NFL DRAFT

Bill Belichick on Mac Jones, QBs: ‘Cam’s our QB … whatever time Jarrett or Mac are ready to challenge and compete, then we’ll see how that goes’

Partial Bill Belichick press conference transcript, courtesy Patriots Media Relations. Full transcript is here.

"... So, Mac was available there at our pick and he's a guy we spent a lot of time with and felt like that was the best pick at that time for us. And look forward to working with him. He's a smart kid. He's been in a system that's similar to ours. We have had a lot of good conversations with him. I think he'll be able to process the offense. It's obviously going to take a lot of time. We'll see how it goes.

"Cam [Newton]'s our quarterback. Whatever position, whatever time Jarrett [Stidham] or Mac [Jones] are ready to challenge and compete, then we'll see how that goes. But right now, Mac, he's just got a lot of learning in front of him. I know he's very anxious to get going on it and get started and so we'll start trying to give him material to work on and be ready for the rookie mini-camp in the second week of May, and then on to the rookie development program and so forth. So should be a good opportunity for him to be able to Mac there, certainly better than what we had last year. So look forward to that. And tomorrow we're going to have a pick in each round, have some extra picks the third day of the draft, so we'll see how all that plays out, but just kind of go back tonight and tomorrow, reset the board and get ready for tomorrow just like we did today. So that's kind of where we are.

Q: I wanted to ask you how much Coach Nick Saban's input went into your decision to draft Mac tonight?

BB: Well, I talked to Coach Saban and some of the other coaches down there. I talked to those guys, and every year they always have a lot of players in the draft every year and Coach Saban's always very helpful in his evaluations. I have a tremendous amount of respect for Nick professionally, but also personally, and so we have always had great conversations about his experiences with the players and he does a good job of projecting what they would be like on this level because he's been on this level and knows the differences and knows the demands that are different from what they are at Alabama. So Nick's great. He's a great resource and nobody knows more football than Nick does on any level. So whether it's evaluating players or scheming or anything else, game planning, there's nobody I enjoy talking to more than Nick.

Q: Going back a few months here, you were speaking generally about quarterback play in December and had said accuracy obviously is vitally important. Decision making and anticipation, to you, were bigger parts of the position and I'm wondering when you looked at Mac and his game, how much did anticipation, if at all, separate him in that regard when you're considering the other quarterbacks who went tonight?

BB: Well, again, there are multiple components to all those things and the things you just mentioned and those characteristics are important, as are a lot of other ones. So I think, look, at this point we're just going to have to see, like we do with every new player, every new draft choice, see how those things transfer to the National Football League, to the speed, to the athleticism and instinctiveness and awareness of the players that any player's competing against on the other side of the ball, whether it's quarterback or any other position. So we'll see how all those things play out, and look forward to helping the rookies, the new players, this year come in and learn and become familiar with terminology, with techniques, whether it be rules or things that are different in the college game coming from the pro game, try to help them with all those things and see how they do with it. So that's, it's really, at this point the process is a lot more about going forward than it is about looking back.

Q: One of the things that Nick said publicly about Mac Jones is that he has very good visualization of not only what his players were doing but how defenses would react and I'm curious how that came across to you, that ability to kind of maybe pre-snap to have a conception in his mind, but also to be able with his eyes to anticipate and see plays unfold and if that's unusual for a quarterback coming out of the college level?

BB: Again, I think players are at different levels on those things. Obviously any player at Alabama, certainly the quarterbacks at Alabama, are very well coached. They understand the offensive design of the play. They understand the defensive adjustments and the weaknesses and strengths of different fronts and coverages and how to anticipate and read blitzes and all that. So any player coming out of that Alabama team that has had that kind of exposure is going to be pretty well prepared for that. But this is a different level and the things that happen in the National Football League are, again, they're, we have more time, we have more scheme, the players are more advanced physically, they have much more experience, and so what's going to happen at this level is going to be more complex and faster and more difficult than what happened at the last level, just like going from high school to college. So that takes some time, that takes some adjusting to. Was he good at it in college? Yeah, I mean, everybody that was drafted today was good in college. You don't go in the first round if you don't have a high level of performance at the level they're at. So how that moves ahead, we'll see. We got a lot of work to do, but we're looking forward to getting with it and looking forward to working with Mac. I know he's looking forward to it. It's a big challenge. It's a long road. It's a big grind. But that's what we all signed up for. So we're excited to move in that direction, but we all have a long way to go, so we need to learn what he can do. He needs to learn a lot about professional football and refine his fundamentals and techniques. We need to coach all the other players as well. So, again, I just see this as a big process going forward for all of us. But, again, we're anxious and excited to get it moving. We're getting closer. We're a couple weeks through the off-season program and in a couple more weeks we'll be able to start activities with the players on the field and get to rookie mini-camp and get to rookie development program and just move things further ahead. In the meantime, we'll do what we can do in other ways virtually and so forth.

Q: Going back to your comments off the top, you said that Cam's our quarterback. What exactly does that mean?

BB: Just what I said.

Q: Just that, I mean, if, when you start practice, he'll be the first guy back there, that's the starter, how long does that last for?

BB: I don't know. Somebody would have to play better than he does.