“It was an outstanding piece of work by Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots, and here’s why,” Tannenbaum raved on Friday’s episode of “Get Up” on ESPN. “You have two teams behind you in Washington and Pittsburgh that also need a quarterback. And if I’m them, I’m thinking about giving up a third-, maybe a fourth-round pick, even if I have to go up one spot to Minnesota to make sure that I get Mac Jones. The fact that they could get Mac Jones, who was in the debate to be a top-five pick, at 15 and give up no draft capital is remarkable. And I admire his patience, and it could not have worked out better for the Patriots.”
As expected, the top three picks were quarterbacks: Trevor Lawrence to the Jacksonville Jaguars, Zach Wilson to the New York Jets and Trey Lance to the San Francisco 49ers.
The Niners, who traded up from No. 12 to No. 3 in a pre-draft blockbuster with the Miami Dolphins, had been linked to Jones, but they ultimately opted for Lance, a less-experienced prospect with perhaps a higher ceiling and a lower floor.
From there, both Jones and Justin Fields slid, until the Chicago Bears traded up from No. 20 to No. 11 to select the Ohio State product. That essentially sealed Jones’ fate as New England’s first-round pick at No. 15, much to the delight of both him and Belichick — and to the admiration of Tannenbaum, who in the past served as the Jets’ general manager and the Dolphins’ executive vice president of football operations.
The NFL draft continues Friday night with Rounds 2 and 3 and Saturday with Rounds 4 through 7.
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