Alabama QB Mac Jones falls to Patriots in 2021 NFL Draft

/ by Mike DePrisco
Presented By Ourisman Automotive of Virginia

Mac Jones was long thought to be the San Francisco 49ers' target at No. 3 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft, but it didn't play out that way on Thursday night for the former Alabama quarterback. 

The 49ers, who traded three first-round picks and a third-round pick to move up to No. 3, took Trey Lance as their quarterback of the future. Jones, meanwhile, fell all the way to the Patriots at 15th overall. 

Jones becomes the first first-round quarterback taken by the Patriots since 1997 when they took Drew Bledsoe No. 1 overall. He'll come in competing for the starting job with Cam Newton as the team's newest quarterback of the future. 

Jones took over an explosive Alabama offense after Tua Tagovailoa left for the NFL last year. He lit up college football's best conference, the SEC, for 4,500 yards, 41 touchdowns and just four interceptions.

Along with the help of fellow first-round receivers Jaylen Waddle and DeVonta Smith, Jones helped Alabama capture yet another national championship in 2021. 

Once Jones didn't go at No. 3, there was a good chance he would slide a bit down the draft board. Ohio State's Justin Fields went to the Bears at No. 11 overall, leaving Jones as the last man standing of the five consensus first-round quarterbacks.

Before the draft, there was a small chance a quarterback would fall far enough for the Washington Football Team to select one at No. 19 or trade up at a reasonable price. Jones got close, but Washington ultimately decided to stay put at their spot.