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Comparing Mac Jones to the other first-round rookie quarterbacks after Week 9

Related: Mac Attack: Mac Jones has some encouraging moments against the Panthers

New England Patriots v Carolina Panthers Photo by Lance King/Getty Images

Bill Belichick has done a lot of things in his storied career as a coach, but it took him until his 22nd offseason with the New England Patriots to finally select a quarterback in the first round of the NFL Draft. That quarterback was Alabama’s Mac Jones, who was picked 15th overall and went on to beat out incumbent Cam Newton over the course of training camp.

Now nine games into his professional career and tenure as the Patriots’ starter, let’s take a look at how he compares to the four men he will forever be linked to: the other quarterbacks selected in the first round this year.

First, a look at how Jones performed in Week 9 relative to Trevor Lawrence (Jacksonville Jaguars), Zach Wilson (New York Jets), Trey Lance (San Francisco 49ers) and Justin Fields (Chicago Bears). Then, a season-long look at the five youngsters.

First-round rookie quarterbacks in Week 9

In Week 9, the five passers selected in the first round this year performed as follows:

First-round rookie QBs: Week 9

Player Snaps Attempts Completions Completion % Yards Touchdowns Interceptions Drops Throwaways Pressure rate Carries Rushing yards Rushing touchdowns Rating EPA/Play
Player Snaps Attempts Completions Completion % Yards Touchdowns Interceptions Drops Throwaways Pressure rate Carries Rushing yards Rushing touchdowns Rating EPA/Play
Justin Fields 62 29 17 58.6 291 1 1 0 0 43.2% 8 45 0 89.9 0.048
Mac Jones 56 18 12 66.7 139 1 1 0 1 25.0% 2 4 0 85.2 -0.048
Trevor Lawrence 55 26 15 57.7 118 0 0 3 1 28.6% 2 5 0 69.1 -0.064
Zach Wilson -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --
Trey Lance -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --

With Zach Wilson out yet again because of injury and Trey Lance active but not receiving any snaps, only three of the five first-round quarterbacks actually saw the field in Week 9. Among them, Mac Jones and Trevor Lawrence were able to lead their teams to victory.

Trevor Lawrence, Jaguars (Pick No. 1): Going up against one of the best defenses in football, Lawrence did something his counterpart — Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen — failed to do: he did not turn the football over all day. In a game where every possession appeared to be a struggle for the offenses, that was worth a lot even though his statistical performance per se was not overly impressive. Lawrence also missed six snaps in the second quarter due to an ankle injury.

Justin Fields, Bears (Pick No. 11): Chicago may have lost its game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, but Fields showed his big-play potential both as a passer and a runner especially in the second half. While he was not always perfect on the day — he had yet another turnover and completed under 60 percent of his passes — the game was arguably the best of his career and can leave Bears fans quite happy even in defeat.

Mac Jones, Patriots (Pick No. 15): Jones’ game against the Panthers felt a lot like his early-season outings: New England did not ask him to do much, and he had plenty of good moments but the occasional miscue as well. Of course, though, his comparatively quiet day was by design. With the Patriots going up against one of the best defenses in football, but one that could be attacked in the ground game, the team tried to get the ball out of Jones’ hands quickly — which also meant more running plays than dropback opportunities.

All in all, the first-round rookies who were active in Week 9 collectively had a solid outing. The most impressive performance as far as the “wow” factor is concerned certainly belonged to Justin Fields, though.

First-round rookie quarterbacks all season long

Nine weeks into the season, here is how the five QBs drafted on Day 1 this year have performed:

First-round rookie QBs: Weeks 1-9

Player Snaps Attempts Completions Completion % Yards Touchdowns Interceptions Drops Throwaways Pressure rate Carries Rushing yards Rushing touchdowns Rating EPA/Play
Player Snaps Attempts Completions Completion % Yards Touchdowns Interceptions Drops Throwaways Pressure rate Carries Rushing yards Rushing touchdowns Rating EPA/Play
Mac Jones 580 300 204 68.0 2,136 10 7 8 12 29.4% 15 65 0 89.8 0.114
Trevor Lawrence 522 296 176 59.5 1,821 8 9 15 15 35.3% 29 140 2 73.6 -0.026
Justin Fields 470 187 111 59.4 1,282 4 8 6 3 39.4% 47 294 2 69.4 -0.117
Zach Wilson 327 181 104 57.5 1,168 4 9 15 7 41.5% 6 24 0 63.5 -0.168
Trey Lance 111 48 25 52.1 354 3 1 4 2 35.0% 27 133 1 88.4 -0.012

All five first-round quarterback have seen significant action so far this season; each one of them has started at least one game for his respective team over the first nine weeks. Lawrence, Wilson and Jones all served as Day 1 starters, with Fields officially taking the Bears’ job in Week 5. Only Lance is still playing second fiddle at the moment.

Trevor Lawrence, Jaguars (Pick No. 1): Ranking second behind only Mac Jones in most volume statistics, Lawrence has received plenty of action through his first seven games as Jacksonville’s QB1. He has not always been up to the challenge but appears to have settled down a bit after a rather disappointing start to his professional career.

Zach Wilson, Jets (Pick No. 2): The Jets’ franchise quarterback is off to a rough start, not just because he currently remains sidelined due to a PCL injury suffered in Week 7 against the Patriots. Throwing at least one interception in all but one of his games this season, Wilson has actively contributed to the team starting the season 1-5 with him at the helm. He has had his moments, but they were few and far between.

Trey Lance, 49ers (Pick No. 3): The number two behind ex-Patriot Jimmy Garoppolo, Lance did start the 49ers’ Week 5 game, but it was a struggle. That said, the sample size — 65 snaps that day, 111 overall — is far too small to make any definitive statements about his outlook for the rest of the season yet. It will be interesting to see how the team opts to use him moving forward: Will he be more than just an understudy to Garoppolo, especially with the team now at 3-5?

Justin Fields, Bears (Pick No. 11): Originally the number two quarterback in Chicago, Fields has seized the opportunity that presented itself when starter Andy Dalton went down with a knee injury. Since then, he has started six games that can be described as a mixed bag: the Ohio State product looked overmatched at times, but did showcase his talent on occasion. Week 9, for example, was an impressive display of what he can bring to the table.

Mac Jones, Patriots (Pick No. 15): Jones has started all nine of the Patriots’ games since beating out Cam Newton and has played the majority of his team’s offensive snaps so far. He showed the ups and downs that had to be expected from a rookie in New England’s notoriously challenging system early on, but has played some impressive football as of late and certainly appears to be heading in the right direction. He also is the current leader among the first-round rookie QBs in most statistical categories.

Nine weeks in, our analysis continues to read the same it has the last few weeks: it is hard not to name Mac Jones as the best of the five first-round rookie quarterbacks this year. New England is now at 5-4 and firmly in the playoff race, with its young QB playing some encouraging football as of late and continuing to look like a potential franchise quarterback.

That said, Trevor Lawrence and Justin Fields have also had some good moments recently after some early-season struggles.