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Mac Jones' Fantasy Outlook After Patriots Select QB in 2021 NFL Draft

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistApril 30, 2021

American Team quarterback Mac Jones of Alabama (10) throws during the American Team practice for the NCAA Senior Bowl college football game in Mobile, Ala., Thursday, Jan. 28, 2021. (AP Photo/Matthew Hinton)
Matthew Hinton/Associated Press

The biggest story of the draft has now come to a close, with the New England Patriots officially selecting Mac Jones No. 15 overall during the first round of Thursday's NFL draft.

For weeks, the debate has been the order in which Jones, Justin Fields and Trey Lance would be selected. And now we know.

What we don't know, of course, is what sort of fantasy impact—if any—Jones will have during his rookie season. But we can take an educated guess. 

You might be surprised to learn that, of all the rookie quarterbacks, Jones might just be the best bet to post solid numbers during his first season. Well, if he wins the starting job over Cam Newton, that is. 

Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson are both risky picks, joining two pretty rough rosters amidst a rebuild. Lance is a project. Fields has a lot of upside, given his athleticism and ability to rush the ball, but like Lance, there's the risk he won't really see the field right away. 

And yes, Jones offers that same risk. But he's a pretty interesting sleeper option as your QB2 because outside of Lawrence, he's probably the most pro-ready option of the bunch. 

Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com only listed Jones as the No. 32 overall player in this draft class on his last big board, saying he showed "incredible accuracy, efficiency and poise" during his time at Alabama and "should become a starting NFL quarterback, but his lack of twitch and athleticism will limit the playbook with the way the game is trending."

OK, not the most sparkling endorsement of his potential fantasy upside. 

NFL on ESPN @ESPNNFL

.@danorlovsky7 has high hopes for Trey Lance 👀 "I think you'd win a lot of games WITH Mac Jones. With the right coaching, fixing the flaws, and taking the talent to another level, Trey Lance is the quarterback that you win games BECAUSE of." https://t.co/quVsFl0t5r

Well, what about this? Albert Breer of SI.com believes Jones has the ability to "play fast and play on schedule" and adds that "you’ll be happy with Jones in Year 1 or Year 2. In Year 5? I'm not as sure."

OK, OK, so he should hit the ground running, but his upside is limited. That's fair.

And Peter King of Pro Football Talk wrote that one coach told him Jones "has elite NFL traits. He's a natural thrower, is technically very sound, very accurate and throws a catchable ball. His base and mechanics are excellent."

There we go. That's what fantasy players want to hear. 

Here's the truth: Rookie quarterbacks rarely produce enough to be safe investments right away. In redraft leagues, they are hard to rely on. In dynasty leagues, Jones is probably the fifth quarterback you should be taking. The other guys just have more natural ability and, by proxy, upside. 

But this season, right away? Jones is a worthy gamble if he wins the starting gig, especially if you take a very reliable, high-end option at the position in the earlier rounds. Newton wasn't great last year, so expect an open competition.

Granted, he's not exactly coming into a New England roster loaded with top-end talent out wide. And again, he might not win the job. But if he does, well, don't be shocked if Jones is a nice QB2 to have on your roster.