With more than a month still remaining in the 2021 regular season, the New England Patriots have already surpassed their win total from 2020.
Many factors are at play, but somewhere near the top of the list would be the play of rookie quarterback Mac Jones, who's third in the NFL in completion percentage (70.3). Not bad for the fifth quarterback to come off the board in April.
What changes could the rapid rise of Jones have on the way quarterbacks are scouted moving forward?
On a new episode of the Next Pats Podcast, Phil Perry is joined by Daniel Jeremiah of the NFL Network to discuss what steps talent evaluators may take to avoid letting a prospect like Jones slide again.
"Everything is cyclical," Jeremiah said. "We've kind of gone from the era of Peyton [Manning] and Tom [Brady] and Philip Rivers, the 6-foot-5, 6-foot-6 pure pocket passers, then all of a sudden we saw this evolution take place -- I think Russell Wilson probably was at the front end of that -- obviously [Patrick] Mahomes and you've seen Josh Allen and [Justin] Herbert and all these guys, they bring their athleticism. Kyler Murray is another one.
"In last year's draft -- I did it -- you looked at Zach Wilson and you're like, this is where the league is. Mac Jones is maybe a little more of a retro fit, everyone wants a quarterback who can move and create off-schedule. Now, Mac Jones has shown the pocket passer is always going to have a place in this league."
Given the style of Jones and the team around him, what would it take for the Patriots to win a Super Bowl with him under center this season?
"You are going to need to have a dominant defense," Jeremiah said. "If their defense plays like it's been playing, with this offense, you can win a Super Bowl, absolutely."
Also discussed in this episode: Jeremiah explains how the Patriots team-building has helped Mac Jones succeed. Mac still is in the “trailer” category for the Patriots, but on his way to becoming the "truck."