Perry’s NFL QB Levels: Where Does Mac Jones Score Entering Year 2? originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
The Mac Jones The discourse somehow reached a fever pitch in late June. And since it’s the end of June — when NFL topics of interest can be conservatively defined as scarce — we have to say we welcome it.
Earlier this week, thanks some comments from Rob Ninkovich, the possibility was raised that the sophomore year quarterback could take the Patriots to a 12-win season. Then came Scott Zolak who said: he heard that Jones received some Tom Brady comparisons — especially in terms of how Jones approaches his acting now — of people in Foxboro.
Before that, Dan Orlovsky ranked his top five quarterbacks under 25 and put Mac Jones on the list for Kyler Murray† Chris Simms, meanwhile, checked in with his annual quarterback rankings and had Jones scheduled at number 18.
Who’s right? Who needs a reality check? Who deserves a slap on the head on their way out to their summer vacation?
Let’s say this first: Jones had a strong spring.
Recognizing that OTA and minicamp drills are played in shorts and T-shirts, Jones showed the kind of accuracy that made him eighth in the league in completion rate last year and enabled him to complete 24 of Pro Football Focus’s big throws. to achieve” — at the highest level of difficulty and value to their raters — that was one more than Patrick Mahomes†
Jones had clearly worked on adjusting his body composition heading into spring practices, and he acknowledged working with Brady’s pitching coach Tom House, which could eventually cause a noticeable change in his arm strength.
From a leadership standpoint, he sometimes took control of exercises coaching players around him, and folks at One Patriot Place raved about his behind-the-scenes work to best prepare himself for success after his first full outdoor season as the team’s undisputed starter.
But what does all this mean for his position in the league? How will he compare to his peers in the NFL in 2022? Especially considering he will be working with new offensive coaches Matt Patricia and Joe Judge, and directing a “streamlined” Patriots offensive†
To get a better idea of where he might fit in among 31 other starters, we’ve put together five clear buckets of quarterbacks for the coming season, kind of a projection of how we quarterbacks feel. shall perform, not how they to have executed.
The first level of passers-by includes: “elite” quarterbackswho are the MVP favorites of 2022, including two surefire Hall of Famers who may still be near the pinnacle of their own.
There are the “very good” quarterbackswho could be a top-five player in that position in any given year.
There are the “good” quarterbackswhich, if equipped with an average supporting cast, will take a team into battle after the season.
There are the “average” quarterbackswhich, if equipped with an average supporting cast, will lead a team to a record around .500.
And finally there are the “below average” quarterbacksthat are expected to perform at approximately a replacement level.
Marcus Mariota, Jacoby Brissett, Davis Mills, Jared Goff, Daniel JonesDrew Lock, Mitchell Trubisky, Trey Lance, Zach Wilson, Justin Fields, Sam Darnold
Because a quarterback and his situation are inextricably linked, it’s hard to separate who Justin Fields and Davis Mills could be on an improved roster. But until their teams improve, it may be impossible to decipher between some of these quarterbacks and backup-level players.
Jacoby Brissett, Drew Lock and Sam Darnold make the list here because Deshaun Watson’s future is in the air and since neither Baker Mayfield nor Jimmy Garoppolo’s situations have been ironed out.
Carson Wentz, Tua Tagovailoa, Jalen Hurts, Jameis Winston, Matt Ryan, Trevor Lawrence
With about average supporting casts last season, both Carson Wentz and Tua Tagovailoa led teams that went 9-8. For the purposes of this exercise, they appear to be the definition of average. Good enough to start and have a chance… but not so good that their teams want to keep them as “the man” until further notice.
Matt Ryan will be an interesting test case in Indy this season, where the weapons outside of Jonathan Taylor’s running back aren’t quite as impressive. Is he the player who looked confused and defeated on a bad team in Atlanta, with his best days long behind him? Or would he be better placed in the next category and good enough to push the otherwise average Colts to the playoffs?
Derek Carr, Kyler Murray, Ryan Tannehill, Kirk Cousins, Mac Jones
After barely a year, Mac Jones was already talking to quarterbacks who were seen as examples of his ceiling prior to last year’s draft.
He was 16th in ESPN’s QBR stats last season, just behind Derek Carr (14th) and Kirk Cousins (15th). He finished as Pro Football Focus’ 12th highest-ranked quarterback, just behind Ryan Tannehill (ninth) and just ahead of Carr (14th).
With a better understanding of NFL defense and an improved reception space (which added DeVante Parker), Jones should cement his position as a passer in the top half of the league and be able to soak up top-10 considerations in year 2.
The question remains whether the Patriots coaching staff will put him in the best possible situation to succeed after Josh McDaniels’ departure.
Justin Herbert, Joe Burrow, Russell Wilson, Lamar Jackson, Dak Prescott, Matthew Stafford
Justin Herbert and Joe Burrow could make huge strides in Year 3 if their teams continue to improve around them, while Russell Wilson could easily climb back to be seen as a top five talent in his position under a new coaching staff in Denver. However, he won’t have a receiving talent like DK Metcalf, so any slippage in his game could make his placement in this tier seem generous.
Tom BradyAaron Rodgers, Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen
These are the best of the best.
Tom Brady was arguably the best quarterback in football last year. Josh Allen is the most physically gifted quarterback in football whose understanding of the game only continues to grow. Patrick Mahomes continues to find himself on an alien trajectory early in his career. And yet it was Aaron Rodgers who earned MVP honors in 2021.
Perhaps towards the end of the season we’ll look at this level and say there should have been one or two additions in Herbert or Burrow (or Jackson, if he returns to his MVP form). But for now, these are the clear elites in the toughest position in the sport.