The New England Patriots’ efforts to rebuild their roster on the fly continued on draft weekend. Coming off an aggressive free agency spending spree, the team addressed the biggest remaining question mark on its roster in the first round by picking quarterback Mac Jones with the 15th overall selection.
While there is no guarantee Jones will be the starter in 2021, the Alabama product will get a fair shot at taking the job that is currently being held by veteran Cam Newton. Whether that happens this summer or further down the line, he will, at that point, line up behind one of the Patriots’s most experienced and respected players: center and team captain David Andrews.
As for Andrews’ perspective on the selection, he shared his thoughts on the rookie passer during a media conference call on Tuesday.
“I think I watched some of that Georgia game a little bit, but I’m just excited to get to work with him. I’ve heard a lot about him. I’m not a quarterback scout, so...” Andrews said about Jones. “But I’m just excited to get to work with him, get to meet him, hang out with him. Heard a lot of great things about him.”
Jones was not the only major investment made by the Patriots this offseason, though. As noted above they also opened the checkbook in free agency to take advantage of a depressed market.
One of the players who signed a deal was Andrews himself. The 28-year-old was allowed to enter unrestricted free agency, and drew some interest from the Miami Dolphins, but eventually returned to the team that gave him his first opportunity in the NFL back in 2015: Andrews returned on a four-year, $18.9 million deal to resume his role as New England’s starting center for the foreseeable future.
The team retaining him was a big move, and so were the others that happened in mid-March. Among others, the Patriots also brought in tight ends Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry, wide receivers Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne, linebackers Matthew Judon and Kyle Van Noy, defensive linemen Davon Godchaux and Henry Anderson, and defensive back Jalen Mills.
Add fellow re-signees Cam Newton, James White, Lawrence Guy and Deatrich Wise Jr, as well as trade acquisition Trent Brown. and you get a team that is looking significantly improved compared to last year’s version. Andrews seems to be well aware of that
“I think you got to be excited looking at it, right?” he asked.
Ever the Patriot, however, Andrews quickly turned the attention to what lies ahead and the challenges that await the club. Buying a team is one thing, building it is another.
“Now it comes down to the stuff people don’t want to talk about: how much work we put in over the next three to four months. We made a lot of improvement on paper and that’s definitely a part of it. Now we have to become a football team,” Andrews said.
“We have to work together, learn to work together because there’s going to be a lot of new faces. Just have to become a team and start putting it all together here and build the offseason and obviously into training camp. Excited to — once we can get the rookies into the building — get to work with them. Just excited to get the whole ball rolling here.”