Mac Jones has experienced a meteoric rise over the past year-plus.
After being buried within Alabama’s quarterback depth chart over his first three seasons in Tuscaloosa, Jones made the most of his first and only season as a starter at the collegiate level. He posted eye-popping passing numbers, was named a Heisman Trophy finalist and led the Crimson Tide to an undefeated season that concluded with a convincing College Football Playoff National Championship Game win.
Jones’ 2021 draft stock, in turn, has skyrocketed. He’s even drawing comparisons to the greatest QB of all time as the draft nears.
Mel Kiper Jr. in his latest 2021 mock draft has Jones going eighth overall to the Carolina Panthers. Kiper in a previous mock draft had Jones landing with New England, as the draft analyst believes the 22-year-old’s skill set would appeal to the Patriots.
“I thought about having New England jump over Carolina and take him,” Kiper said Thursday on ESPN’s “First Take,” as transcribed by 247Sports. “Didn’t make that move but you’re right. The (Bill) Belichick/(Nick) Saban connection is real.Â Mac JonesÂ is what (Tom) Brady was. Now, he’s not going to be Brady, but he is that type of quarterback, style-wise. I think certainly what you’re saying makes sense.Â Mac JonesÂ to New England could be a strong possibility. But like I said, Carolina’s going to get a quarterback andÂ Matt RhuleÂ had him in Mobile (Alabama) that week.”
Kiper is not alone in being intrigued by the potential pairing between Jones and the Patriots. Former New England offensive coordinator Charlie Weis has urged Belichick and Co. to select Jones, who the Patriots would need to trade up to land if you ask former New York Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum.
It would be unlike the Patriots to make a power play up the boards on Day 1 of the draft. But given how poor the quarterback play was for New England last season, with Cam Newton at the helm, the franchise might be motivated to stray from the norm.