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Right in the middle of the 2021 NFL Draft's first night, Patriots fans finally got their answer: who would the team select with the 15th overall pick? Enter: Mac Jones, a quarterback out of Alabama.
While there's much to learn about what Jones will bring to the team on the field, we are taking a look beyond football to introduce fans to the newest Patriot, so let's jump right in.
Coming from Alabama, Jones will be reuniting with former teammates Damien Harris and Anfernee Jennings in Foxborough. In his first meeting with New England media, Jones said that Harris was one of his best friends, and it didn't take long after the pick was made to confirm.
On Twitter, Harris shared a gif of the two pals doing an elaborate handshake in their Alabama days, and on Instagram, he shared a post from 2018 to his story, in which Harris playfully called Jones his son. So it's safe to say the bond is strong.
Jones even went as far to say that he and Harris were texting before the draft and he was secretly hoping he would land with the Patriots when all was said and done.
While at Alabama, Jones came to be known as "The Joker," a nod to the legendary Batman villain. In an article on NFL.com, his former teammates and coaches describe Jones as a "ham," "goofball," and "comfortable in his own skin," despite sitting lower in the depth chart early in his collegiate career. His huge smile earned him the nickname, but Jones eventually let the "badass Joker" out, according to a former teammate, showing his grit.
"The Joker" may have been gifted to Jones by his teammates, but his unique middle name, McCorkle, came from his mother's side of the family. McCorkle is his mother, Holly's, maiden name, and so her family name lives on with her son. His competitive nature is also in the family's blood. Jones's dad, Gordon, played collegiate and professional tennis.
By all accounts, Jones is someone who doesn't give up, even in the face of his own mistakes and disappointments. He took his biggest mistake while at Alabama and used it to launch himself in a new direction. As a redshirt freshman, Jones was arrested for driving under the influence, something he said he addressed with every team he spoke to before the NFL Draft. Having been granted grace and a chance to prove himself, Jones owned up to it and used this as an opportunity to change, often spending Saturday nights at an indoor football complex to work on his craft, according to AL.com.
This fire to do better and be better led to him landing the starting role after Tua Tagovailoa injured his hip in 2019 and declared for the Draft in 2020. Jones led his team to victory in the 2021 College Football Playoff National Championship.
He also dove into extracurriculars at Alabama, coaching a sorority flag football team and serving on both the Student-Athlete Advisory and Alabama Football Academic Committees. As a student, Jones landed on the President's and Dean's Lists, as well as multiple academic honors societies, according to his website.
Those tuning into the first night of the NFL Draft on Thursday probably saw a bit of Jones's dual intense and goofball energies in two meme-able moments. The first, an hour before the draft, was a quick wink to the camera with a calm, cool and collected demeanor. The second was his walk to the stage after his name was called with a style that was quickly compared to his now current coach, Bill Belichick.
It certainly seems like there are many facets to Jones, including his stint as a child model and working on his Mandarin. Time will only tell what else Patriots fans will learn as he grows in New England.