Alabama quarterback Mac Jones was not expected to be available when the New England Patriots were picking 15th overall in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Jones was widely rumored to be heading to the 49ers with the No. 3 overall pick, but San Francisco threw a curveball and selected North Dakota State quarterback Trey Lance instead.
Jones took a tumble down to the Patriots’ No. 15 overall pick, and that worked out ideally for New England and the top quarterback prospect. The Patriots got their franchise quarterback of the future and didn’t have to trade up to select him, and Jones sees a perfect fit with his new team.
Jones was asked how he felt about getting passed by the 49ers and getting drafted later than expected.
“At the end of the day, you just kind of want to get the right fit,” Jones said Thursday in his introductory video conference call with New England media. “I feel like secretly, I really wanted to go to the Patriots all along. So, I’m actually really happy that happened. It doesn’t really matter where you get picked. You have to take the opportunity and take advantage of it and learn the new system, learn the new coaches, learn the new culture, and Coach (Bill) Belichick has done a great job of establishing that throughout his time in New England. I have to learn how to be a great teammate and do my job and stick to what they’re telling me to do.”
Jones’ 2020 Alabama squad went 12-0 and won the national championship. The QB comes to the Patriots with some familiarity, as well. Jones says he’s “pretty much best friends” with Patriots — and former Alabama — running back Damien Harris.
But why was Jones “secretly” hoping to get drafted by the Patriots?
“Honestly, New England’s just a great place,” Jones said. “In watching them in past years, they do everything right. It’s all about the team. And that’s kind of what I grew up knowing is being a good teammate. And then obviously winning, it comes down to winning football games and New England’s done that. But they don’t look in the past, they just look at the future, so we’ve got to just focus on trying to win games and take it day by day and eventually you’ll win a lot of games. So, I’m just looking forward to getting in there and meeting my new teammates and seeing what happens from there.”
Jones has only been to Boston once, when he was about 10 years old. He traveled up from Florida to board a cruise and had a memorable mishap on an escalator. He was wearing Crocs, and his foot got stuck in an escalator. The QB said he nearly lost his foot.
Hopefully his next trip to Boston is even more memorable but a little less mentally scarring.