Patriots

Mel Kiper says Mac Jones would be top quarterback in 2022 NFL Draft

"Knowing what we know now, he'd be No. 1."

Mac Jones Patriots
New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones. AP Photo/Steven Senne
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Grabbing Mac Jones at No. 15 overall in last year’s draft is increasingly looking like a steal for the New England Patriots.

That’s not just because Jones outperformed all of his rookie quarterback counterparts in 2021 and helped lead New England to the playoffs (though that certainly doesn’t hurt).

It’s also because they got Jones while the quarterback getting was still good.

ESPN NFL Draft expert Mel Kiper told reporters on a conference call Thursday that Jones, who made the NFL’s All-Rookie Team last season, would have gone higher in 2022 than he did last year.

“Mac probably would have edged all the quarterbacks out,” Kiper said. “Knowing what we know now, he’d be No. 1.”

Unlike last year’s quarterback class, which featured five top-15 picks, the 2022 class lacks the same pedigree, with only Malik Willis and Kenny Pickett being viewed as consensus candidates to go in the first round.

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Had Jones, who was a senior at Alabama in 2020, stayed in school for one more season and put up similar numbers to his monster first year as a starter, it would’ve been hard to argue with Jones being the indisputable QB1 despite his relative lack of physical upside. Even without an elite arm, no quarterback in this year’s class would’ve been able to match that production over two seasons as a starter against elite competition.

Of course, if Jones indeed took that path, New England almost certainly wouldn’t have had a chance to draft him (even if they had to roll with Cam Newton or another rookie).

Fortunately, Jones left college after his one stellar season, and poor draft choices by a couple of teams in the top-10 and a little good luck last year gave the Patriots the chance to scoop him up.

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