Mac Jones is about to enter his third NFL season but that doesn't mean his impact isn't still being felt in the college ranks and this week in Indianapolis a number of this year's prospects credited Mac not only for providing guidance and advice on the draft process but also his competitive drive that consistently showed up.
"The main thing was just the way Mac competed in practice," said safety Jordan Battle, who saw plenty of action against Mac during the Crimson Tide's practice sessions. "It was fun every day. I know when I first got there (in 2019), Mac was on scout (team), and I seen 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."
Battle again referenced Mac when asked about who among his opponents had the sharpest tongue.
"The best trash-talker I faced at Alabama? Slick Mac Jones. I'll take Mac Jones. Probably the best trash-talker," said Battle, adding, "It was just like some slick stuff. Like, he'd complete a pass, and he was like, 'Oh yeah, I'm coming at you every play.' OK, I like that. Keep coming. I'm gonna catch a pick one day."
On Friday, Alabama quarterback Bryce Young met with the media as the potential quarterback in this year's class, certain to follow in the first-round footsteps of his predecessor from two years ago. Young said that he had spoken to Jones in recent days as the Pats QB helped pass along some advice about handling the Combine and the draft process in general.
"He gave me a lot of great advice about how to carry yourself, things that he's learned... I'm super grateful for the guidance I've gotten from him," said Young.
Mac himself had an exemplary offseason in 2021, leading to his selection by the Patriots. After winning the national championship, Mac went directly to the Senior Bowl where he showed excellent command of a sample NFL offense and then threw at multiple Pro Days as he looked to offset the lack of a Combine in the spring of 2021.
Just as it did in college, Mac's competitiveness shined through and helped secure his draft status.
Another potential first-overall pick from Alabama, edge Will Anderson, also relayed an amusing story during the Combine highlighting Mac's toughness and competitiveness.
"True story: Mac Jones was a great teammate," said Anderson. "When I first got there, we were doing fourth quarter (Alabama's offseason program), and I had an earlier role. I think his nose was bleeding. He had a tissue in his nose. I was like, 'Oh, this joker's tough.'
"So I'm walking around. I'm dog tired. I'm like, 'Man, this is what Alabama football's about.' And he's walking, he walks up to me and he says, 'Stars don't matter here.' I was like, 'What did I do? (laughs) I didn't even do anything.'"
Now entering his third season, Jones is looking to lead the Patriots back to the playoffs and could find some new playmakers that have been on display this week in Indy joining his offense, including one that acknowledged his respect for Mac, Jaxon Smith-Njigba.
"Coach Belichick, he's, you know what type of franchise program they have over there," Smith-Njigba said. "So, it definitely would be awesome being in that system. Mac Jones, also a great arm talent. Great quarterback. Definitely would like playing there."
Check our favorite photos of Patriots quarterback Mac Jones from the 2022 season.