People have described New England Patriots first-round pick Mac Jones in many ways. At the University of Alabama and through the NFL draft process, the quarterback has been called a pocket passer, good decision maker, game manager and winner.
After his early days of OTA Patriots training, veteran wide receiver Kendrick Bourne used a word not often associated with Jones to describe what he has as a quarterback, “swag.”
Mac Jones is the latest player to come from Alabama to New England
It’s no secret that Patriots coach and general manager Bill Belichick trusts some college football coaches more than others. He’s always had a soft spot for players from Greg Schiano’s program at Rutgers, for example.
There’s no college coach, Belichick, who seems to have more confidence than Alabama’s Nick Saban. In addition to Jones, linebackers Dont’a Hightower and Anfernee Jennings and running back Damien Harris are all former Crimson Tide players.
In order for Belichick to select Jones, the first quarterback he picked in the first round in New England, the appellant must have come with a resounding endorsement from Saban. Belichick knows the pressure that will be on any passer trying to replace the recently departed Pats QB, and to spend that kind of draft capital he obviously thinks very hard of Jones.
Kendrick Bourne Says Mac Jones Has “Swag”
Now that Jones is on the field for the Patriots, it’s not just his new head coach that the QB is impressing. Soon after, several of his teammates shared how impressed they were with the 22-year-old, 6-3.
Following one of New England’s first OTA practices, Bourne, an offseason free agent acquisition, said of Jones, by ESPN:
He’s got a booty of his own that I didn’t know he had at first. He’s confident out there, and that’s what you need in a quarterback. Good energy, great guy comes to work and you can already feel his energy and leadership.
It wasn’t just Bourne with praise for the Florida native either. Another new Patriot, tight end Hunter Henry, said of his new passing partner: “Mac is doing a great job. We all go through it together, even being new to the atmosphere of this higher level. It’s good to have him here, and we’re all excited for him.
Jones has impressed in OTAs, but still has a long way to go to land the starting job
OTAs are the first chance for a team to come together before the coming season. These practices only involve players wearing helmets with t-shirts and shorts, which means there is little you can take away from them.
The big takeaway for Jones is that beat writers report that he’s already taking second channel shots just behind outgoing incumbent Cam Newton. That fact, coupled with the praise from his teammates, can understandably turn Patriot fans on.
Remember that we are only in June. There’s still a full training camp and three preseason games left before Belichick even needs to decide who his day one starter is. A lot can happen by then.
And, even if Jones is performing well ahead of the season, it might still be a good idea to start Newton the first few weeks. New England opens their 2021 campaign with three of last season’s best passing defenses in the first four weeks. After that, the secondaries that the team will face will lighten considerably.
Jones will eventually get his chance to be Brady’s heir apparent. Much like the QB he’s trying to replace, he may have to sit down for a while before he has his turn.
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