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2021 NFL draft: Patriots reps meet with two top quarterback prospects at the Senior Bowl

Related: Potential Patriots draft targets are turning heads at the Senior Bowl

2021 Reese’s Senior Bowl Practice Photo by Senior Bowl/Collegiate Images/Getty Images

The New England Patriots’ coaches have not traveled to Alabama to watch this year’s Senior Bowl practices, but the team’s college scouting staff is still represented in Mobile to assess some of the best players in the country. Among them are quarterbacks Mac Jones and Jamie Newman, who both spoke to the press on Thursday and confirmed that they had met with the Patriots this week.

Jones, who is entering the pre-draft process after having led Alabama to a national championship just earlier this month, said that he med with representatives from the organization on Wednesday night.

“Yeah, I met with the scouts, I guess, last night,” Jones said during his socially distant media session after practice. “I sat down at their table and w just had a good conversation, talked and they got to know me really well. I really liked their table. It’s kind of fun to see how different tables, they act a little different. But the Patriots were really cool and asked some really good questions.”

One of the top quarterback prospects in this year’s draft, Jones is regarded as a likely first-round pick. The quarterback-needy Patriots, who are scheduled to pick 15th overall in April, are therefore a team to watch when it comes to potential landing spots for the Crimson Tide QB who had a strong few practices during the Senior Bowl.

Whether or not he actually participates in the game on Saturday remains to be seen, however. Jones tweaked his left ankle during a red zone drill on Thursday and left open whether or not he would play, saying that there is “a chance” he would sit out the contest and that he does not “want to risk it at this point.”

“I just have to see how I feel,” he said. “I’m not gonna go out there if I’m not 100 percent. It’s not fair to my teammates to not be 100 percent and try to play, and not play well.”

As for Jamie Newman, he confirmed that he had a “formal meeting” with the Patriots.

“I met with them, had a great interview,” he said. “I was just being myself and they asked some really good questions. I like that organization a lot.”

Seen as a mid-round prospect, Newman is entering the draft after opting out of the 2020 campaign: he transferred from Wake Forest to the University of Georgia last year but eventually decided to sit out the season and subsequently start focusing on the draft. The topic of him opting out also came up repeatedly during the Senior Bowl as he pointed out during Thursday’s post-practice press conference.

“I got that all 32 interviews, ‘Why’d I opt out?’” Newman said. “It was just a collective thing of Covid that hit differently for me and my family. Unfortunately, I had a family member that was affected by Covid, so that’s what went into my decision.”

Another quarterback, Arkansas’ Feleipe Franks said on Thursday that he had “not yet” spoken with the Patriots’ reps at the Senior Bowl.