A look back at the New England Patriots drafting Mac Jones

Mac Jones #10 of the New England Patriots (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
Mac Jones #10 of the New England Patriots (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) /

The New England Patriots drafted Mac Jones in the 2021 NFL Draft’s first round and it’s instructive to take a look back at that situation now with more than half of the 2021 season in the books.

Ultimate NFL insider Adam Schefter thought Mac Jones would be the San Francisco 49ers’ choice with the No. 3 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. He wasn’t.

Recently, 49ers’ All-time great quarterback Joe Montana said Mac Jones would have been his choice. Ouch!

Let’s take a look at this situation and evaluate how greatly the New England Patriots fared when the 49ers changed their minds and passed on Mac Jones.

New England Patriots cashed in when the 49ers passed on Mac Jones

The New England Patriots brass had a risky plan and stumbled upon gold. The Patriots waited until Mac Jones fell to them at pick No. 15.

This was a risky strategy considering there were a couple of teams that could have realized Jones’ potential and traded up to select the guy who just led the Alabama Crimson Tide to a National Championship. Jones is a lot better than the No. 15 pick.

The New England Patriots waited it out, maybe even sweated it out, to draft the young prodigy. It was a risky move but it worked out. They luckily struck the mother-load. Again.

Mac Jones, the best quarterback in the 2021 draft, fell to them at the 15th pick of the draft and is already leading them to big wins.

One will recall that the team previously had absolutely unprecedented and phenomenal good fortune (aka luck) in 2000 when they drafted a certain Tom Brady at pick 199.

On that pick, inspired by their late assistant coach Dick Rehbein, they happened upon the greatest quarterback, player, and winner in NFL history.

The New England Patriots got lucky again in 2021

In full disclosure, this space advocated for the Patriots to go with a dual-threat quarterback in the draft. After all, they are all the rage in the NFL nowadays.

Think of exciting players like the dynamic Lamar Jackson of the Baltimore Ravens whom the Patriots passed up twice in the 2018 Draft’s first round.

In any event, speculation was rampant that the 49ers were set on Jones at No. 3 and that was the supposed reason for the truly massive trade-up with the Miami Dolphins to get there. That trade cost San Francisco the following haul of picks,

"The Dolphins first sent shock waves across the NFL landscape by trading the No. 3 pick to the 49ers in exchange for the No. 12 pick this year, a first- and third-round pick in 2022 and a first-round pick in 2023."

New England Patriots gain was San Francisco’s loss

But, somewhere on the way to the draft something happened to change their minds (If, in fact, the 49ers front office really had traded up to take Jones. Who knows?)

The 49ers took Trey Lance (a pre-draft favorite here I must say). To date, Jones has started all nine Patriots games this season and won five with a terrific 68.1 completion percentage.

Lance has played in four games, starting just one of them though, and has posted a 52.1 completion percentage. So the Patriots somehow once again stumbled onto one of the next big stars of the NFL.

The New England Patriots have Mac Jones, who fits their system like a kid glove, and had the coaching staff been more astute, they would now be sitting at 7-2 on their way to a definite playoff appearance. But that’s another story.

Instead, the Pats are in a scramble for a playoff spot that could have almost been in their grasp right now.

The Patriots’ coaching staff finally got it right, put their best offensive line available on the field and they’ve turned their season around.

The New England Patriots are now 5-4 and right in the thick of the AFC Wild Card playoff race. And, with a couple of wins over Buffalo, maybe even an AFC East title.

Next. Could the Patriots end up winning the AFC East?. dark

Every week is critical from here on in. Yet, with Mac Jones at the helm and an emerging stellar defense starring Matt Judon and Christian Barmore, they have a chance at all of that.

Whether they were lucky (the suggestion here) because the 49ers drafted someone else and they stood pat at pick No. 15, or calculating, they struck gold again.

And, as they say, luck is sometimes better than skill.