Patriots draft Mac Jones, but Belichick says Cam Newton 'is our QB' originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
The New England Patriots now have a quarterback room featuring one player from Alabama and two from Auburn.
That should make for some interesting conversations about one of college football's greatest rivalries when players return to Gillette Stadium for offseason activities.
The competition at quarterback this year should be an exciting one after the Patriots selected Alabama's Mac Jones with the No. 15 pick in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft on Thursday night.
The Jones pick represents the earliest that Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has drafted a quarterback in his 21 years with the franchise.
"Mac was available there at our pick, and he was a guy we spent a lot of time with," Belichick explained in a video press conference late Thursday night. "We felt like that was the best pick at that time for us. We look forward to working with him. He's a smart kid. He's been in a system that's similar to ours. We've had a lot of 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."
Belichick, like he did so many times last season, also noted that Cam Newton is the team's starting quarterback.
"Cam is our quarterback. Whatever time Jarrett (Stidham) or Mac are ready to challenge and compete, we'll see how that goes," Belichick said.
Belichick didn't go into great detail when asked what it means that "Cam is our quarterback".
"Someone would have to play better than (Newton) does," he said.
Jones was rated as NFL-ready by many experts in the pre-draft process. He's an intelligent player who sees the field well and is able to read defenses quick enough. His accuracy at Alabama was stellar, too, as he completed 77.4 percent of his passes with only four interceptions last season.
It's entirely possible that Jones wins the starting job, but he'll have to earn it, and that's no easy task for a rookie.