How the Patriots have shown teams the best way to be competitive and build your roster around a rookie quarterback during the 2021 season.
Of all the teams across the NFL, the New England Patriots are the only team to start a rookie quarterback for the majority of their season and make the playoffs. And while Mac Jones has been far from bad, he has not had the elite rookie quarterback play that you would expect from a guy making a playoff appearance in his first year.
The New England Patriots have built a team around Jones that does not rely on quarterback performance to win every game. While Jones still has to play well for the Patriots to win, they do not depend on him week in and week out.
While Mac Jones has been solid this year, we have seen several young quarterbacks in the league struggle to develop when surrounded by below-average players. In recent memory, several quarterbacks have failed in the league partly due to poor rosters around them.
Some guys that come to mind dating back to 2013, Tua Tagovailoa, Daniel Jones, Dwayne Haskins, Drew Lock, Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen, Mitchell Trubisky, Blake Bortles, Paxton Lynch, Johnny Manziel, EJ Manuel, and Geno Smith have all fallen short of their potential because of this.
If you look at the contrary to this, some quarterbacks sat behind a veteran to not only develop but allow their teams to improve (Patrick Mahomes). Quarterbacks came into teams that were already borderline playoff contenders (Justin Herbert, Russell Wilson, Lamar Jackson, Deshaun Watson). And teams who drafted quarterbacks then build around that player to contend (Joe Burrow, Justin Herbert, Kyler Murray, and Josh Allen).
As you can see by just a rough list of names, when quarterbacks are given poor rosters, teams and quarterbacks’ success has worked out less than both parties desire. While the success of drafting a quarterback has then built your team has slightly increased with the success of Allen, Burrow, and Herbert in recent years, we have never seen teams gamble more on the quarterback position.