Bill Belichick reportedly didn’t want New England Patriots to pick Mac Jones, targeted another QB in 2021 NFL Draft

Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

Bill Belichick and quarterback Mac Jones both won’t be with the New England Patriots in 2024. However, if the future Hall of Fame coach had his way, Jones reportedly never would’ve put on a Patriots’ uniform.

In the months after Tom Brady left New England and signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Patriots’ organization knew it needed to find a face of the franchise. Trading up for one of the elite quarterback prospects in the 2021 NFL Draft wasn’t realistic, but Jones fell into the Patriots’ lap.

  • Mac Jones career stats: 8,918 passing yards, 46-36-TD-INT, 85.8 QB rating, 66.1% completion

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Selected with the 15th overall pick, Jones shined as a rookie. The Patriots’ signal-caller posted a 10-7 record, earning a Pro Bowl selection behind a 67.6 percent completion rate, 92.5 QB rating and a 22-13 TD-INT ratio. New England had seemingly hit on its new franchise quarterback, but the last two seasons proved that Jones wasn’t the right fit in Foxborough.

However, there’s an alternative version of the Patriots’ franchise where Jones is playing elsewhere. If the team’s coach and de-facto general manager had his way on the night of the 2021 NFL Draft, New England would’ve drafted a different quarterback.

Jeff Howe of The Athletic wrote an in-depth breakdown of what transpired in Foxborough. Years before the Patriots’ coaching staff reportedly shattered Jones’s confidence, turning him into a far worse version of the player that scouts loved coming out of Alabama, he was one of the top players on the Patriots’ draft board.

On the clock with the 15th overall pick, Jones was the highest-rated player available and with the franchise needing a quarterback, Patriots’ scouts wanted the young passer. While Belichick was dead set on taking a quarterback, per Howe, he really liked Stanford’s Davis Mills and was content to wait to draft him later on.

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Historically, Belichick would’ve made the decision himself. But years of frustrations from Patriots’ scouts over Belichick reportedly disregarding their analysis in favor of his own took a toll. With the staff making a strong push for Jones and Belichick reportedly not wanting to go back on his promise to become more collaborative, New England selected Jones.

Mills was later selected with the 67th overall pick by Houston Texans general manager Nick Caserio, whose talent evaluation Belichick trusted heavily. Considering the 25-year-old quarterback has just an 83.0 QB rating with a 62.8 percent completion rate in 34 career games, it’s evident the Patriots’ franchise wouldn’t have experienced the results it wanted no matter which of the two quarterbacks it picked.

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