The Patriots, and Josh McDaniels specifically, spent a lot of time studying the quarterbacks in the draft this spring.
Ultimately, they landed on Mac Jones, making him the No. 15 overall pick.
Speaking via video conference Thursday, Patriots offense coordinator Josh McDaniels was asked specifically what he liked in the Alabama QB?
“Look, Mac, he’s won a lot of games in the last year-plus at Alabama," he said. "He’s played in some big games, some pressure situations. He takes care of the football. He’s demonstrated an ability to function at a pretty high level in their system and their offense with their terminology. He competed in a league that is I would say is widely regarded as one of the top conferences, if not the top conference, in all of college football.
"To play the position of quarterback there’s not just one thing you need to do well. He certainly stood out in certain obvious ways relative to throwing the football and command and protecting the ball and not hurting his football team. A lot to look at and digest when you studied him."
McDaniels has been able to work with Jones and the other quarterbacks for a few weeks now with the voluntary offseason workout program. The Patriots offensive coordinator stressed it's all about getting better this time of year.
"I'm really looking for each, well look, what we're trying to do as a staff is improve each player that we have the ability to work with and so our goal is to teach, to refine techniques and fundamentals," he said. "And to make the players better at their individual positions that they play, and then hopefully collectively, we're going to improve as a unit. What we're really hoping for from each guy and looking to see as we go through the spring is just some progress. And are we making progress in the areas that we have targeted to teach and to work to work in? Whether that's passing game, protection, run game, routes, reads, protection, you know, whatever it might be, there's a lot of things that we obviously need to do better.
"There's certainly a lot of things that we can improve on from last season and for all the young players that I've ever had a chance to work with in OTAs, to me, what you want to try to do in the spring is also lay a foundation so that when they come to training camp, it's maybe the third time that they've heard the material. So you hear it one time in rookie mini camp, you hear it a second time and in Phase 2/OTA's. And maybe even here if you're lucky enough, you hear it a third time in OTAs. And then you come to training camp, and so it's the fourth time and you're sitting there saying, ‘OK, I know this. I know this material and now I can go out and actually play and compete with the other guys on the roster.’
"So all the young guys, it's a great opportunity for them to try to even the playing field as best they can in terms of information. They're never going to catch up totally to the veteran players that have been in the system. Just in a handful of weeks in the spring. But they're going to do the best they can, and we're going to do the same thing."
The Patriots will have another OTA session Friday and it will be open to the media.