The Patriots sat at #15 and landed Alabama QB Mac Jones. A 1-year starter following the departure of Tua Tagovailoa, Jones went off for 4,500-41-4 last fall. His 84.2% adjusted completion rate led the nation. While Jones played with top-tier talent (Devonta Smith, Jaylen Waddle, Najee Harris), his accuracy was on point at all levels of the field. Per Pro Football Focus, Jones even led the nation in deep yards (1,355). The 6’3, 217-pounder brings below average athleticism, so don’t expect much rushing production in the pros. But his profile might have him as the 2nd most pro-ready passer in this draft, behind only Trevor Lawrence. Jones will battle QB Cam Newton for the starting job this summer. Our early money is on Jones being under center come Week 1.
Patriots QB Mac Jones capped off an impressive preseason by going 10 of 14 for 156 yards and 1 TD over 5 series in Sunday night's finale vs. the Giants. That came after QB Cam Newton got the start and struggled, completing just 2 of 5 passes for 10 yards and an INT on 2 series. Jones finishes the preseason with a 92.2 Pro Football Focus passing grade -- 2nd highest among 101 QBs that threw a pass. Newton finished 13th with a 78.0 grade. HC Bill Belichick declined to name a starter after the game. Newton might still get the Week 1 nod out of veteran deference. But expect to see Jones in there sooner than later. He looks ready.
ESPN's Mike Reiss says that through their 1st 2 padded practices, the Patriots' offense looks like it's "running two separate attacks" with its top 2 QBs. Cam Newton's version obviously features plenty of read-option, while rookie Mac Jones "looks like he's running the more traditional Patriots passing offense." Pat Kirwan of Sirius XM -- and a former NFL scout and front-office man -- adds: "He's more what Josh [McDaniels] wants to do, and how he's done it in the past. ... I wouldn't be surprised if by October we see [him] under center." According to Reiss, this all followed arguably Jones' best day of camp, and a pair of days in which he garnered significantly more reps than Newton. The rookie beginning to work his way past the vet -- whom Bill Belichick has called the starter -- doesn't make Jones attractive as a fantasy option. But the switch would certainly add upside to Patriots receiving options. Jones would also likely be better for RB Damien Harris' goal-line outlook.
Update: We should note here that Ben Volin of the Boston Globe writes, "Anyone watching practice can tell Newton is the clear, unequivocal starter." Volin adds that Newton leads off every drill and that many of Jones' reps come with backups, rookies and scout-team players. We'll see where this situation goes.
After watching spring practices, The Boston Globe's Ben Volin believes Patriots QB Mac Jones still has "a long way to go" to beat out QB Cam Newton for the starting job. Even with Newton sidelined the past week with his hand injury, Jones worked behind QBs Jarrett Stidham and Brian Hoyer. “There’s a lot going on in my brain,” Jones admitted. “You’re trying to see everything; sometimes you see too much or whatever, and then you see nothing. I have to figure out in this offense how I can break down the plays, what’s my job, what I have to do on this specific play and slot the plays individually. I did that obviously good in college or whatever, but this is the pros and I have to figure out how to do it here. So that’s what I’m going to do.” We'll see how much ground Jones can make up in training camp and preseason action, but bet on Newton being under center for New England come Week 1.
Based on our award-winning projections, an axis of data points give insights far deeper than a rankingView Our Accuracy Awards »
Round-by-Round Draft Strategy Guides, Sleepers, Undervalued Players, Busts and Handcuffs
Command your entire draft with a dynamic tool synced to your league. Updating and adapting in real time.
Quickly find the free-agent gems, pull the trigger on the perfect trade & make the right start/sit decisions.
$6/month thereafter, billed semi-annually, one-click cancel anytime.