MOBILE, Ala. — Two of the top quarterbacks in the draft — Mac Jones of Alabama and Wake Forest’s Jamie Newman — confirmed Thursday they met with the Patriots while here for the Senior Bowl.
Jones, who led the Crimson Tide to the national championship earlier this month, said he met with New England’s scouts Wednesday night.
“I sat down at their table and we had a good conversation. We talked and they got to know me really well,” Jones said after the American team’s practice. “The Patriots were really cool and asked some really good questions.’'
Jones’s status for Saturday’s Senior Bowl is in question after he tweaked his left ankle while scrambling and came up gimpy during a red-zone drill.
“I kind of rolled my ankle a little bit,” said Jones, who indicated he will seek treatment before making a final determination on playing. “I didn’t get to finish [practice] and I don’t want to risk it at this point.’'
Newman, who transferred to Georgia last year, then opted out of the season, said he had a “formal interview” with the Patriots.
“I met with them, had a great interview, I was just being myself and they asked some really good questions and I like that organization a lot,” said Newman.
Arkansas quarterback Feleipe Franks said after the National team’s practice he had “not yet” spoken with the Patriots.
▪ Observations from National team practice:
Arizona State receiver Frank Darby had another strong day, with his one-handed snag in the back of the end zone from Ian Book his highlight moment.
Love the hate: Ohio State linebacker Justin Hilliard and Michigan fullback Ben Mason locked horns several times during one-on-ones and took their aggressive activities well past the whistle. Their battles evened out and the respect was evident.
Mason had a nice day. In addition to the aforementioned toughness, he made several nice safety valve catches from Book and Sam Ehlinger.
Book capped an excellent week with a ton of nice throws — back-to-back TDs to tight end John Bates, the Darby toss, and a tight TD throw to Cade Johnson among them. His best play, however, came when he improvised after a low snap and scrambled into the end zone — drawing a huge reaction from his offensive linemen.
Johnson (South Dakota State) and center Quinn Meinerz (Wisconsin-Whitewater) were the two best “small school” players this week. They weren’t overwhelmed at all.
Minnesota corner Benjamin St. Juste had two great anticipatory pass breakups.
Massive Pittsburgh DE Patrick Jones II had his best day of practice this week, nicely setting the edge against the run. He would have piled up some numbers had tackling been allowed.
Notre Dame receiver Ben Skowronek missed practice and was spotted on crutches with a walking boot on his right foot. Wake Forest receiver Sage Surratt also did not participate.
▪ Observations from American team practice:
Jones led an exceptional two-minute drive to open the practice. He was cool and in command, hitting several receivers before scrambling for the score.
LSU safety JaCoby Stevens picked off Jones during a 7-on-7 drill.
Alabama-Birmingham receiver Austin Watkins Jr. showed great concentration on a touchdown catch. Falling backward as he made the catch, his helmet popped off when he hit the turf but he held on to the ball.
Central Florida safety Richie Grant was immense, twice picking off Newman, including one in the end zone. He’s had a nose for the ball all week.
Another name to remember: Cam Sample. The Tulane defensive lineman has a lightning-quick first step and continually made his presence felt in individual and team drills.
Tennessee offensive lineman Trey Smith (6 feet 6 inches, 330 pounds) was a beast during individual trench drills.
Georgia DL Malik Herring showed up to practice on crutches with a sleeve on his right leg.
Words to play by
Dolphins coach Brian Flores delivered a tried-and-true message to his National team at the conclusion of Thursday’s practice. “You’re only as good as your durability and availability — not your ability,” said Ohio State defensive end Jonathon Cooper. “You can be the greatest player ever but if you can’t get on the field and help the team win, then you’re worth nothing.” … The lead bus carrying some members of the National team was rear-ended by the other bus carrying team members en route to practice. It was a minor bump and there were no injuries or delay in the practice … Song of the Day: “It Takes Two” from Rob Base and DJ EZ Rock (not sure any of the players knew that ’80s banger, but they were grooving just the same) … Helmet of the week goes to Tulane. The Green Wave come up with some clean duds.