By: Jack Kelly, Bridgewater State University Class of 2023
There’s a new sheriff in town in New England, and his name is Mac Jones. After the Patriots announced the release of former MVP QB Cam Newton it was inevitable that the rookie first round pick out of Alabama had won the starting job. Jones was selected with the 15th overall pick of this year’s NFL Draft and will have the first start of his NFL career on Sunday against the Miami Dolphins.
In his only full season as a starter at Alabama, Jones took the college football world by storm. In 13 starts, Jones totaled 4500 passing yards and also added 41 passing touchdowns to only 4 interceptions on way to winning the National Championship. Jones was also historically efficient as he had a completion percentage of 77.4% and a passing efficiency rating of 203.1, which set a new NCAA record.
In the pre-draft process, Mac’s high football IQ and his ability to quickly read a defense and get the ball into his playmaker’s hands really impressed scouts. He isn’t as mobile as you would like a QB in today’s NFL, but he is a willing runner when it’s necessary and proved in college he could make the plays to win when he had to. The most important trait that Jones possessed was his ability to be safe with the ball in his hands and the fact that he won’t take unnecessary risks downfield.
Being drafted to the New England Patriots, Mac Jones went to the best possible spot for his career. He gets paired with the best coach of all time in Bill Belichick that just coached two decades with a quarterback with similarities in playstyle to himself, and a good defense which will allow him to play to his strengths and be the best QB he possibly can be.
We saw many of that this preseason, as Jones was graded by Pro Football Focus as the highest graded passer in the preseason since they began tracking in 2013. He completed 36 of his 52 throws this preseason for 388 yards and a touchdown (with no interceptions). The job was not only won in the preseason games themselves, but the rookie had many stellar days at camp throwing the ball. Included in that was a day against the Giants starting defense, where Jones completed 21 of 23 passes and 14 consecutive at one point with a pair of scores.
Not that the preseason is always a sign of things to come in the regular season, but it appears that the Patriots are the perfect fit for Mac Jones. Not only do they have history working with a high IQ quarterback who lacks mobility, but he fits in well with the type of offense that Josh McDaniels wants to run this season. The short passing game will be a vocal point of the offense, and the additions of tight ends Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry will give the rookie two nice security blanket options. I fully expect Mac Jones to be in the conversation for the Rookie of the Year Award, and I expect the New England Patriots to be right back in playoff contention.