Has this been an offseason to remember, or what?
I didn't ask for much. Hunter Henry. Jonnu Smith. Matt Judon. A ton of other free agents in the biggest spending spree in team history. I got all those things, but it wasn't enough. I wanted a quarterback in the draft. Specifically, I wanted Mac Jones.
Here's what I wrote back in late March:
Mac Jones, Alabama. 6-3, 217 lb, 4.79
Jones is the first true eye-of-the-beholder QB in this draft class. He was the standout QB at the Senior Bowl. What he did in college speaks for itself. Though when it speaks a lot of people hear it say "He was only good because he was surrounded by talent." But to be fair, the Bama team Tua Tagovailoa was on produced three 1st rounders besides himself, including an OT and two of his wideouts. And carrying that heavy burden caused him to drop all the way to fifth overall. And players who were at Alabama with both of them have said Jones is the better quarterback. Yet the draftniks are all over the map about him. Some have him going in the Top 10, and I've seen some who don't have him in their Top 50 overall prospects. The reason being, that unlike the other four I've mentioned, he's not the elusive, throw-on-the-run type. How you see him is a referendum on where you think the position is heading at the pro level. Is it going to exclusively be Patrick Mahomes/Russell Wilson types? Is the traditional dropback passer with some pocket awareness and movement going extinct? Or does he still have a place in the NFL, like the reigning Super Bowl MVP? Because if he does, Jones checks that box. He's got a dad bod to be sure. But he's got the most technically refined throwing mechanics in the Class of '21. He's supernaturally accurate, with an NCAA best 77.4% completions last year after beating out Bryce Young for the starter's job. He doesn't have a howitzer for an arm, but he can throw the fastball, as his 41 touchdowns, 11.2 YPA and school record 4,500 yards would attest. Despite his seeming lack of athleticism, that 40-time was at his Pro Day this week, and it was better than Mahomes, Mayfield and Sam Darnold. As was his 32-inch vertical. More to the point, he's got functional skills for moving in the pocket while still going through progressions when the pocket gets muddy. It's weird that the nation's Davey O'Brien Award winner who posted a stat line of 36 for 45, 80.0%, 464 yards, five TDs in the National Title game would be such a divisive prospect. But then, the draft is weird.
Compares to the other leading brand: Matt Ryan
The Perfect Patriot: Mac Jones
I have to admit I've had Jones on the brain for months. Every since the losses piled up in New England and it became clear a middle 1st round pick was becoming a reality. While Jones just kept coming up with huge performances against the NFL's minor league, showed poise, command of the Tide's offense, maturity and - dare I say this without those good, moral folks at the NCAA having one of their episodes - professionalism. He's shown all the traits the Patriots seem to prioritize. And a guy looking bad with his shirt off didn't scare them off in 2000, why should it now?
Whom the Pats Will Take: Jones. I say this on March 24th. This presumes a veteran quarterback they love (hellooo, Jimmy GQ) doesn't shake loose. They can not only stand pat at No. 15 and still land him, they could conceivably drop back a few spots, add a pick, and still get him.
Now, I'm not one to brag. Just because we can add Jones to the ever growing list of Patriots draft picks I was spot on about. How I said they'd take Nate Solder in 2011, but only if Matt Light was sticking around for another year, which is exactly what happened. And Pat Chung, Darius Butler, Dont'a Hightower, Brandon Spikes, Dominique Easley, Duke Dawson, Joejuan Williams and several others too numerous to mention. That said, a lot of people had Jones to New England. But many of them moved off the pick as the 49ers put it out there that they were ready to take him at No. 3. Many more thought it would take a move up to get him, and Belichick would not be willing to mortgage his draft future to get him. And not a one of them can hold a flickering candle to my track record.
But I stuck to my convictions. Any time someone asked me what the move was, and that happened more times than you can imagine, I did not waver. I stuck to Jones. And once again, my psychic and emotional link to the best GM in football history did not let me down. And obviously, by the fact the team had the pick in within a Hadron Particle Collider split second after the Jets took a guard, they felt the same way about Jones that I did.
I'll have much more to say about this in the morning. But for now, just know that this is the sound of wishes coming true. Now somebody get into Boston and tell them to get the Duckboats ready. And ask yourself why you'd go to anyone else for your Patriots draft analysis?