Patriots Depth Chart: Rookie Mac Jones On Rise At Quarterback

Could Mac Jones really compete to start with Cam Newton?

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The biggest revelation that came out of Thursday’s open organized team activities spring practice was the order of quarterback repetitions.

When the Patriots came together for team drills, rookie Mac Jones, not third-year pro Jarrett Stidham nor veteran Brian Hoyer, followed starter Cam Newton.

That could mean that Jones is second on the Patriots’ quarterback depth chart, or maybe, since it was the team’s third overall OTAs session, Stidham backed up Newton in the first practice, Hoyer took second reps on Day 2 and it was Jones’ turn to be the second-stringer Thursday.

Jones didn’t look out of place with the second-team offense, so we’d suspect that he’s at the very least in the running to back up Newton this season. If he’s already No. 2, that could mean that by the summer there’s a possibility he’s competing for the starting job.

Here’s a full look at the Patriots’ depth chart:

QUARTERBACK
Cam Newton
Mac Jones
Jarrett Stidham
Brian Hoyer

If Jones is the Patriots’ No. 2 QB (or the starter), Stidham could be moved either by trade or cut to keep another veteran — Hoyer — around to help mentor Jones.

RUNNING BACK
Damien Harris
James White
Sony Michel
J.J. Taylor
Rhamondre Stevenson
Brandon Bolden
Tyler Gaffney

It’s fairly easy to place Harris, White and Michel. It gets tricky after that. Stevenson, a 2021 fourth-round pick who wasn’t present for Thursday’s OTAs, could definitely beat out Taylor, a 2020 undrafted free agent who was in attendance. Michel also could be moved before the season after New England elected not to pick up his 2022 fifth-year option.

FULLBACK
Jakob Johnson
Dalton Keene

The Patriots will be using 12 personnel (one running back, two tight ends) as their base offense, so they could elect to keep another tight end (Keene) over a player like Johnson, who could pretty easily be slipped onto the practice squad for emergency purposes.

WIDE RECEIVER
Nelson Agholor, Jakobi Meyers
Kendrick Bourne
N’Keal Harry
Gunner Olszewski
Tre Nixon
Isaiah Zuber
Kristian Wilkerson
Devin Smith

Meyers was the Patriots’ leading receiver last season, so we can’t put him third on the depth chart despite the fact that Bourne signed a three-year, $15 million contract this offseason.

New England could use another wide receiver somewhere above Harry on this list. The depth drops off significantly after Bourne and again after Olszewski.

TIGHT END
Hunter Henry, Jonnu Smith
Devin Asiasi
Dalton Keene
Matt LaCosse
Troy Fumagalli

The biggest question here is whether the Patriots feel the need to keep four tight ends, meaning 2020 third-round picks Asiasi and Keene in addition to Henry and Smith.

LaCosse opted out for the 2020 season and probably lost his job on the 2021 roster in the process unless he looks significantly better than Asiasi and Keene.

OFFENSIVE LINE
LT Isaiah Wynn, LG Mike Onwenu, C David Andrews, RG Shaq Mason, RT Trent Brown
Ted Karras
Justin Herron
Korey Cunningham
James Ferentz
William Sherman
Marcus Martin
Yodny Cajuste
Alex Redmond

Cajuste, a 2019 third-round pick, was an afterthought at OTAs. Onwenu is essentially a starting guard and the Patriots’ top backup offensive tackle since he could slide to RT in the event of an injury. Brown has the ability to play on the left or right side. Karras is the team’s top backup. Herron is a swing tackle who might need two injuries on the starting offensive line to see the field regularly.

DEFENSIVE LINE
Lawrence Guy, Davon Godchaux
Deatrich Wise
Henry Anderson
Christian Barmore
Byron Cowart
Akeem Spence
Carl Davis
Montravius Adams
Nick Thurman
Bill Murray

Barmore wasn’t spotted at OTAs on Thursday, but he has the potential to be a starter in the Patriots’ defense. He has some ground to make up first, however.

EDGE DEFENDER
Matt Judon, Kyle Van Noy
Chase Winovich
Ronnie Perkins
Tashawn Bower
Rashod Berry

You could throw Wise, a defensive end, and some of the linebackers, like Josh Uche and Anfernee Jennings, into this deep group, as well. If the Patriots view Uche as more of an edge defender, Van Noy could move down a positional group on this list and start at linebacker.

LINEBACKER
Dont’a Hightower
Ja’Whaun Bentley
Josh Uche
Anfernee Jennings
Cameron McGrone
Raekwon McMillan
Terez Hall
Harvey Langi

We currently only have one starting linebacker, meaning the Patriots would be running a base dime defense for the second straight season with three cornerbacks and three safeties.

When New England plays nickel, Bentley would probably be the projected starter as of now, but Uche could pretty easily pass him by September. When the Patriots play a base 3-4, either Wise or Anderson could be a starter, as well.

CORNERBACK
Stephon Gilmore, JC Jackson, Jonathan Jones
Jalen Mills
Joejuan Williams
Myles Bryant
Mike Jackson
D’Angelo Ross
Dee Virgin

We have Mills listed as a cornerback and safety on this list, because he said Thursday that he still hasn’t received word where he’ll primarily play. He was a cornerback, slot, free safety and strong safety with the Philadelphia Eagles. The Patriots could use him as depth in all of those roles.

SAFETY
Kyle Dugger, Devin McCourty, Adrian Phillips
Jalen Mills
Adrian Colbert
Joshuah Bledsoe

Dugger looks ready for a starting job after his rookie season in 2020. Phillips doesn’t deserve to lose his starting spot, so he could continue to play a hybrid role as a linebacker/safety as New England looks to add more athleticism into its defense.

Phillips could lose his starting role if Uche takes a step forward and looks worthy of a starting job. Dugger also could be used as a role player if Phillips continues to outperform him.

SPECIAL TEAMS
K Nick Folk
P Jake Bailey
LS Joe Cardona
ST Matthew Slater
ST Justin Bethel
ST Cody Davis
ST Brandon King
K Roberto Aguayo
K Quinn Nordin
LS Wes Farnsworth

Folk wasn’t present for OTAs on Thursday, so he’ll be pushed for the top job by Aguayo, a Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2016 second-round pick, and Nordin, a rookie free agent.

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