Morning Sports Update

Ian Rapoport explained how the Patriots project Mac Jones’ NFL potential

"If they missed him, it would be a poorly calculated gamble, but they didn’t."

Mac Jones Patriots
Mac Jones. Steven Senne/AP

The Red Sox won another back-and-forth clash with Atlanta on Wednesday night, 10-7. The decisive moment came from Christian Arroyo’s pinch-hit grand slam in the top of the seventh inning that gave Boston the lead for good:

Ian Rapoport on the Patriots’ pre-draft evaluation of Mac Jones: After picking Alabama quarterback Mac Jones 15th overall in the 2021 NFL Draft, the Patriots are now in the process of integrating the rookie into the team’s system as the offseason programs continue.

But prior to Jones’s selection on draft night, uncertainty surrounded exactly what Bill Belichick would do with the pick.

In a recent interview with WEEI’s “The Greg Hill Show,” NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport shared some additional information on how New England views its rookie, and why the Patriots didn’t feel the need to trade up for a player that some had viewed as a possible top-10 pick.

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“They didn’t trade up because I believe, obviously the Patriots have pretty good information, they knew they didn’t need to,” Rapoport explained.

According to Rapoport, the Vikings had interest in potentially selecting another quarterback who was still on the board after 10 picks (Justin Fields). Once Fields was selected by the Bears, “everyone knew the Vikings were going to bail because they were making calls to teams behind them to possibly move back.”

After Minnesota officially traded back, New England’s path to drafting Jones was open.

“To them it was really more of a value, like, ‘Why would we move up if we clearly don’t have to. We’re just going to wait,'” Rapoport noted. “And if they missed him, it would be a poorly calculated gamble, but they didn’t. They got him. So to me, that is just the Patriots having really good information and [predicting] the draft board falling as it did.”

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As for how the Patriots see Jones’s NFL potential, Rapoport cited Andy Dalton as a baseline.

“I know Mac was someone Bill Belichick was interested in, that the Patriots were interested in,” said Rapoport. “I know they liked him. I know at the very worst they believe Andy Dalton is sort of the floor, which Andy Dalton was a starter who led his team to the playoff for five years. Say whatever you want, but like he was a better than average quarterback for awhile. He wasn’t someone they were going to leap up for.”

Trivia: During his time at Alabama, Mac Jones played with four wide receivers who have since been selected in the first round of the NFL draft. Can you name all four?

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(Answer at the bottom).

Hint: They play for the Broncos, Dolphins, Eagles, and Raiders.

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On this day: In 2008, the Celtics ended the team’s championship drought thanks to a dominant 131-92 win over the Lakers in Game 6 of the NBA Finals to win the series, 4-2.

The “Big Three” of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Ray Allen delivered along with the team’s talented support cast, hitting a then-Finals record 52 3-pointers in the series.

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Afterward, Garnett was overcome by emotion and delivered an iconic quote: “Anything is possible.”

Daily highlight: Though he couldn’t prevent his team from being flattened 46-0, Xavier Coates of the Brisbane Broncos made a full-field tackle that Ben Watson and D.K. Metcalf would’ve been proud of.

Trivia answer: Jerry Jeudy, Jaylen Waddle, DeVonta Smith, and Henry Ruggs III

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