2. Mac Jones, QB
What once felt like a dream has quickly turned into a nightmare. In need of a new quarterback following a year with Cam Newton as the replacement for Tom Brady, the Patriots went into the 2021 NFL Draft and landed Alabama's Mac Jones in Round 1. They not only got their guy without moving up but Jones felt like the perfect fit for the Patriots offense.
He wasn't considered a strong-armed franchise quarterback but was seen as an accurate passer who could be a stellar game manager. Hopes were high following a strong rookie campaign that saw New England win 10 games and make it to the postseason. Jones finished that year with 3,801 yards, 22 touchdowns, and 13 picks. Not elite numbers but still good enough to win.
Even a first-round loss didn't feel too bad since the arrow was pointing up — or at least it seemed to be.
The Patriots struggled to find consistency on offense in 2022 and finished 8-9. Jones started 14 of those games and they were 6-8 with him under center while watching him throw 14 touchdowns and 11 picks. He remained the starter to kick off the 2023 season but was benched after 11 games.
Jones led the Pats to a 2-9 mark and had more interceptions (12) than touchdowns (10). His accuracy was inconsistent, especially in the red zone and that led to them making the move to Bailey Zappe. Now looking forward to 2024, it's clear they need a new quarterback because it will be hard for Jones to rebound from this rough season without a fresh start.