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#pounditThursday, April 25, 2024

Bill Belichick preferred to draft 1 QB rather than Mac Jones?

Mac Jones warms up before a game

Sep 18, 2022; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones (10) warms up before the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Acrisure Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The New England Patriots struggled this season in large part because of Bill Belichick’s recent shortcomings in the draft. Mac Jones is one of the players who developed poorly under the coach, but Belichick was reportedly not entirely sold on drafting the former Alabama star three years ago.

Jeff Howe of The Athletic published a story on Saturday outlining the ways in which Belichick’s mishandling of the Patriots’ offense resulted in the team becoming one of the worst in the NFL. If drafting Jones was a mistake, however, it is not one that can be pinned solely on Belichick.

According to Howe, Patriots scouts became frustrated a few years back when they felt Belichick “largely ignored” their input. When former director of player personnel Nick Caserio left to become the general manager of the Houston Texans in 2021, Belichick assured Patriots owner Robert Kraft he would change his draft process and allow New England’s scouting staff to have a bigger say.

Belichick stuck to his word during the 2021 NFL Draft. Howe says Belichick liked Jones as a player, but the coach also would have been content to wait for Davis Mills. New England’s player personnel staff felt strongly about Jones, so Belichick did not want to push back after he promised to take a more collaborative approach.

“But Jones was the Patriots’ highest-rated player, and they desperately needed a quarterback after going 7-9 with Cam Newton in their first season without Tom Brady,” Howe wrote. “Belichick appeared content to wait for Mills, who fell to Caserio’s Texans in the third round, but relinquished to the staff’s strong push for Jones, according to league sources. After previously vowing to be more collaborative, Belichick recognized he couldn’t go back on his word with his first selection under the new approach.”

Belichick obviously believed Jones could become a successful NFL quarterback, otherwise he would have vetoed the pick. Mills isn’t exactly a stud, either, and currently serves as a backup in Houston behind rookie CJ Stroud.

Even if Belichick was not as high on Jones as some others in the Patriots organization, the 71-year-old did not handle the situation well. You could easily make the argument that Belichick ruined any chance Jones had of succeeding by bringing in Matt Patricia to run the offense last season.

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