New England Patriots training camp began Wednesday at the practice fields behind Gillette Stadium, and rookie quarterback Mac Jones seems to be making a positive first impression with teammates.
Jones is arguably the most intriguing player at camp as he battles veteran Cam Newton for the starting QB job before Week 1 of the upcoming regular season.
One of the top targets for Patriots quarterbacks this season likely will be tight end Jonnu Smith, who signed with New England as a free agent in March. What does Smith think of Jones after Wednesday's practice?
"I'm going to be honest man, I didn't expect Mac to have the kind of swagger that he got ... Mac, hell of a guy," Smith told reporters. "Great energy, bringing life to the locker room, always laughing and a smile on his face. He loves football -- you can't ask for a better quarterback."
The Patriots used their first-round pick (No. 15 overall) in the 2021 NFL Draft to acquire Jones. He had a stellar 2020 season with Alabama during which he led the Crimson Tide to a national championship.
Some of the best traits Jones displayed at Alabama were poise in the pocket and accuracy on all types of throws, and he is in a good spot to show those same talents at the NFL level.
The Patriots have a strong offensive line, a couple quality running backs and a passing attack that should be much improved after the offseason additions of wide receivers Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne, as well as tight ends Hunter Henry and Smith.
Jones has the tools to be a productive NFL quarterback as a rookie, and a strong training camp would give him an excellent foundation for whenever he gets his first opportunity in a real game.