The quarterback position is a unique one in the game of football because it finds itself on the intersection of physical, mental and leadership ability like no other. If a QB does not bring all three of them to the table, he will not find consistent success in the NFL.
Whether or not Mac Jones can do that remains to be seen, but the New England Patriots’ first-round draft pick appears to be off to a good start.
Jones has showcased his arm talent by throwing some pin-point passes in training camp and preseason, and he appears to be adapting well to life within one of the most complex offensive systems in the league. It also seems as if the 22-year-old is already commanding the respect of those around him — including that of long-time Patriots team captain Matthew Slater.
Slater talked about Jones following Tuesday’s training camp practice, and he had nothing but positive words to say about his young teammate.
“He’s a great young man. Character really counts when you talk about what we do off the football field. The way we carry ourselves; the way we approach our profession; the way we do things in the community; that translates to the football field,” Slater said about Jones.
“I think Mac is a fine young man. His family should be proud of the way that they raised him; the way he carries himself; the way he commands respect. Even guys like myself, older guys on this team that have been here for a while; he’s earned that respect by the way he’s gone about his craft. He’s been a joy to work with.”
The 15th overall selection in this year’s draft, the expectations for Jones are obvious: he was brought aboard to become the Patriots’ next franchise quarterback. In order for him to achieve that goal, however, factors like off-the-field demeanor and leadership will remain massively important.
It seems as if he is on a good way, though, at least if Slater’s statements are to be believed.
Jones was not the only rookie praised by the perennial Pro Bowler and Bart Starr Award winner. Slater spoke highly of New England’s entire rookie class — a group that also features defensive tackle Christian Barmore, linebackers Ronnie Perkins and Cameron McGrone, running back Rhamondre Stevenson, offensive lineman William Sherman, defensive back Joshuah Bledsoe, wide receiver Tre Nixon, and kicker Quinn Nordin.
“This rookie class has really been fantastic,” Slater said. “They all carry themselves with a great deal of humility and just come out here to work each and every day. As a veteran player on this team you appreciate having rookies like that.”