The New England Patriots landed who they hope will be their franchise quarterback of the future Thursday night, and Bill Belichick couldn’t be happier.
That’s what NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport reported Friday, at least.
Speaking on NFL Network, Rapoport said the 69-year-old Patriots coach is “extremely excited” to work with Mac Jones, whom New England selected with the 15th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
“Bill Belichick’s obviously one of the older coaches in the NFL. I think he literally never retires,” Rapoport said. “From the sense I get, he’s extremely excited about working with a young quarterback, teaching a young quarterback, grooming a young quarterback. He hasn’t done it since Tom Brady.
“I think Bill Belichick will probably coach, I don’t know, forever, and Mac Jones is going to be one of the reasons why.”
Belichick praised Jones during his post-draft video conference but also tempered expectations for the former Alabama star. Cam Newton remains New England’s starting QB, Belichick said, and will keep that job until either Jones or 2019 fourth-round pick Jarrett Stidham outplays him.
“(We) look forward to working with him,” Belichick said of Jones. “He’s a smart kid. He’s been in a system that’s similar to ours. We have had a lot of good conversations with him. I think he’ll be able to process the offense. It’s obviously going to take a lot of time. We’ll see how it goes.”
Jones, the first quarterback Belichick ever has drafted in the first round, said he plans to “support” and “help” Newton and Stidham as he begins his NFL career.
“It’s (Newton’s) show,” Jones said in his introductory video conference. “I’m just there to support him and help out the team in whatever way I can.”
The draft continues with Rounds 2 and 3 on Friday night and Rounds 4 through 7 on Saturday.