With the exception of early-round draft picks Mac Jones and Christian Barmore, the New England Patriots’ rookie class has been relatively quiet so far this season. That changed a bit on Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys, with the team also seeing some prominent contributions from fellow first-year player Rhamondre Stevenson.
With that being said, let’s take a look at how all of them fared — starting, of course, with Mac Jones.
QB Mac Jones
- Offensive snaps: 54 of 54 (100%)
- Special teams snaps: N/A
Going against one of the best teams in football and a defense that led the league in interceptions entering Week 6, Mac Jones played arguably the best game of his young career. The first-round draft selection completed 15 of his 21 pass attempts for 229 yards as well as 2 touchdowns and 1 interception, and brought his team close to victory in the late fourth quarter.
While his pick-six to former college teammate Trevon Diggs was a bad moment for both him and wide receiver Kendrick Bourne, the two bounced back on the very next play from scrimmage to connect on a 75-yard touchdown. It was the biggest play of Jones’ career from a yardage perspective, but not the only impressive throw he made on the day: he is seemingly getting more comfortable within the New England offense each week.
Obviously, not all went well for him — he also lost a fumble on a second quarter sack — and the team ended up losing in overtime. Furthermore, it appears as if the coaching staff is not quite willing to take off the training wheels just yet. Nonetheless, the game against Dallas showed once more why Jones is the present and future of the Patriots franchise.
DT Christian Barmore
- Defensive snaps: 51 of 89 (57%)
- Special teams snaps: 1 of 28 (4%)
While he missed some snaps in the third quarter due to a shoulder injury, Christian Barmore was able to finish the game as the number two defensive tackle in terms of playing time: only veteran Davon Godchaux was on the field for more than Barmore’s 51 snaps.
The second-round draft choice made a lot out of his opportunities. Finishing with two tackles — one for a loss of yardage — as well as a quarterback hit and two hurries, he was a disruptive player in the middle of the New England defense. While his run defense remains a work in progress, the 22-year-old appears to be well on his way to earn a regular spot in the rotation alongside Godchaux and Lawrence Guy.
RB Rhamondre Stevenson
- Offensive snaps: 18 of 54 (33%)
- Special teams snaps: N/A
After seeing his workload increase last week against the Houston Texans, Rhamondre Stevenson played the most active game of his career versus the Cowboys. Being on the field for 18 offensive snaps, the fourth-round selection served as the number two alongside lead running back Damien Harris.
In this role, Stevenson touched the football a total of eight times — second among the Patriots’ skill position players behind Harris. He registered 5 carries for a combined 23 yards and the first touchdown of his career; he furthermore caught 3 passes for 39 more yards.
His ability to contribute both as a runner and in the passing game is certainly a positive, especially on a team that will spend the rest of the season without receiving back James White. His versatility does not just include carrying or catching the ball, though, but also serving as a pass protector. Stevenson looked good doing just that on Sunday, which is an encouraging development for a player who looked a bit shaky in Week 1.
LB Ronnie Perkins
The 96th selection in this year’s draft will have to wait another week for his NFL debut. After missing the early parts of the regular season due to a shoulder injury, Ronnie Perkins was again declared inactive against the Cowboys. He was listed as questionable heading into the weekend due to an ankle injury after being a limited participant in practice.
CB Shaun Wade
The Patriots’ trade acquisition via way of Baltimore was added to the injury report last week after sustaining a concussion and has yet to return to practice. Like Ronnie Perkins, the fifth-round pick was declared inactive again and still awaits his first NFL action.