What Patriots liked about Mac Jones in NFL Draft, per Josh McDaniels

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Here's what Josh McDaniels liked about Mac Jones at Alabama originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

Mac Jones has only been with the New England Patriots for a handful of practices, so we knew Josh McDaniels wasn't going to wax poetic about how his new quarterback looks.

But the Patriots offensive coordinator did offer insight Thursday into why Jones was appealing enough for New England to select him No. 15 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft.

"He's won a lot of games in the last year-plus at Alabama," McDaniels told reporters in a virtual press conference. "He’s played in some big games, some pressure situations. He takes care of the football. He has demonstrated an ability to function at a pretty high level in (Alabama's) system and their offense with their terminology.

"He competed in a league (the SEC) that’s, I would say, widely regarded as one of the top conferences if not the top conference in all of college football."

Patriots Talk Podcast: Josh McDaniels goes deep on Mac Jones, Cam Newton and the learning curve | Listen & Subscribe | Watch on YouTube

Jones put up gaudy numbers for the Crimson Tide in 2020, completing 77.4% of his passes for 4,500 yards with 41 touchdown passes to just four interceptions. He led Alabama to an undefeated season and a national championship and lost just one game over two seasons as a starter.

Jones' detractors entering the draft insisted the 22-year-old was more of a game manager who benefited from a historically good Alabama offense. But McDaniels saw Jones as a well-rounded QB who excelled in multiple areas.

"To play the position of quarterback, there’s certainly not just one thing you need to do well," McDaniels said. "He certainly stood out in certain obvious ways, relative to throwing the football, command, protecting the football and not hurting his football team. There’s a lot to look at and digest as you study him."

Jones will need to elevate his game this summer to stand out in a crowded QB group featuring Cam Newton, Jarrett Stidham and Brian Hoyer. Newton is the incumbent starter, but his job is far from guaranteed after his struggles as a passer in 2020, so the door could be open for Jones if he's able to absorb the Patriots' offense quickly during organized team activities.