Quarterback Mac Jones has had a pretty interesting year. There were rumors he could go as high as No. 3 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft to the San Francisco 49ers, but he instead fell to the New England Patriots at No. 15. Bill Belichick had found his Tom Brady replacement, but the former Alabama signal-caller had to go out and prove his worth. He did a solid job of that in his rookie season.
Jones had the most successful campaign of any rookie quarterback, as he went 10-7 while throwing for 3,801 yards, 22 touchdowns and 13 interceptions while leading New England back to the postseason after a one-year hiatus. The Patriots even reeled off six straight wins from October to December, leading some to believe they were a Super Bowl sleeper.
The future is bright for Jones, and he's impressed his teammates this offseason with his work ethic and confidence. Patriots tight end Jonnu Smith spoke about what made his quarterback special during a Monday appearance on "Good Morning Football."
"Honestly, man, just the way he can turn it on," Smith said, via NFL.com. "Mac is definitely one of the most goofiest guys in the locker room, to be honest, man. But when he steps on that field, he's a different character. He's just got so much ability and so much dog in him. Once he flips that switch, he's a whole different character. Some guys don't know how to cut that on and cut that off when it's time to do it. He's so young. He's poised. He's got a little swagger to him, man. I'm glad he's throwing us passes. That's my guy."
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Jones ended his rookie season with a Pro Bowl appearance as an alternate, which was another moment that helped build his confidence. Wide receiver Jakobi Meyers is also a teammate that has been singing Jones' praises this offseason, and he recently said that the second-year signal-caller has , and that everyone else is "trying to catch up to his mind, his vision."
It's true that the Patriots have some questions entering the 2022 season and that not every one of their offseason moves was lauded by pundits. But they appear to have their quarterback of the future in place, which is the most important facet of building a team.