Nothing riles up NFL fans more than seeing what jersey numbers their favorite players are donning each season. However, in the case of Mac Jones, his number may be met with some confusion.
So far during Patriots training camp, Jones — the 15th overall selection by New England — has been wearing a rather unusual number. The former Alabama quarterback is wearing No. 50, unusual for a quarterback to wear at any point, even in training camp.
Why is Jones wearing such a high number? And will it change before his preseason debut on Thursday against the Washington Football Team? Here’s everything you need to know about Jones’ jersey situation ahead of the 2021 NFL preseason and regular season.
Why is Mac Jones wearing No. 50 during Patriots training camp?
Jones is wearing the No. 50 jersey as part of a Patriots training camp tradition. As explained by AL.com, Bill Belichick and his staff assign the No. 50 jersey to the first rookie selected in the draft every year. The second rookie selected dons the No. 51 jersey, and so on. This process continues until all drafted rookies have jersey numbers. The exceptions to this rule are the Nos. 56 and 57 jerseys: No. 56 hasn’t been worn since Andre Tippett retired in 1993, while the 57 jersey is retired in honor of Steve Nelson.
Following this process, undrafted rookies are assigned the remaining numbers in alphabetical order.
These are the numbers each of the Patriots’ eight drafted rookies will wear during training camp:
|51||Christian Barmore||Defensive tackle|
|52||Ronnie Perkins||Edge rusher|
|53||Rhamondre Stevenson||Running back|
|58||William Sherman||Offensive tackle|
|59||Tre Nixon||Wide receiver|
So, as odd as it is to see a quarterback in the No. 50 jersey, it’s par for the course in Patriots camp. And certainly, that number won’t belong to Jones for long.
Will Mac Jones wear No. 50 during the preseason?
Jones will not wear No. 50 once the 2021 NFL preseason kicks off. At that point, he will have to wear one of the numbers within the designated range for quarterbacks, which is 1-19. So he’ll only be No. 50 during the early stages of training camp.
What number will Mac Jones wear during the 2021 season?
As mentioned, Jones will have the option of any number 1-19 during the 2021 NFL season. However, 13 Patriots players have already claimed jersey numbers within that designation. They are as follows:
|2||Jalen Mills||Defensive back|
|9||Matthew Judon||Edge Rusher|
|13||Nelson Agholor||Wide receiver|
|15||N’Keal Harry||Wide receiver|
|17||Kristian Wilkerson||Wide receiver|
|18||Matthew Slater||Wide receiver|
|19||Isaiah Zuber||Wide receiver|
So, that leaves Jones with the choice of 3, 10, 11, 12, 14 or 16 for his jersey. However, we can almost certainly eliminate the No. 12 jersey considering Tom Brady wore that number during his time with the Patriots.
So, 3, 10, 11, 14 or 16 are Jones’ likely options. Jones wore the No. 10 jersey during his time at Alabama, so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him don that with the Patriots as well.