The performances of New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones during the 2022 season didn’t inspire much confidence.
The 2021 first-round pick regressed in his second season with the Patriots, opening up doubt if Jones will ever emerge as an upper-echelon, or even just above-average, QB in the NFL.
Well, it’s clear that former Patriots signal-caller Matt Cassel believes Jones being discussed in that realm at that moment is far-fetched. And Cassel doesn’t even think it’s close.
Cassel revealed his thoughts on Jones when putting together his way-too-early quarterback power rankings for the 2023 season. He ranked Jones among some of the most mediocre, or worst, starting quarterbacks in the entire league, placing him 25th out of 32 players.
“There were a lot of ups and downs for Mac Jones this past season,” Cassel wrote. “I’m still unsure of what type of quarterback he can be. But we will certainly find out with new offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien returning to the New England Patriots this season.”
Jones was only ahead of Jacoby Brissett, Kenny Pickett, Baker Mayfield, Davis Mills, Sam Darnold, Mike White and Desmond Ridder. That’s not a group of names Jones should want to be attached to.
After a solid rookie campaign, Jones’ development this past season was clearly halted with Matt Patricia and Joe Judge presiding over the offense. Jones’ frustrations boiling over didn’t help matters, either.
The gap between Jones and other quarterbacks in his draft class are noticeable in Cassel’s rankings. Trevor Lawrence took big strides with the Jacksonville Jaguars this past season and looks like a No. 1 overall pick. His trajectory is clearly pointing upward and is reflected with him being ranked seventh. While Chicago Bears QB Justin Fields is still coming together as a passer, his ability out of the pocket has him situated in the 13th spot.
Zach Wilson and Trey Lance, who were taken second and third, respectively, in the draft, didn’t make their way onto Cassel’s list for obvious reasons. Wilson has been an absolute dumpster fire with the New York Jets while a season-ending injury prevented Lance for displaying his skill set this season with the San Francisco 49ers.
Jones was pedestrian at best last season, throwing for 2,997 yards and 14 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.
Perhaps, O’Brien taking the reins of the offense can get Jones back on track as he faces a pivotal point in the early stages of his career.