Mac Jones will start for the New England Patriots when the NFL 2021 season kicks off in a few days. He is the first rookie to start as quarterback for the Patriots since Jacoby Brissett.
A first-round pick in the 2021 draft, Jones fell all the way to 15th, right into the lap of Bill Belichick and the Patriots. They needed a new franchise quarterback after Tom Brady left for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Jones beat out veteran quarterback Cam Newton in training camp, with the latter getting released from the franchise. It was kind of a surprise to see the former Alabama player falling until the middle of the first day. That's because rumors put him on the San Francisco 49ers with the third overall pick, and then there were rumors about a trade-up for him in the top ten.
But the Patriots were happy to see Jones fall until the 15th pick in the draft before pulling the trigger on him.
Now, a recently-retired quarterback, who is likely to be included in the Hall of Fame, offered Jones high praise before the latter starts his NFL career against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday.
Drew Brees thinks Mac Jones is the steal of the draft
Brees retired after the 2020 season, but he's not away from the game. When asked about his favorite picks in the draft, he made it clear who he thought was the steal of the draft:
“So as I was watching the draft, the minute the Patriots took Mac Jones at 15th, I said, that’s the steal of the draft,” Brees told reporters. “It’s probably the guy who is most ready to play NFL quarterback right now, of all the guys who were taken before. His level of execution last year at Alabama, and I know we can sit here and argue he’s got the best players on the field on his side, on both sides of the ball. But in watching the National Championship Game, that’s where it became very evident to me.
"This guy’s level of execution, his understanding of offensive football, his timing, his rhythm, his ability not only to make the routine throws but to make throws that you’re going to need to make at the next level in order to win games and take care of the football the way he did, I felt like he was the most NFL-ready. …
“For all those reasons I think Mac Jones is going to have the most success of any rookie quarterback, not just this year but probably for the next few years.”
Jones, in fact, was the leader of a fabulous offense at Alabama in 2020. There were a lot of good players alongside him as well. But Brees noted Jones' commanding of the offense and understanding of the game.
Those factors played a big part in Belichick going for Jones. Nick Saban, the legendary Alabama coach, is a former defensive coordinator in the Belichick coaching staff back with the Cleveland Browns in the 90s.
Both Bill and Nick are known for their demanding coaching style, and Jones' success with Saban certainly made a good impression with the latter's friend Belichick.
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