Patriots sticking with Cam as starter after drafting Mac Jones

Erick W. Rasco / Sports Illustrated / Getty

The New England Patriots may have landed their quarterback of the future Thursday night after drafting Mac Jones 15th overall, but in the present, Cam Newton remains the guy under center.

"Cam's our quarterback," Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said in his post-draft press conference. "Whatever time Jarrett (Stidham) or Mac 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."

The Patriots selected a quarterback in the first round for the first time since 1993. Belichick was happy to add a signal-caller from national championship-winning Alabama.

"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," Belichick said of Jones. "It's obviously going to take a lot of time. We'll see how it goes."

Jones dazzled in his final collegiate season, completing 77.4% of his passes for 4,500 yards and 41 touchdowns with just four interceptions.

There was plenty of pre-draft speculation that Jones could go as high as third overall to the San Francisco 49ers. Belichick wouldn't tip his hand as to whether he considered trading up for the quarterback.

"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," Belichick said.

"We don't usually go into the draft with a lot of expectations, and, obviously, I missed a lot of those mock drafts, so I'm not really that familiar with where everyone was going. Just try to do the best we can to help our football team and that's what we did today."

In the Patriots' first season in the post-Tom Brady era, Newton went 7-8 as a starter, throwing for 2,657 yards, eight touchdowns, and 10 interceptions while adding 12 rushing scores. New England re-signed him in March to a heavily incentivized one-year, $5.1-million contract.

Stidham was a fourth-round pick in the 2019 draft. He's seen limited time in eight games during his career.

Patriots sticking with Cam as starter after drafting Mac Jones
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