Maybe Mac Jones doesn’t have the type of measurables of the new age quarterback in the NFL.
Maybe he’s not an athletic and mobile quarterback like Justin Fields, who the Patriots had a chance to move up the board to get.
Maybe Jones comes across as just another guy at the position. A quarterback who’s not going to excite the masses.
Maybe the overwhelming view of the pick is a thumbs down.
Jones just might fool you.
The Patriots, who didn’t have to surrender any assets to land him from the top pool of quarterbacks, were able to take him in their assigned spot at No. 15, and they took him for a reason.
While he’s not Tom Brady, watching Jones play, and getting to know him, had to remind the Patriots of the greatest quarterback of all time.
No, he’s not Brady. But it’s hard not to think of No. 12 when seeing what Jones brings to the table.
He’s a pocket passer. He fits like a glove when it comes to many of the traits the Patriots appreciate in quarterbacks. He fits like a warm blanket, based on what’s been successful for the Patriots over the past two decades at the position.
More important, he can play.
Sure, people are going to be skeptical, because he played for one of the best college programs in the country. Two of his receivers were taken in the top 10. His running back won’t be far behind.
Anyone could have been successful with all the talent Jones had around him.
Maybe some of that is true, but it’s short-changing Jones to chalk up all of his success, which includes winning a national championship, to being a game manager for a group of superstars.
If you actually watch his tape, there’s so much more to Jones, and much more nuance when it comes to playing the position.
He’s ahead of the class when it comes to his quick release, how he moves his feet in the pocket, not to mention his brain.
When he goes under center, or is in the shotgun, he knows what he’s seeing from the defense. And he knows it instantly.
Those are some of the traits that made Brady great, as well as the traits the Patriots look for in a quarterback.
“They found their starting quarterback, and he fits the way they do things,” NBC analyst and former Patriot Rodney Harrison said, via text. “I still believe there’s plenty room for a smart quarterback that is accurate as heck and makes great decisions.”
Pocket passers seem to be going the way of the dinosaur in the NFL. It’s a mobile quarterback’s world. And not moving up for Ohio State’s Fields will have some scratching their head. The Bears leapt up ahead of the Patriots into the No. 11 spot, trading with the Giants to land Fields.
Jones won’t make plays with his feet, like Fields, Trey Lance and others. But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have a good feel for the pocket. He does. He displays great pocket presence and awareness.
He’s also incredibly accurate and he’s smart enough to be able to know how to use his eyes to manipulate coverage. On the short to intermediate routes that are staples of the Patriots offense, he’s lights out.
Basically, he’s a perfect fit in the Patriots offense. And, of all the quarterbacks, he’s the readiest to step in. No doubt Bill Belichick’s friend Nick Saban passed along his endorsement.
Moreover, Jones will be the hardest worker in the building. It’s also interesting to note Jones didn’t transfer, instead waiting for both Jalen Hurts and Tua Tagovailoa to leave before getting his chance.
But he was certainly ready when his time came.
So basically, the Patriots went back to the well. They went with the type of quarterback with which they’re extremely familiar.
Does that mean he’ll start over Cam Newton?
Maybe not right away, but Newton’s now on notice. He’s been working hard all offseason to try and fix some of the problems that plagued him last season.
But even with Newton and Jarrett Stidham in the stable, Patriots owner Robert Kraft didn’t seem like he was satisfied with the quarterback situation when speaking with the media earlier in the month.
“Look, the quarterback is the most important position on the team. We know that,” Kraft said. “He touches the ball over 70 times (per game), so one way or another we have to get that position solidified. In the end I trust coach Belichick’s ability to build a team and put the right players in the best position to succeed.”
Jones is the first quarterback Belichick has ever taken in the first round. Along with the fit, Jones also sounds the part. He sounds like he was destined to be a Patriot. Yes, he’s studied Brady, and knows all about the Patriot Way.
“In watching them the past years, they do everything right. It’s all about the team. That’s kind of what I grew up knowing is being a good teammate and then obviously winning,” Jones said during his media session. “New England’s done that, but they don’t look in the past, they just look in the future, so we got to just focus on trying to win games and then take it day by day and eventually you’ll win a lot of games.
“So, I’m just looking forward to getting in there and meeting my new teammates and seeing what happens from there.”
He is the future, who champions the same look of the past.