Patriots: The speculated plan for Mac Jones is what we were all expecting
By Jerry Trotta
By all accounts, the New England Patriots hit a home run in the NFL Draft.
However, the success (or lack thereof) of the incoming class will be contingent on whether first-round pick, Alabama star Mac Jones, ends up becoming their franchise quarterback.
There have been conflicting reports questioning whether Jones was the Patriots’ top target all along, but the front office deserves tremendous praise for being able to stay put at No. 15 and select somebody they were linked with for months on end leading up to draft night.
Unfortunately for fans, they likely won’t know if Jones is up for the challenge for another year, because Bill Belichick proclaimed in his post-draft press conference that Cam Newton, who re-signed on a one-year deal earlier this offseason, is the starting quarterback.
So, what does that mean for Jones?
According to insider Mike Lombardi of The Athletic, the Patriots are planning to redshirt the rookie quarterback, which is basically what most fans expected the plan to be the moment he was drafted.
Patriots fans will love the team’s plans for Mac Jones as a rookie.
While speculating when Jones might be promoted as the full-time starter, Lombardi said he believes the Patriots should groom him under Newton for a year.
"“I think it’s a year,” Lombardi said on his podcast. “I think, look, they’re going to coach the (expletive) out of him. They’re going to get him in there, he’s gotta be smart as hell.“I think Mac Jones will take a redshirt year. He’s going to have to prove it. One thing Belichick isn’t going to do, he’s not going to give anybody a job, whether he picks him 15th or picks him 1,500th. They’re going to have to earn it. And Jones is going to have to go in there and earn it.“I think it’ll be a great quarterback room for them. I think they have great competition in the room. And we’ll see what he can do. And they’ll get a chance to really develop him and allow him to work on his craft and really get him ready to play.”"
That’s what we like to hear. Other than Trevor Lawrence, and maybe Zach Wilson, experts have stressed that Jones is the only other quarterback in this year’s class who’d be capable of taking over starting duties as a rookie. While that might very well be the case, there’s no reason for the Patriots to thrust him into that role right away.
After all, the playbook is incredibly complex, and Jones isn’t what you would call an NFL-ready athlete, even for a quarterback. Later on in the podcast, Lombardi guaranteed the Crimson Tide product will look “like a different human being” by this time next year.
With somebody like Newton, who is the definition of chiseled and might not have an ounce of body fat on him, in the same QB room as Jones, something tells us the 22-year-old shouldn’t have much of a problem putting on muscle in the weight room.
Bottom line? While fans are eager to know what the Patriots have in Jones, giving him a full year to get acclimated to the playbook and speed of the NFL will undoubtedly prove to benefit him (and New England) down the road.
Stay patient. There’s no need to rush this process.