NFL QB index: Patriots QB Mac Jones threatening to overtake Joe Burrow

New England Patriots QB Mac Jones (Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images)
New England Patriots QB Mac Jones (Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images) /

Don’t look now, but New England Patriots rookie quarterback Mac Jones is on the brink of becoming a top 10 quarterback in the NFL, at least according to the Week 12 NFL QB Index.

Ranked No. 11 behind Cincinnati Bengals second-year quarterback Joe Burrow, Jones continues to showcase that he was the best QB selected in the 2021 NFL Draft…at least as of Week 12 of the 2021 NFL season.

Now, that could change in time as Jones was already labeled the most NFL ready quarterback in the draft. He has certainly proved that in his first 11 games. There have been rookie mistakes, but his 70.2 percent passing accuracy shows a young quarterback patient enough to take what the defense is giving him.

It is also the showmanship of a quarterback developing chemistry with his playmakers in key situations as he has formed trust with the trio of Hunter Henry, Jakobi Meyers and Kendrick Bourne.

New England Patriots rookie Mac Jones showing off his cerebral talent

Although the Patriots quarterback won’t blow anyone away with his arm right now, he is making the right decisions the maturity of time. With his team sitting at 7-4 and tied with the Buffalo Bills for AFC East supremacy, Patriots fans are extremely grateful he fell to the team at No. 15 in the NFL Draft.

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Compared to 2001 Tom Brady, Mac Jones still has a way to go before he comes close to the 2021 version of Tom Brady who comes in at No. 1 on the list. While there is reluctance to put Jones as high as No. 11, here is what NFL.Com’s Gregg Rosenthal had to say about the rookie quarterbacks continued rise this week:

"“Brian Baldinger came on NFL Network and literally ripped up my QB Index, in part because he believed I had Mac too low. I am nothing if not easily persuadable. Falcons defensive coordinator Dean Pees fooled Jones on a few blitzes and cornerback A.J. Terrell made a sensational play on an interception, but Jones still only missed four throws all night.”"

With how efficient Jones has been, sometimes we do forget he is just in his first year in the NFL, so the mistake he made with the interception in the team’s 25-0 victory against the Atlanta Falcons is going to happen and those mistakes are necessary for continued growth.

They are also the type of mistakes that are going to happen when any quarterback in the NFL tries to get too aggressive. Brady still makes those mistakes; Aaron Rodgers makes those mistake and Patrick Mahomes certainly makes mistakes, but what marks their greatness is how they study those mistakes and bounce back from them. Mac Jones is certainly displaying an ability to do that as he continues to learn about himself.

As the team prepares for a stretch of meaningful games, Jones was asked about his mindset and what more he expects to learn about himself as this stretch of games will really measure his toughness and leadership as an NFL quarterback.

"“I think just doing what we’ve been doing,” Jones said about the upcoming games. “But it’s a new season after Thanksgiving, and everything is a fresh start, so we got to go out there with a positive mindset, and the goal is to just go 1-0 each week, and this week that’s the goal, and you can’t focus on things in the past and things in the future. Just be where your feet are and just practice hard. Practice well, and then when you’re in the game, you feel prepared.”"

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With two games against the Bills and conference battles with the Tennessee Titans and Indianapolis Colts, the New England Patriots will get an opportunity to show the NFL that they are indeed a team to be reckoned with and Mac Jones will get an opportunity to continue to rise as perhaps a top 10 quarterback.