New England Patriots wide receiver Kendrick Bourne noticed an obvious change with teammate Mac Jones as the team prepares for the 2022 NFL season.
"He's in the best shape of his life," Bourne told reporters Monday. "He looks really good. His stomach is gone."
He added the second-year quarterback is "definitely a lot more in shape than he ever was, just dominating in conditioning."
In the case of a player such as Jones, who now has a full year in the pros under his belt, there's certainly a benefit to having a better understanding of what's required.
Jones said he "probably learned more this offseason than I ever have about my diet, sleep, nutrition, wellness, all that stuff."
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"I've learned more this offseason than I ever have about nutrition, sleep, wellness, so I'm kind of taking what I've learned that I feel will help me and apply it."<br><br>Mac Jones discusses the changes he'd made to his diet this offseason. <a href="https://t.co/iZl6kbFys0">pic.twitter.com/iZl6kbFys0</a>
The 23-year-old didn't want to slim down too much, though, in order to "maintain my weight and be able to take hits."
Jones exceeded expectations as a rookie. He threw for 3,801 yards, 22 touchdowns and 13 interceptions en route to finishing second behind Cincinnati Bengals star Ja'Marr Chase in the Offensive Rookie of the Year voting.
After winning 10 games and earning a wild-card berth, New England knows it can be a playoff team with Jones at the helm. However, it's still a little unclear where his—and by extension the Patriots'—ceiling is.
A player's draft position certainly isn't the only indicator of their potential, but there was a reason Jones was the fifth QB off the board in the 2021 draft.
The 2022 season will continue to show how much more room Jones has to grow and whether the Patriots have their true successor to Tom Brady.