So Cam Newton injured his throwing hand on a teammate's helmet at OTAs yesterday. There was a small degree of intrigue -- would this launch the Mac Jones Era? -- but updated reports have it as a minor bone bruise. Newton should be fine; more reps for Jones at these early practices, but that's it.
(Aside: granted this is the Patriots, so Newton could have broken every bone in his hand yesterday and they'd be calling him day-to-day.)
Anyway, it's guesswork as to whether New England's Week 1 starter will be the rookie Jones or the veteran Newton. They'll compete in camp (let's not forget the immortal Jarrett Stidham, or maybe let's), and the Patriots will see. If I had to guess I'd say Newton will open as the starter, but if he struggles as much passing it as a year ago, Jones will get into the lineup before midseason. To me that makes neither player a great pick in early best-ball drafts. Too much risk of selecting a guy who doesn't play more than 5-6 games.
We've talked (and will talk some more) about how first-round quarterbacks tend to get on the field quickly. But that's primarily guys selected at the top of the round, like Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson (and maybe Trey Lance). Quarterbacks selected around the 15th pick, where Jones fell to? That's a lot less likely.
Here are the rookie passing numbers from all quarterbacks selected in the first round the last 25 years, but outside the top 10 picks. I sorted them by touchdown passes, which provides an indication of the relatively minimal impact. Just eight of the 26 threw double-digit touchdowns; only two (Deshaun Watson and Ben Roethlisberger) threw even 15. Nearly half (12) of the 26 barely played, attempting fewer than 100 passes and throwing 5 or fewer touchdowns.
|1ST-ROUND QBS, 1996-2021 (OUTSIDE TOP 10 PICKS)|
A couple of those guys (Lamar Jackson, Tim Tebow) put up significant rushing stats, but that's not gonna happen with Jones.
A few of those rookie quarterbacks who didn't do much went on to have either good (Chad Pennington, Daunte Culpepper) or great (Aaron Rodgers) careers. A few of the ones who played more (Roethlisberger, Jackson, Watson, Cutler) should have been drafted a little earlier. But the majority didn't pan out.
I don't see any reason to have negative thoughts about Jones specifically, but the odds of success get a lot longer for quarterbacks selected outside the top 5 or 10 picks. Given that, and lacking the running component, I don't see myself using a draft pick on Jones this season, apart from deeper dynasty leagues.