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3 Reasons why Patriots QB Mac Jones will be the NFL Rookie of the Year

mac jones, justin fields, trevor lawrence, najee harris

As much as many fans of the NFL do not want to admit it, the New England Patriots look to have struck gold again at quarterback, this time with Alabama’s Mac Jones. As he has commanded the team’s offense with poise in his first season, he profiles to be the winner of the league’s Rookie of the Year award at the end of the season.

While his entire skillset profiles well for what the Patriots are looking to do, there are a few select reasons why his rookie year has been so successful.

3. Doing a lot with no supporting cast

When he was the QB at Alabama, Jones was surrounded with future first-round picks at wide receiver and on the offensive line, so he was pretty much always handed the advantage right out of the gate.

But with the Patriots supporting cast on offense, Jones has been forced to work with more of what he has and not expect his receivers to be the best options on the field.

The likes of Jakobi Meyers, Kendrick Bourne, Nelson Agholor, Hunter Henry, and Jonnu Smith, among others, have been the main receiving cast members for Jones to target, while Damien Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson have commanded the fair share of carries in the rushing game.

Jones has certainly taken his lumps during the season, but he has rolled with every punch and made a lot out of nothing at times, more often than not due to no help from the rest of the offense.

2. Proven offensive system caters to his skillset

He is the purest pocket passer in this year’s draft class, even though he does have some mobility. Not seen as one of the top QB options in this class, his mobility was behind the likes of Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, Justin Fields, and Trey Lance.

In a showing of his efficiency, Jones’ numbers have improved as the attempts have decreased.

In September, Jones averaged 40 attempts per game, averaging 245.7 yards per game and an interception percentage of 2.5. For October’s five games, Jones was counted on eight attempts per game fewer on average but averaged 6.1 more passing yards per game, while knocking down his INT % by 0.6%.

November has required even less from Jones, as his 20.5 attempts per game and 168.5 passing yards per game are quite stark decreases from before, but again his efficiency (4:1 TD-INT ratio) stands out even on limited attempts.

1. Not being molded into the next Brady

For the Patriots, their transition from Tom Brady to their next franchise QB did not have a known outcome, but many thought they would be forced to go through a few years of uncertainty before finding their next established starter.

Instead, they were able to draft Jones in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft, and so far he has more than exceeded expectations early in his career. It would have been easy to just follow the blueprint that Brady set, but Jones is not and should not be expected to follow the career trajectory that Brady did.

Who Jones is is who Jones is – meaning that his college tape paints a very effective picture of what the Patriots knew they were getting. But to be this far ahead in his career trajectory and his accomplishments means that Jones is set up extremely well to succeed, putting him firmly in the lead for the Rookie of the Year award.