When the dust had settled after the first round of the 2021 NFL draft, five teams had added new quarterbacks. The Jaguars, Jets and 49ers made Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson and Trey Lance the first three picks of the draft. Chicago took Justin Fields with the 11th pick. And with the 15th pick of the draft, the New England Patriots selected Alabama quarterback Mac Jones, who starred in high school at the Bolles School.
Of all of the first-round pick quarterbacks, none have won more than one game as a starter in their first years in the NFL, but Jones is already winning praise from his teammates and coaches.
On Sunday, Jones dueled with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Tom Brady before New England fell 19-17 in a primetime matchup. For the season, Jones has completed 70 percent of his passes for 1,102 yards with four touchdowns and four interceptions. The numbers aren’t eye-popping, but his composure has earned him respect within the Patriots locker room.
“He’s got some guts,” said Patriots center David Andrews. “It’s an honor to get to play with a guy like that and we just got to find a way to win a football game. He battles and he’s a tough kid.”
Jones had a chance to upstage Brady in his return to Foxboro. Jones tossed a second-quarter touchdown pass to tight end Hunter Henry to give the Patriots a 7-3 lead. He opened the fourth quarter with a touchdown pass to Junnu Smith to give New England a 14-13 lead. Then, with less than five minutes remaining in the game, Jones drove the Patriots downfield for a go-ahead field goal, only to see Brady lead a field goal drive of his own to give the defending Super Bowl champions the win.
Jones finished the game 31/40 passing for 275 yards, two touchdowns, and a first-quarter interception. The loss for New England dropped the Patriots to 1-3 on the season.
“I think we moved in the right direction,” Jones said. “we made plays and played hard the whole game and I turned the ball over. That’s one of the problems in you know, turnovers can kill you. If you don’t turn the ball over, you have a 90 something percent chance to win. And it’s just statistics. And I thought everyone fought really hard and it sucks. We lost. But you got to look at it, that we’re making some progress.”
Here’s how Jones compares to the other rookie quarterback who have started games this year:
|Name, Team||Compl. %||Yards||TD/INT||Record|
|Mac Jones, New England Patriots||70||1,012||4/4||1-3|
|Trevor Lawrence, Jacksonville Jaguars||57||873||5/7||0-4|
|Zach Wilson, New York Jets||57||925||4/8||1-3|
|Justin Fields, Chicago Bears||48||247||0/2||1-1|
Note: Trey Lance has played in three games, but has not started a game for the San Francisco 49ers.