The New England Patriots selected Alabama product Mac Jones with the 15th pick of the 2021 NFL Draft, and the rookie quarterback made his debut in New England’s preseason opener against the Washington Football Team on Thursday night.

Jones replaced veteran quarterback Cam Newton with 55 seconds remaining in the first quarter and received a standing ovation from the home crowd at Gillette Stadium.

He proceeded to complete 13-of-19 passes for 87 yards. Those are far from eye-popping numbers, but they’re also a bit misleading.

For example, Jones threw a deep-ball strike to wide receiver Kristian Wilkerson that Wilkerson dropped in the end zone. This is a dime, and it should’ve been a touchdown pass for Jones (if so, that’s 14-of-19 for 121 yards and a touchdown, and that’s surely how the Patriots think of it in their evaluation of his performance):

Jones ran the offense with poise and made good anticipation throws.

Much of the football Twitterverse was impressed with his performance:

There’s plenty of room for improvement, but overall, it was a solid showing and step forward for Jones in his hopes to be the Patriots’ starting quarterback. It’s surely happening at some point this season; it’s just a matter of when. NFL Network and DirecTV Red Zone host Andrew Siciliano saw enough to predict that the regular-season debut for Jones will come in Week 1.

As for the preseason game, New England came away with a 22-13 victory.

About Matt Clapp

Matt is an editor at The Comeback. He attended Colorado State University, wishes he was Saved by the Bell's Zack Morris, and idolizes Larry David. And loves pizza and dogs because obviously.

He can be followed on Twitter at @Matt2Clapp (also @TheBlogfines for Cubs/MLB tweets and @DaBearNecess for Bears/NFL tweets), and can be reached by email at mclapp@thecomeback.com.