2021 draft class: Eight picks
In 2020, the Patriots’ talent-deficient roster scuffled to the team’s first losing record in two decades. So Bill Belichick went out and put together a sensational free agency period, upgrading whole swaths of the depth chart — except at quarterback.
Enter Mac Jones.
When the San Francisco 49ers, who had long been discussed as a match for Jones, passed on him in favor of Trey Lance at No. 3 overall, it set the stage for the seemingly inevitable: Jones’ pairing with the Patriots. Yes, Jones fell to No. 15, but really, he won. Because based on the accuracy, arm talent, leadership and moxie he showed during a sensational tenure running Steve Sarkisian’s pro-style offense in college (not to mention his championship pedigree), it feels like he was put on Planet Earth to be Belichick and Josh McDaniels’ next quarterback.
Heading into the draft, I thought Jones was a great fit for the Niners, and that he’d prove himself instantly better than Jimmy Garoppolo, who I expected to then be shipped back to New England. This outcome is so much better for the Patriots. Jones is going to be Offensive Rookie of the Year material and their quarterback for a very long time — including for their next championship down the road.
Oh, and by the way, Belichick stole my favorite defensive tackle, Christian Barmore (an Alabama/Nick Saban product, obviously) in Round 2, and also scooped up Rhamondre Stevenson, who has great hands out of the backfield, in Round 4.
Color me obsessed. The Patriots are back!