The New England Patriots’ season ended rather unceremoniously. They lost three of their last four in the regular season and got routed the Buffalo Bills in the AFC Wild Card Round.
But there’s still reason for optimism in Foxboro, thanks in large part to Mac Jones.
The No. 15 overall pick enjoyed a strong rookie season, completing 67.6% of his passes for 3,801 yards with 22 touchdown passes and 13 interceptions.
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While Jones appeared to hit a “rookie wall” late in the season, it’s important to put his campaign into context: The 23-year-old was just the 13th QB in NFL history to lead his team to the postseason in Year 1 (minimum 10 games started), and he was by far the most effective quarterback in the 2021 NFL Draft class, outperforming all four QBs taken in front of him (Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, Trey Lance and Justin Fields).
In fact, you could make the case that Jones was one of the NFL’s best rookies period in 2021. ESPN’s ranking of the league’s top 10 rookies supports that case: Jones trails only Dallas Cowboys pass rusher Micah Parsons on its list.
Here’s the top five of ESPN’s list, which drew on polls of league executives in addition to film study:
- Micah Parsons, ILB/DE, Dallas Cowboys
- Mac Jones, QB, New England Patriots