Patriots offseason

Mac Jones gets unflattering QB ranking in new survey

Are there 22 NFL quarterbacks better than Mac Jones heading into 2023?

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Mac Jones enters his third NFL season with plenty to prove.

After an encouraging rookie campaign, the New England Patriots quarterback took a step back in Year 2. Much of the blame can be placed on the situation Jones was put in with Matt Patricia and Joe Judge taking control of what turned out to be a dysfunctional offense.

The Patriots addressed that issue in the offseason by hiring Bill O'Brien as their offensive coordinator. That has inspired hope that 2023 will be a bounce-back year for Jones, but coaches and executives across the league will believe it when they see it.

The Athletic's Mike Sando polled eight general managers, 10 head coaches, 15 coordinators, 10 executives, four quarterbacks coaches and three involved in coaching/analytics to create NFL quarterback tiers and rankings. The survey ranks the QBs by average vote and places them into tiers based on vote distribution.

Jones ranked 23rd out of 30 quarterbacks, not including this year's NFL rookies. He was voted as the last QB in Tier 3.

“If you look at the guys in Tier 1 and 2, for the most part, they have an ability to create off-platform, and that has always been my issue with Mac, even coming out,” one league executive told The Athletic. “I thought coming out his best-case scenario was you were going to get a Kirk Cousins-type player.”

Thirty-seven voters considered Jones a Tier 3 quarterback while 13 placed the 24-year-old in Tier 4. The QBs ahead of Jones in Tier 3 are Kyler Murray (Arizona Cardinals), Derek Carr (New Orleans Saints), Jared Goff (Detroit Lions), Russell Wilson (Denver Broncos), Tua Tagovailoa (Miami Dolphins), Jimmy Garoppolo (Las Vegas Raiders), Daniel Jones (New York Giants), Geno Smith (Seattle Seahawks), Justin Fields (Chicago Bears), and Ryan Tannehill (Tennessee Titans).

The executive added that even if O'Brien's presence helps Jones in 2023, a less-than-stellar supporting cast could continue to hold him back.

“You look at the skill groups, he has the worst supporting cast of any young quarterback,” the exec said. “How do you build up his confidence? You have a new coordinator. Great, I hope ‘Billy O’ makes it easy for him, but you have a quarterback who can’t create off-platform, who doesn’t have the run-after-catch guys that Tua has, and it’s tough.”

The jury is still out on Jones, but there's no doubt he has his work cut out for him in a competitive AFC East that only got tougher during the offseason. If he can at least regain his rookie season form, he should soar up next year's rankings and leave Pats fans feeling far more optimistic about the future of the franchise.

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