Before Mac Jones took over as Alabama’s starting quarterback late during the 2019 season, the show was run by Tua Tagovailoa. Before him, Jalen Hurts was the Crimson Tide’s QB1. Soon, all three could serve as starters in the NFL.
Mac Jones was, of course, drafted by the New England Patriots in the first round this spring. Tagovailoa and Hurts entered the league in 2020, getting picked fifth and 53rd overall by the Miami Dolphins and Philadelphia Eagles, respectively. Tagovailoa and Hurts are the favorites to win the starting gigs with their teams, while Jones will have to compete against incumbent Cam Newton over the summer to become the Patriots’ QB1.
Still, one of his predecessors at Alabama seems to think the best course of action for the youngster might be to sit and learn — much like he did in college.
“Mac Jones, he had the opportunity, I think... I think the best way you can learn is to watch,” Jalen Hurts told WVTM 13 in Birmingham.
“Watch, take note of those around you, kind of learn the lay of the land, if you will, and learn that way. You know, Mac had a very unique college career where he had to stay patient and it worked out for him. And I’m happy it did. He was able to watch me and Tua go through that, get him some burn here and there. And ultimately when it was his time he took off with it, and now he has a great opportunity for his future.”
Jones arrived in Alabama in 2017 and took a redshirt season behind Hurts, the team’s starter, and Tagovailoa. He later was the number two behind Tagovailoa in 2018 and for much of the 2019 season. When the Crimson Tide’s new starter suffered a season-ending hip injury, Jones took over and never looked back.
Already playing some encouraging football filling in for Tagovailoa, he delivered one of the most impressive seasons in college football history while leading his team to an undefeated championship. Along he way, Jones went 311-for-402 for 4,500 yards and a 41-to-4 touchdown-to-interception rate.
He was therefore able to establish himself as a first-round prospect, and ultimately was selected by the Patriots as the 15th overall pick in this year’s draft. Now in New England, Jones has joined a quarterback depth chart consisting of Cam Newton as well as veteran backups Jarrett Stidham and Brian Hoyer.