Sarkisian: Patriots QB Mac Jones 'most qualified' rookie to start in Year 1


NFL-ready was among the many attributes assigned to Alabama quarterback Mac Jones in the build up to the 2021 draft last week.

So, would it be crazy to suggest that Jones could start at some point in the upcoming regular season for the New England Patriots after they drafted him with the No. 15 overall pick in the first round?

Steve Sarkisian worked with Jones as Alabama's offensive coordinator over the last two seasons before accepting Texas' head coach job in January. He thinks Jones is capable of starting as a rookie.

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“I’ve been on record saying this: I honestly think he’s probably the most qualified rookie quarterback to start in Year 1,” Sarkisian said Monday on 98.5 The Sports Hub's "Zolak & Bertrand" show. “I think he’s been exposed to a lot. I think him being in school for four years and putting in that time and having to persevere and wait his turn behind a Jalen Hurts, behind a Tua (Tagovailoa), and then he got his opportunity and he made the most of it.

“I think he’s seen a lot from the defensive side of the ball, whether it was at practice or in games, and he had to compete at a really high level in the SEC. The one year he started, we played an all-SEC schedule with Notre Dame and with Ohio State (in the College Football Playoff) on top of that. I think he’s in a great position to go and compete, and like I said earlier, now it’s time to perform. You’ve got to put in the work, and you’ve got to let your play speak for itself.”

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Jones posted really impressive stats for the Crimson Tide last season when he helped lead them to a national championship. He completed 77.4 percent of his passes for 4,500 yards with 41 touchdowns and just four interceptions.

His accuracy and high football IQ are among the primary reasons why he could give Cam Newton serious competition for the starting QB role in the offseason.

It would probably be unfair to expect Jones to start Week 1, but if Newton doesn't impress early on, the Patriots should give the rookie a chance to show what he can in the QB1 role.