BOSTON (CBS) — For the first time ever, Bill Belichick drafted a quarterback in the first round of the NFL draft. That quarterback is now on the practice fields in Foxboro … wearing the No. 50.

It looks strange.

Of course, Mac Jones will not be No. 50 when the real season — or when the real preseason — begins. For one, quarterbacks can’t wear numbers in the 50s. For two, it looks ridiculous.

But if you saw photos of Jones on the practice field and wondered why he was wearing the number of a linebacker or a third-string offensive lineman, it’s because of a practice the Patriots have employed for several years now.

Instead of just giving rookies their jersey numbers, they give them ugly numbers in the 50s and 60s, depending upon when they were drafted or signed as undrafted free agents.

So with Jones being the Patriots’ top pick, he gets the No. 50.

You may recall N’Keal Harry or Isaiah Wynn — the Patriots’ top picks in 2019 and 2018, respectively — sporting No. 50 in recent years:

We haven’t seen photos of Christian Barmore yet, but he’ll be in No. 51. Ronnie Perkins could be seen wearing No. 52. Tre Nixon — the Patriots’ eighth and final pick from the draft — was wearing No. 59 in the pictures shared by the team. Why that wasn’t No. 57 isn’t known, but it also doesn’t matter. If Nixon makes the team, he won’t be rocking a number in the 50s.

On the positive side for Mac Jones, the jersey No. 10 — which he wore at Alabama — is available. Damiere Byrd wore the No. 10 jersey last year, but departed via free agency in the offseason. It was previously worn by Josh Gordon and, of course, Jimmy Garoppolo.

It feels safe to assume that Jones will make the squad. And assuming he liked 10 for a reason in Tuscaloosa, he just might be wearing that same number in Foxboro.

But for now, just like the rest of the rookie class, he’s got to earn that number.

CBSBoston.com Staff