Former Alabama quarterback Mac Jones was introduced as a New England Patriot at a windy Gillette Stadium Friday afternoon.
"I want to play whatever role I have to play and do it to the best of my ability," Jones told reporters.
The team selected Jones with the No. 15 pick of the NFL draft on Thursday night, their biggest move to date, to bring in a player to be a potential long-term replacement for Tom Brady.
"The field looks great, the stadium looks great, I'm thrilled to be here," Jones said.
He was the first quarterback selected in the first round during Bill Belichick's 21-year tenure in New England; the last quarterback picked by the Patriots picked in the first round was Drew Bledsoe.
Jones, who played under Belichick's longtime friend and former coaching colleague Nick Saban, earned the Davey O'Brien Award in 2020 as the top quarterback in college football.
"I look toward to working with him. He’s a smart kid. He’s been in a system that’s similar to ours," Belichick said. "We’ve had a lot of good conversations with him and I think he’ll be able to process the offense."
Jones arrives in New England coming off a season that saw him lead Alabama to a national title while completing an NCAA-record 77.4% of his passes for 4,500 yards, 41 touchdowns and only four interceptions.
"You learn from people that are in similar situations to you," Jones said, speaking of his experience as a backup under current NFL quarterbacks Jalen Hurts and Tua Tagovailoa. "That's looking in the past. Now, it's what are you going to do with the opportunity in front of you?"
He joins a Patriots team that is in transition after finishing 7-9 in 2020 and missing the playoffs for the first time since 2008. One of the biggest reasons was Cam Newton's struggles to get his footing in the offense after taking over for Brady following his departure in free agency to Tampa Bay.
Newton was re-signed this offseason but returns on only a one-year deal. His backup last season, Jarrett Stidham, was beaten out for the starting job and has underwhelmed in limited action during his first two years in the league.
Jones becomes the 10th consecutive player to win the O'Brien award and be selected in the first round of NFL draft. He is also the third former Crimson Tide quarterback to be chosen in the first round since 1967, following Tua Tagovailoa (taken fifth in 2020) and Richard Todd (sixth in in 1976).
"I got drafted by a great organization. I'm just looking forward to going in there, working hard, learning from a great quarterback room and then taking coaching from you know great coaches," Jones said. "It's going to be awesome."
He discussed a prior experience in Boston -- he got a Crocs shoe stuck in an escalator while leaving for a cruise, but thinks he'll have better experiences ahead.
Asked what Patriots fans should know about it, Jones couldn't think of anything in particular.
"There's nothing secret about me or anything. I mean, I'm super-competitive, I want to be a great teammate here ... I think there's a lot of guys here who understand that it's all about the team, and I'm that guy," he said.