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Drew Bledsoe on Patriots’ Mac Jones: ‘I think he can be a franchise quarterback’

The Patriots’ former starting QB has high hopes for Jones.

Buffalo Bills vs New England Patriots Set Number: X164272 TK1

Count Drew Bledsoe among those believing that the New England Patriots’ current starting quarterback still has a bright future ahead of him.

Despite coming off a disappointing season, Bledsoe, himself a former Patriots QB and member of the team’s Hall of Fame, sees considerable potential in Mac Jones. Appearing on the Off The Pike podcast, the 51-year-old even went as far as to state his belief that Jones has what it takes to become a “franchise quarterback.”

“First of all, he’s very well-respected in the locker room and the organization,” Bledsoe said, as transcribed by MassLive’s Chris Mason. “He works his butt off. He’s not going to overpower anybody, he’s not Pat Mahomes, but within the framework of an offense he can be very, very efficient.

“I think he can be a franchise quarterback, but they’ve got to make sure that they have the right offense and the right pieces around him in order for that to work. He’s never going to be Lamar Jackson and just go take over a game with his legs, or with his arm strength, but within the confines of the position of playing quarterback, he can be very, very good at that as long as they put the right pieces and the right plan around him.”

Jones joined the Patriots as the 15th overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft. He showed plenty of promise his rookie season but took a step back in his sophomore year under a new coaching regime led by offensive play-caller Matt Patricia and quarterbacks coach Joe Judge. The team addressed the issue by replacing Patricia and Judge with veteran coordinator Bill O’Brien earlier this offseason.

The hope is that Jones will return to the form he displayed earlier in his career under O’Brien. Bledsoe, for one, is looking forward to seeing the two work together in 2023.

“I’ll be very curious to watch and see how it works with Bill O’Brien this year,” he said. “I think that’s going to be much better for Mac, but we’ll wait and see.”

Bledsoe himself is no stranger to the expectations attached to being a first-round quarterback. He was selected with the No. 1 overall pick by the Patriots in 1993, serving as the club’s starter for eight seasons before an injury early in Year 9 paved the way for Tom Brady to take over and help establish the New England dynasty.