Two weeks into the 2021 NFL season, it’s easy to start drawing easy conclusions about certain things. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are going to be good again. The Houston Texans are not. But there’s also a lot of room to jump to wild conclusions that may be based more on recency bias than actual fact.
Take, for instance, how some of the league’s rookie quarterbacks are doing. Trevor Lawrence, the No. 1 pick in the draft, is struggling with the Jaguars. In two games, he has a 50% completion percentage, 450 yards, four touchdowns, and five interceptions. Not exactly world-shattering numbers but then again we all pretty much knew it was going to be a struggle given the situation in Jacksonville.
Then there’s Mac Jones over in New England. Selected 15th overall in the draft, he’s sporting a 75% completion percentage, 467 yards, one touchdown, and zero interceptions. That kind of stat line might not match up with the Patrick Mahomes of the world but Jones is doing what’s asked of him and helped steady the Patriots to a 1-1 start despite some hiccups.
While Jones might be doing “better” than Lawrence, any sensible NFL fan realizes that Jones is in a position much better suited for early success while he learns and tries to avoid mistakes while Lawrence is dealing with a really bad team and trying to step up and be the reason they improve. It’s very different scenarios that don’t reflect why they were picked where in the draft.
Which leads us to NFL analyst and radio host Boomer Esiason, who stopped by WEEI’s Greg Hill Show on Monday to offer this scorcher of a take. Boomer says that he thinks Jones should have been selected not just before Zach Wilson, Trey Lance, and Justin Fields, but also Lawrence.
— WEEI (@WEEI) September 20, 2021
“I think Mac Jones would be (first),” Esiason said. “I think everybody sees that.”
That is bonkers. What Esiason is correct in seeing is that Jones is playing the best overall of everyone selected in the first round. What Esiason is misinterpreting is that Jones’s early success is a reflection of his skill and ability overall.
History may very well play out that Mac Jones goes on to win Super Bowls and dominate the league like another Patriots quarterback before him. But for the time being, he’s the rookie quarterback in the best position to succeed taking advantage of that. The odds are still in Lawrence’s favor that, once the Jaguars improve or he finds a better situation, he’ll justify his pick status. Either way, there’s absolutely no way to say Mac Jones should have been taken No. 1 because he’s played well in two games.