Mac Jones, Ernest Jones head list of Jacksonville-area NFL Draft selections

Clayton Freeman
Florida Times-Union
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Alabama quarterback Mac Jones (10) carries the ball against Notre Dame during the Rose Bowl.

The Jacksonville area's message to the rest of the NFL Draft: It's not easy to keep up with the Joneses.

Former Bolles quarterback Mac Jones and former Ware County linebacker Ernest Jones led the list of locals selected from Thursday through Saturday in the 2021 NFL Draft.

In all, three players from Northeast Florida and Southeast Georgia entered the NFL ranks through the seven-round draft, with Trinity Christian graduate Shaun Wade going to the Ravens Saturday.

Heading the list was former Bolles standout Mac Jones, who went to New England — now a full year removed from the Tom Brady era at Foxborough — at No. 15 overall. Jones helped Alabama to the national championship last season while finishing as a finalist for the Heisman Trophy.

More:Former Bolles QB Mac Jones waits and watches, then gets picked by the New England Patriots

He's the highest-drafted quarterback in Northeast Florida history, the highest-drafted football player from Bolles in history and the highest-drafted player from any school within Jacksonville's city limits since Washington picked Raines wideout Rod Gardner at No. 15 in 2001.

The Los Angeles Rams drafted South Carolina's Ernest Jones in the third round at No. 103 overall on Friday night.

Jones led South Carolina in tackles with 86 for the second consecutive season this year, becoming a semifinalist for the Butkus Award. He also becomes the highest-drafted player from Ware County since cornerback Leodis McKelvin went to the Buffalo Bills at No. 11 in the 2008 NFL Draft.

Ohio State cornerback Shaun Wade (24) breaks up a pass against Nebraska in October.

It took until Saturday's fifth round to stop the draft slide of Wade, who went to Baltimore at No. 160. Wade, the Times-Union's All-First Coast defensive player of the year at Trinity in 2016 and an All-Big Ten defensive back at Ohio State, fell to the fifth round.

Wade, viewed a year ago as a potential first-rounder, won the conference's defensive back of the year award, but endured a string of injuries and a difficult College Football Playoff against national champion Alabama.

Still, he enters the history books as one of the highest-selected players in Trinity history, joining a team with a long track record of defensive success and a strong career mark at Ohio State, including six interceptions and 18 pass defenses.

The transactions aren't necessarily finished for area players. Teams will be continuing to sign undrafted free agents during the coming days.

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