Mac Jones has been down that road. A highly-touted prospect coming out of the University of Alabama, he was selected 15th overall in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Now, the New England Patriots’ starting quarterback is using his experience to support his successor with the Crimson Tide. Bryce Young, a candidate to get selected with the No. 1 pick this year, has consulted Jones among others to help him get ready for the draft.
Speaking to reporters at the NFL Scouting Combine on Friday, Young shed some light on his connection with Jones.
“I talked to a good amount of guys to prepare myself as much as I can for the next level and for this process,” he said. “Specifically, I was talking to Mac earlier this week. He gave me a lot of great advice about how to carry yourself, things that he’s learned from the years there.”
A five-star recruit coming out of high school, Young joined Jones in Tuscaloosa in 2020. He arrived with plenty of hype and was even seen as a candidate to earn the staring role as a freshman, but eventually lost the competition to Jones. The future Patriot ended up leading Alabama to an undefeated season and National Championship.
With Jones leaving for the NFL in 2021, Young got his shot. He immediately developed into one of college football’s most exciting players.
Young won the Heisman Trophy in 2021, and in his two years as the Crimson Tide’s QB1 — both under new Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien — completed 65.9 percent of his passes while throwing for 79 touchdowns and just 12 interceptions. He also set himself up nicely entering the draft: he is the current betting favorite to come off the board first overall in late April.
If anything, Jones only had a minor impact on Young’s development. However, the young quarterback is still trusting him to ask for his advice ahead of his move to the pro level.
At the Combine, Young was not the only prospect to speak highly of New England’s third-year passer. Alabama safety Jordan Battle, who shred a locker room with Jones in 2019 and 2020, also touched on his former teammate earlier this week.
“The main thing was just the way Mac competed in practice,” Battle said, as transcribed by NESN’s Dakota Randall.
“It was fun every day. I know when I first got there, Mac was on scout, and I saw him every day, like, the way he would compete against us on scout team. So, I knew once he got that chance to start at Alabama, I knew he would be a great player. I knew there were a lot of doubters before he ever won a national championship, but I’m happy he silenced all the critics that year. I was happy for him.”