Top draft prospect shares great story about Mac Jones' leadership


It's been a rough six months for Mac Jones, but there are still plenty of people in the New England Patriots quarterback's corner.

That includes former Alabama outside linebacker Will Anderson Jr., who is projected as a top-10 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft and was a freshman during Jones' final season with the Crimson Tide in 2020.

Speaking to reporters Wednesday at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, Anderson recalled a vivid memory he had of Jones during a grueling portion of Alabama's practice called "fourth quarter."

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"True story: Mac Jones was a great teammate," Anderson told reporters, via Mass Live's Mark Daniels. "When I first got there, we were doing fourth quarter, 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? I didn’t even do anything.'

"But that just shows the type of leader he was and the type of person he was. And that just made me want to keep going even more."

There's actually photo evidence of a bloodied Jones from that 2020 practice, so we'll take Anderson at his word here.

Jones' strong leadership skills appeared to transfer to the NFL in 2021, as he beat out veteran Cam Newton for the Patriots' starting QB job during the preseason while drawing rave reviews from his teammates.

Jones is also a fierce competitor, however, and that competitive streak occasionally manifested itself in negative ways last season. The 24-year-old publicly displayed his frustration with the Patriots' offense several times throughout the season, drawing criticism from Patriots legend Julian Edelman, among others.

Then again, Jones' supporters would tell you the QB was put in a very difficult spot in 2022 working with two inexperienced offensive coaches in Matt Patricia and Joe Judge.

The Patriots addressed that issue this offseason by hiring veteran offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien, so it will be up to Jones to re-establish himself as a team leader and reward the faith of his current and former teammates.

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