clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Comparing Mac Jones to the other first-round rookie quarterbacks after Week 8

Related: Mac Attack: There is a lot to like about Mac Jones’ performance against the Chargers

NFL: OCT 31 Patriots at Chargers Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via 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 eight 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 8 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 8

In Week 8, the five passers selected in the first round this year performed as follows:

First-round rookie QBs: Week 8

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 77 35 18 51.4 218 0 0 1 2 23.1% 3 11 0 70.9 0.069
Trevor Lawrence 76 54 32 59.3 238 1 1 2 3 38.6% 2 12 0 68.3 -0.114
Justin Fields 70 27 19 70.4 175 1 1 0 0 41.0% 10 103 1 84.6 0.322
Zach Wilson -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --
Trey Lance -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --

With Zach Wilson out because of injury and Trey Lance active but not seeing any snaps, only three of the five first-round quarterbacks actually saw the field in Week 8. Among them, Mac Jones was the only one to lead his team to victory.

Trevor Lawrence, Jaguars (Pick No. 1): Coming off the Jaguars’ bye, Lawrence had another up-and-down performance in a loss to the Seattle Seahawks. He did set a new career-high in pass attempts and added another touchdown throw to his totals, but he also had another turnover — his 12th of the season — and was unable to lead the Jacksonville offense to more than seven garbage time points in a 31-7 loss.

Justin Fields, Bears (Pick No. 11): Fields’ rookie campaign continues to be a rollercoaster, and his Week 8 game against the 49ers was just that as well. On the one hand, he had some spectacular plays both on the ground and through the air and did post the best completion percentage of his career; on the other hand, he also fumbled the ball twice and threw an interception late in the fourth quarter. That said, the game showed the tremendous upside Fields has as a dual-threat QB.

Mac Jones, Patriots (Pick No. 15): Coming off the best statistical game of his career, Jones took a slight step back against the Los Angeles Chargers. He completed only 51 percent of his passes and was off the mark on multiple attempts. That said, he led the Patriots to their fourth win of the season and made some crucial throws on the game-sealing seven-minute drive late in the fourth quarter.

All three quarterbacks had their ups and downs in Week 8, with Mac Jones’ arguably playing the most consistent game: he did not turn the ball over and helped New England to a win. That said, the highlight-reel plays were made by Trevor Lawrence and especially Justin Fields this week.

First-round rookie quarterbacks all season long

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

First-round rookie QBs: Weeks 1-8

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 524 282 192 68.1 1,997 9 6 8 11 29.7% 13 61 0 90.1 0.126
Trevor Lawrence 467 270 161 59.6 1,703 8 9 12 14 35.6% 27 135 2 74 -0.023
Justin Fields 408 158 94 59.5 991 3 7 6 3 38.7% 39 249 2 65.7 -0.148
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 seven 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 is currently 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 an understudy to Garoppolo?

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 8, for example, was a step in the right direction.

Mac Jones, Patriots (Pick No. 15): Jones has started all eight 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 is the leader in most statistical categories among first-round rookie QBs.

Eight weeks in, our analysis continues to read the same it has last week: 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 4-4 and trending up, with its young QB playing some encouraging football as of late and continuing to look like a potential franchise quarterback.