Mac Jones, ‘Dark Horse’ MVP Candidate? NFL Analyst Makes Case

Could the Patriots QB surprise everyone in Year 2?

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There’s a lot of uncertainty surrounding the Patriots’ offense, with former play-caller Josh McDaniels leaving Foxboro this offseason to become head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders, but second-year quarterback Mac Jones also gives New England reason for optimism.

Jones, the 15th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, was solid in his first professional season, finishing as the runner-up to Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase in Offensive Rookie of the Year voting after guiding the Patriots to a 10-7 record and an AFC wild-card berth.

NFL analyst Peter Schrager evidently was so impressed by Jones that he pointed to the Patriots QB last week when asked for a “dark horse MVP prediction” on NFL Network’s “Good Morning Football.”

“No one has any confidence, it seems like, in the Patriots. Who’s calling the plays? Who’s calling the plays? How about this one — Who cares? We’ve got Mac at the quarterback spot,” Schrager said. “No one’s going to pick Mac Jones. A huge long shot. Patriots bringing back a lot of players from a team that went to the playoffs last year. And if they finish first over Buffalo, a huge ask, you better believes there’s going to be some hype around a second-year quarterback who was the fifth one taken in the first round (in 2021). I’m going Mac Jones, dark horse MVP candidate. Not a popular pick. But that’s the whole point: Dark horse.”

Jones truly is a long shot to earn MVP honors for the 2022 NFL season. DraftKings Sportsbook on Monday had him listed at +6000, meaning a $100 wager would result in a $6,000 profit should Jones secure the hardware. Those are the same odds given to Atlanta Falcons quarterback Marcus Mariota and Pittsburgh Steelers QB Mitchell Trubisky, two players joining new teams this offseason.

Josh Allen (+700), Patrick Mahomes (+900), Aaron Rodgers (+1000), Tom Brady (+1000) and Justin Herbert (+1000) sit atop the MVP futures betting board at DraftKings. Jones is a notch below Cooper Kupp, Kirk Cousins, Deebo Samuel, Trey Lance, Jonathan Taylor and Derrick Henry, all of whom sit at +5000 with the regular season about three and a half months away.

It’s unclear at this point who will call plays for the Patriots in 2022, as head coach Bill Belichick remained evasive Monday when asked about the subject. That’s somewhat concerning as it relates to Jones’ ceiling for the upcoming campaign, but clearly not enough to scare off Schrager.

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