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Patriots remain patient, draft QB Mac Jones at No. 15

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BOSTON – The New England Patriots selected former Alabama quarterback Mac Jones with No. 15 in the NFL draft, their biggest move to date to bring in a player who may be a long-term replacement for Tom Brady.

It was believed that the Patriots would have to trade to get one of the top five consensus quarterbacks in this year’s draft class. It turned out that Jones fell directly into his lap.

After Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson and Trey Lance left the board in the top three picks, the top-rated prospects, Justin Fields and Jones, were still up for grabs.

The Bears rose from No. 20 to No. 11 in a trade with the Giants to select fields, leaving only Jones available. He becomes the first quarterback selected in the first round during Bill Belichick’s 21-year tenure in New England.

Jones has been high on the Patriots’ roster for some time, as evidenced by his pre-draft scouting of him. They sent scouts to the Senior Bowl and both Belichick and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels attended Alabama’s for the day.

Jones, who played with Belichick’s longtime friend and former coach Nick Saban, won the 2020 Davey O’Brien award for the best quarterback in college football.

Praised for his precision and ability to control Saban’s system in his only year as a full-time Crimson Tide starter, Jones arrives in New England after a season that led him to lead Alabama to a national title while completing a record of the NCAA of 77.4% of his performance. passes for 4,500 yards, 41 touchdowns and just four interceptions.

He joins a Patriots team that is in transition after finishing 7-9 in 2020 and missing the playoffs for the first time since 2008. One of the biggest reasons was Cam Newton’s struggle to get back on his feet on offense afterward. to replace Brady after his free agency outing to Tampa Bay.

Newton re-signed this offseason, but returns with a one-year deal. His backup last season, Jarrett Stidham, was beaten for the starting job and has been disappointing in limited action his first two years in the league.

Jones becomes the 10th consecutive player to win the O’Brien Award and be selected in the first round of the NFL draft. He is also the third former Crimson Tide quarterback chosen in the first round since 1967, after Tua Tagovailoa (fifth in 2020) and Richard Todd (sixth in 1976).

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