The New England Patriots host the Washington Football Team in their 2021 NFL preseason opener Thursday night, and that will give them a first look at first-round draft pick Mac Jones in live game action. While the Pats still have Cam Newton in the fold, Jones could be the quarterback of the future for New England. The question is: How soon can the former Alabama QB be a factor in the NFL? That was a topic of discussion on a recent 33rd Team Call.
“If you know Bill Belichick, he has a mold for each position,” said veteran offensive coordinator Chris Palmer. “I’m sure in his mind, he looks at Jones and says, ‘Hey, this could be Tom Brady.’”
Former Chicago Bears head coach Marc Trestman agreed.
“He can produce and work within the structure that Tom Brady did,” said Trestman. “That’s the reason I think they drafted him. I think the Patriots want to be what Tom Brady gave them, and I think Mac Jones kinda looks like him.”
Jones passed for 4,500 yards and 41 TDs while leading Alabama to the national championship last season. He has the size (6-3, 217) and arm strength to succeed at the next level. The biggest concern about Jones is a lack of mobility – especially as there has been a greater emphasis placed on a quarterback’s ability to make plays outside the pocket.
“I think for someone like Mac Jones, he would have to be phenomenal before the snap of the ball,” said NFL Matchup co-host Greg Cosell. “Because I think a guy like Brady — the great ones who couldn’t really move well, either – they’re so good before the snap of the ball that they can take care of any pressures, anything along those lines.
“I think someone like Mac Jones is a facilitator, a ball distributor, and he’ll have to become great at the NFL level before the snap of the ball, because he’s not likely to make plays outside the structure of your offense.”