Bill Belichick preferred a different quarterback over Mac Jones in 2021 draft

New England Patriots v Las Vegas Raiders
New England Patriots v Las Vegas Raiders / Ethan Miller/GettyImages

It wasn't long ago when we heard that Bill Belichick wanted to draft Mac Jones in 2021, disproving the long-debated topic since the quarterback joined the team. But now we're hearing the contrary again, as Albert Breer from Sports Illustrated reignited the conversation with a recent report.

Despite what appeared to be a perfect pairing, particularly during Jones' rookie season, Belichick was more interested in another quarterback to take with the 15th overall pick. According to Breer, Davis Mills piqued his interest, and he only decided to select Jones by the convincing from the others in the organization.

"In 2021, Belichick liked Alabama’s Mac Jones and Stanford’s Davis Mills, seeing Jones as the best option at the position in the class apart from Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence. And while the Patriots didn’t love Jones, who had his share of physical limitations, they knew they needed to do something at the position after how going into ’20 without a real quarterback plan played out.

They’d agree on taking Jones with the No. 15 pick rather than the alternative, which would’ve been drafting a position player there and coming back and getting Mills either in the second round or with a trade up into the bottom of the first round. And while they were on the clock, there wasn’t much discussion about doing anything else."

This account was confirmed by former longtime Patriots reporter Jeff Howe of The Athletic, who shared his knowledge on the matter just days after Breer's report.

“Belichick liked Jones, but he also liked quarterback Davis Mills. Belichick also was dead set on taking a quarterback at that spot. But Jones was the Patriots’ highest-rated player, and they desperately needed a quarterback after going 7-9 with Cam Newton in their first season without Tom Brady. Belichick appeared content to wait for Mills … but relinquished to the staff’s strong push for Jones, according to league sources.”

Considering the options Belichick was contemplating, drafting Jones was far and away a better selection than Davis Mills. It's a bit difficult to grasp how he preferred him over the Alabama quarterback, who was coming off a championship-winning season, but it's good to know they had Jones ranked higher on their big board, or else they would be in a much worse situation heading into 2024.

Hopefully, this year's draft will be handled a bit differently, and there will be more cohesion in the war room about who the best person to draft is, so there aren't stories like this that are revealed years later.

It's another significant time in the team's history, facing the same challenge as they did the year they drafted Jones. But this time, it feels a lot more crucial to get it right. With Mayo in as the new head coach and a completely new staff expected to join him, taking the right player with the third overall pick would make for a smoother transition and a more optimistic start to the new era in New England.

The draft is always a crapshoot, but with new minds in the draft room, maybe they'll hit it out of the park this time.

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