Patriots

ESPN reporter believes Patriots will be ‘sending a big thank-you note’ to 49ers for passing on Mac Jones

He's "made a strong first impression," according to Mike Reiss.

Patriots quarterback Mac Jones passes the ball during practice. Steven Senne/AP Photo

ESPN’s Mike Reiss believes there’s a strong chance the Patriots have found their long-term answer at quarterback in Mac Jones.

“I believe the Patriots will be sending a big thank-you note to the San Francisco 49ers for passing on Jones with the No. 3 overall draft pick,” Reiss wrote. “He slid all the way to New England at No. 15 and has made a strong first impression on coaches and players.”

Earlier this offseason, Reiss detailed how the Patriots are perceiving Jones.

“He has a swag to him that I didn’t know that he had at first,” receiver Kendrick Bourne said. “He’s out there confident, and that is what you need in a quarterback. Good energy, awesome guy, comes to work and you just can feel his energy and leadership already.”

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Reiss said that the Buffalo Bills currently have the best three-year outlook in the AFC East, but Jones’s promise could potentially shrink the gap. If Jones emerges as the QB of the future, as the Patriots are confident he can, New England’s three-year outlook could threaten Buffalo’s, he said. He didn’t specify whether he thinks Jones will start at any point this year.

Reiss said he thinks the Bills still have the overall edge this season, but he does believe the margin between Buffalo and New England has decreased. He said the Bills are still a game or two better than the next team, in his eyes.

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The Bills finished 13-3 last season, the Miami Dolphins 10-6, the Patriots 7-9, and the Jets 2-14. New England’s streak of 11 consecutive AFC East titles came to an end in 2020.

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