Maybe the New England Patriots won’t be as suspect as some expect at the cornerback position. While no one knows how much Malcolm Butler has left as a supposed No. 1 corner, we’re starting to see the other players who have a chance to make some noise at the position.
Rookie cornerback Jack Jones is turning some heads. The Arizona State product was taken in the fourth round of April’s 2022 NFL draft, and he made an impression in training camp and voluntary workouts. Bleacher Report’s Alex Ballentine is already calling Jones a draft-day steal.
Jones earned a strong nickname from ESPN’s Mike Reiss who referred to the rookie as “sticky” after watching him work at camp. It would appear the No. 2 corner spot on the opposite side of Butler would seemingly be open.
If Jones plays well when camp restarts and during the preseason, he’ll have a chance to compete for a starting opportunity
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Tom Brady’s Second Year as Starter & Mac Jones
The pressure is on Mac Jones as he enters his second season. As a rookie, Jones threw for 3,801 yards, 22 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. That stat line and the Patriots’ playoff berth was good enough to help Jones finish second in the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year race. Jones also made a Pro Bowl.
After such a strong start to his NFL career, Jones is expected to put up even better numbers in 2022. While unfair, it is inevitable, Jones’ second-year stats will be compared to Tom Brady’s numbers in the same situation.
Back in 2002–a year after Brady put up an 11-3 record and led the Pats to a Super Bowl title in 2001–New England fell back a bit.
Brady’s numbers were a little better in his second year as a starter, but the team finished 9-7. Brady threw for 3,764 yards, 28 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. The 28 touchdown tosses were tops in the league, but overall, this was very similar to what Jones did as a rookie.
If Jones produces another season on par with his rookie year–at least statistically–it would be a disappointment. New England’s offense has more weapons in 2022 than it did in 2021, thanks to the acquisition of DeVante Parker and rookies like Tyquan Thornton.
Injuries are always a possibility and that can change everything, but a year upwards of 4,500 passing yards with 30 touchdowns and 15 or fewer interceptions would be a sweet spot for Jones and the Patriots.
Can Any Patriots WR Eclipse the 1,000-Yard Mark?
The answer to this question has a lot to do with how well Jones plays. Parker figures to have an inside track on the WR1 role, which would mean he’d have the best chance to go over 1,000 receiving yards.
However, Jakobi Meyers has improved every year of his career. In 2021, Meyers had 866 receiving yards. If his current trajectory continues, he could be on the verge of a 1,000-yard campaign. That said, Parker is the only WR currently on the roster who has ever had a season on that level.
Parker had 1,202 yards in 2019 with the Miami Dolphins.
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