Mac Jones is not looking like a rookie quarterback.
The New England Patriots signal-caller has helped lead his team to a 4-4 start and is clearly the best rookie quarterback in the league at the moment.
Of course, going to a team with some structure has helped his cause.
The Patriots are taking on the Carolina Panthers this week and their head coach, Matt Rhule, said he knew Jones would be great all along.
Matt Rhule knew Mac Jones was the real deal 👀 pic.twitter.com/CIqm8M8wJB
— PFF (@PFF) November 6, 2021
That is some great praise and shows Jones entered the NFL with some real hype around his name.
A Potential Missed Opportunity
The Panthers owned the No. 9 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft and went with defensive back Jaycee Horn.
He has missed much of the season with an injury.
So why didn’t Rhule go after Jones in the first place if he was so high on him coming out of college?
The acquisition of Sam Darnold meant Rhule already had his quarterback.
In hindsight, he may be wishing he just went with Jones or even Justin Fields with the No. 9 pick.
Darnold looks below-average without Christian McCaffrey on the field, which may also be Rhule’s fault.
Regardless, Jones and Darnold are set for a showdown this Sunday in a battle of 4-4 teams.
The Panthers finally ended a four-game losing streak last week and McCaffrey could make his return to the field Sunday.
2️⃣2️⃣ on the field pic.twitter.com/QMWL3tRmJy
— Carolina Panthers (@Panthers) November 3, 2021
Will that be enough to win?
It may all depend on how Jones plays as he only continues to improve with time.
Last week was actually a down week for the rookie in what was still a road win over the Los Angeles Chargers.
He had 217 yards and no touchdowns, but the defense forced two Justin Herbert interceptions to get the win.
Rhule’s Panthers could have drafted Jones and started a new era in Carolina.
Instead, he is stuck with Darnold and may get a first-hand look at why passing on Jones was a bad idea.