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ESPN ranks Mac Jones as the third worst quarterback in the NFL playoffs

Related: Comparing Mac Jones to the other first-round rookie quarterbacks after the regular season

New England Patriots v Miami Dolphins Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Ben Roethlisberger and Jalen Hurts are the only starting quarterbacks worse than the New England Patriots’ Mac Jones entering the playoffs? At least according to ESPN’s Seth Walder that is the case.

In a recent ranking of the 14 starting QBs, Jones took the 12th spot — one behind ex-Patriot Jimmy Garoppolo of the San Francisco 49ers, and significantly lower than New England legend Tom Brady (2).

12. Mac Jones, Patriots

Season at a glance: Jones had a very good season as a rookie, but he is ranked this low on this list because, when compared to all other starting QBs, that strong rookie season was more or less average. He ranked 16th in QBR to finish the year.

Strength: Short passing game. Jones had the sixth-best QBR and CPOE on passes under 10 air yards. And while he didn’t do it a lot, Jones was very efficient when throwing on the run with the second-best QBR on those plays and the seventh-most EPA.

Weakness: Play-action passing. Jones’ numbers took a dive relative to his peers on play-action. He ranked just 24th in QBR (and 23rd in total EPA) on those plays. A split like this in a rookie year could just be a sample thing (same with the aforementioned throws on the run), but it’s worth keeping an eye on.

What’s at stake for Jones (via Patriots reporter Mike Reiss): Valuable experience. In the end, that’s what the playoffs are all about for Jones. While the Patriots have high internal expectations, and nothing short of a Super Bowl championship is the goal, that Jones gets to experience high-stakes postseason football in his first year is a huge big-picture victory for the franchise.

Mike Reiss hits the nail on the head. While the goal will always remain the Super Bowl in New England, Jones will gain some valuable experience in the playoffs regardless of where the team ends up.

He will appear in his first postseason contest on Saturday, facing the Buffalo Bills on the road.