Mac Jones had to wait a few years before becoming the full-time starter at the University of Alabama, but he might not have to go through that same process with the New England Patriots.
The Patriots selected Jones with the No. 15 pick in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft. He looked good in last month's mandatory minicamp and figures to have a real chance at winning the No. 1 quarterback job in training camp against veteran Cam Newton.
Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts, who was a teammate of Jones at Alabama, thinks being a backup for two years in college and learning a lot about football along the way will help Jones take advantage of this opportunity in New England.
"Mac Jones, he had the opportunity -- I think the best way you can learn is to watch," Hurts recently told WVTM 13 Birmingham's Rick Karle. "Watch, take note of those around you, kind of learn the lay of the land, if you will, and learn that way.
"Mac had a very unique college career where he had to stay patient, and it worked out for him. And I'm happy it did. He was able to watch me and Tua go through that, get him some burn here and there, and ultimately when it was his time, he took off with it. Now he has a great opportunity for his future."
Jones played at Alabama from 2018 through 2020, but he didn't get an opportunity to be the full-time starter until Year 3. He took full advantage of it by throwing for 4,500 yards, 41 touchdowns and four interceptions last season, while leading the Crimson Tide to an undefeated 13-0 campaign and a national championship.
The 22-year-old quarterback showed tremendous poise and accuracy with Alabama last season, and many of those same traits were displayed on the Gillette Stadium practice field last month. It wouldn't be a total shock if Jones wins the starting quarterback job ahead of Week 1, but he'll need a great training camp and preseason to have the best possible chance.