Mac Jones was the fifth quarterback selected in the 2021 NFL Draft — behind Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, Trey Lance and Justin Fields — but NBC Sports’ Peter King believes the New England Patriots QB will be the first from this year’s class to reach the playoffs.
“Mac Jones, and I think he’ll do it this year,” King told Mike Florio when asked which rookie QB would reach the postseason first. “I thought Mac Jones showed a lot of presence, veteran presence, on the field against Miami. I think he is most well-equipped to play the NFL-style game early on, especially the way the Patriots want to call that NFL-style game.
“They want him to be a pocket quarterback. They want him not to think too much. They want him to hit the open receivers and not try to do too much. I think he is going to lead his team to the playoffs first. And I think it’s gonna be a long time before Trevor Lawrence leads his team to the playoffs.”
Jones was solid in the Patriots’ season-opening, 17-16 defeat, completing 29 of 39 passes for 281 yards with a touchdown. The debut performance, of course, came on the heels of New England recently releasing veteran QB Cam Newton, who started 15 games for the Patriots last season and competed with Jones for the starting job during the preseason.
Obviously, the end result Sunday wasn’t what the Patriots wanted, especially with New England having a chance to win until running back Damien Harris fumbled late in the fourth quarter. But Jones certainly was a bright spot, making King’s prediction totally justifiable.
Interestingly enough, the Patriots’ next opportunity to find their footing comes Sunday against the New York Jets, an AFC East rival quarterback by Wilson, who was selected 13 spots ahead of Jones and one spot behind Lawrence at No. 2 overall.