactly eye-popping. But he’s viewed as a highly intelligent quarterback that processes the field well, is accurate, and can make up for some of his physical deficiencies with smarts.
Additionally, Jones should be able to start rather quickly, and he may be an immediate upgrade over Cam Newton for Bill Belichick and the Patriots.
Jones seemed like a huge reach in the top-three, but he’s very nice value for the Patriots at No. 15, especially since they didn’t have to give up any draft capital to make it happen. If Jones turns into one of the better quarterbacks from this class and turns the Patriots into a contender again soon, it will be the latest incredible chapter of the Belichick era in New England.