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Comparing Mac Jones to the other first-round rookie quarterbacks after Week 17

Related: Mac Attack: Mac Jones took care of business against the Jaguars

Jacksonville Jaguars Vs. New England Patriots At Gillette Stadium Photo by Jim Davis/The Boston Globe 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 16 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 17 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 17

The five passers selected in the first round this year performed as follows in Week 17:

First-round rookie QBs: Week 18

Player Snaps Attempts Completions Completion rate Yards Touchdowns Interceptions Drops Throwaways Pressure rate Carries Rushing yards Rushing touchdowns Rating EPA/Play
Player Snaps Attempts Completions Completion rate Yards Touchdowns Interceptions Drops Throwaways Pressure rate Carries Rushing yards Rushing touchdowns Rating EPA/Play
Trevor Lawrence 68 32 23 71.9% 223 2 0 4 0 27.8% 7 21 0 111.8 0.199
Mac Jones 62 30 20 66.7% 261 1 1 0 0 24.2% 3 4 0 91.1 -0.036
Zach Wilson 46 20 7 35.0% 87 1 0 4 2 50.0% 2 24 0 66.0 -0.542
Trey Lance -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --
Justin Fields -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --

Four of the five first-round rookie quarterbacks saw the field in Week 17: Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, Trey Lance and Mac Jones. Justin Fields, meanwhile, missed his second straight game due to an ankle injury.

Trevor Lawrence, Jaguars (Pick No. 1): Going against the number one scoring defense in football, Lawrence struggled. He did break his touchdown-less streak that began in late November, but all in all had a bad day against New England. The Patriots’ defense simply proved too much to handle for him and he ended up throwing three more interceptions to take sole possession of the league lead in this category.

Zach Wilson, Jets (Pick No. 2): Wilson has had more downs than ups so far this year, but his performance against the reigning world champions was encouraging. The BYU product had the Jets on the brink of victory against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and if not for Tom Brady being Tom Brady might have been able to celebrate his fourth win as a starter. In the end, though, the game ended in disappointment: Brady led his team to a 28-24 win. However, Wilson and the Jets can feel good about what he showed in a tough setting.

Trey Lance, 49ers (Pick No. 3): With Jimmy Garoppolo nursing a thumb injury, Lance received the opportunity to start for the second time this season. While his first start was a disappointment, his performance against the Houston Texans was impressive. San Francisco trusted the North Dakota State product to pull out a win and keep the team in the playoff picture, and he did just that: with Lance playing some solid football the 49ers ended up winning 23-7.

Mac Jones, Patriots (Pick No. 15): Coming off two disappointing outings, Jones had his way with the Jacksonville defense. New England’s starting QB was in total control from start to finish and also showed some encouraging chemistry with practice squad call-up Kristian Wilkerson; the two connected for two touchdowns. The Jaguars were obviously a welcome opponent to get back on track, but Jones still had to take advantage. He sure did, and was able to lead the Patriots to a 50-10 victory.

With the exception of Trevor Lawrence, the first-round rookie QBs had a solid collective outing in Week 17. Mac Jones had the statistically best game, but both Zach Wilson and Trey Lance also looked good.

First-round rookie quarterbacks all season long

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

First-round rookie QBs: Weeks 1-18

Player Snaps Attempts Completions Completion rate Yards Touchdowns Interceptions Drops Throwaways Pressure rate Carries Rushing yards Rushing touchdowns Rating EPA/Play
Player Snaps Attempts Completions Completion rate Yards Touchdowns Interceptions Drops Throwaways Pressure rate Carries Rushing yards Rushing touchdowns Rating EPA/Play
Trevor Lawrence 1,078 602 359 59.6% 3,641 12 17 37 30 32.9% 66 343 2 71.9 -0.047
Mac Jones 1,065 521 352 67.6% 3,801 22 13 14 18 27.6% 36 147 0 92.5 0.123
Zach Wilson 741 383 213 55.6% 2,334 9 11 31 21 38.5% 25 189 4 69.7 -0.148
Justin Fields 635 270 159 58.9% 1,870 7 10 13 7 42.8% 67 426 2 73.2 -0.126
Trey Lance 178 71 41 57.7% 603 5 2 5 2 31.4% 36 171 1 97.3 0.048

The five first-round quarterback have seen different levels of action so far this season. While each one of them has started at least one game for his respective team over the first 17 weeks, only two — Lawrence and Jones — have appeared in every game so far.

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, even though he was given the chance to start in Week 17.

Trevor Lawrence, Jaguars (Pick No. 1): Ranking either first or second in most volume statistics, Lawrence has received plenty of action through his first 16 games as Jacksonville’s QB1. However, it is obvious that he is in a difficult situation given the team’s lack of talent and off-field issues. This has impacted his performance as well: despite having some impressive moments, the Clemson product continues to struggle with consistency and playing in the Jaguars offense. Week 17 was a perfect example of that.

Zach Wilson, Jets (Pick No. 2): His last two games were encouraging, but the Jets’ new franchise quarterback has had a rough overall season so far. Not only did he miss four games due to a PCL injury suffered in Week 7, he also looked out of his element repeatedly; missing even basic throws and failing to consistently showcase the out-of-structure abilities that made him a star at BYU. If he can start stringing together performances like the ones he had in Weeks 16 and 17, however, his future can still be bright.

Trey Lance, 49ers (Pick No. 3): Lance remains the number two behind ex-Patriot Jimmy Garoppolo, but he did start two of the 49ers’ games so far this season. While the Week 5 loss in Arizona was a struggle, he looked solid against Houston in Week 17. The sample size — 178 snaps on the season — is still far too small to make any definitive statements about his longer-term outlook, though. With Garoppolo furthermore having played some solid football before his finger injury, however, it appears unlikely that Lance will officially take over the starting job anytime soon.

Justin Fields, Bears (Pick No. 11): Originally the number two quarterback in Chicago, Fields seized the opportunity that presented itself when starter Andy Dalton went down with a knee injury. He has started 10 games since then but has also missed some time due to rib and ankle injuries. When on the field, his performance can best be described as a mixed bag: the Ohio State product looks overmatched at times and continues to struggle with turnovers, but he also showcases his high ceiling as a dual-threat QB on a regular basis.

Mac Jones, Patriots (Pick No. 15): Jones has started all 16 of the Patriots’ games this season and he is undisputed as New England’s QB1. The Alabama product showed some ups and downs — inconsistency that had to be expected from a rookie in New England’s notoriously challenging system — but overall has played some strong football. He appears to be headed in the right direction and well on his way to be the team’s long-term solution at the most important position on the field, not just because he helped blow out the Jaguars.

Mac Jones continues to be hands down the most impressive of the five first-round rookie quarterbacks this year. New England owns a 10-6 record and playoff spot in large part due to its young QB. He has been playing some encouraging football for much of the year and continues to show the growth that one would like to see from a rookie, especially at the quarterback position.

Through some occasional hiccups Jones continues to look like a potential franchise quarterback. He also has a realistic chance to earn Offensive Rookie of the Year honors, at least compared to his fellow QBs. Most importantly, though, he has led his team to the postseason.