It's a well-known fact that New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and Alabama coach Nick Saban are friendly with one another.
And their friendship has led to a strong connection between the Patriots and Saban's college programs. In fact, it has been a historic one that was furthered by the selection of Alabama quarterback Mac Jones.
According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, Jones marked the 11th player that Belichick's Patriots have selected from a Saban-coached college program. That is a record for a pro/college coach combo.
Saban's head coaching career has spanned 25 years that, save for a two-year span with the Miami Dolphins, have all come in college. This has included stops at Michigan State, LSU, and Alabama.
And at each stop, the Patriots have plucked some of Saban's most talented players. In three consecutive drafts, they have selected at least one of his Alabama players.
- 2020: QB Mac Jones
- 2019: LB Anfernee Jennings
- 2018: RB Damien Harris
Harris looks like a quality runner for the Patriots and if he can stay healthy, he should be a solid starter. Jennings didn't do a lot as a rookie, but he was still figuring out his role with the defense.
As for Jones, we'll see what he can do as a rookie. First up on the docket, he'll be looking to beat Cam Newton and Jarrett Stidham for the team's starting quarterback job.
We'll soon see if Jones can find success in doing that. But even if he can't, don't expect it to have an impact on Belichick's willingness to select prospects coming out of Saban's programs. As long as they're both coaching, the connection will be there.