BOSTON (CBS) — Pro Football Focus is a website dedicated to grading every player on every team for every snap of NFL action that is played. Pro Football Focus is also a website that has been mightily impressed by the Patriots this preseason.
So impressed, in fact, that the Patriots have three players who are currently the highest graded players at their respective position. Rookie Mac Jones’ current spot as the best quarterback in the NFL is certainly the headline …
The highest-graded QBs so far this preseason 🎯 pic.twitter.com/sfDS55wJtf
— PFF (@PFF) August 23, 2021
… but Jakobi Meyers being the highest-graded wide receiver and Matthew Judon being the highest-graded EDGE defender is significantly noteworthy as well.
Highest-graded edge defenders this preseason:
1. Matthew Judon – 94.9
2. Chris Jones – 93.2 pic.twitter.com/Xoj1LiU9Dc
— PFF (@PFF) August 23, 2021
Highest-graded WRs this preseason:
🇺🇸 Jakobi Meyers – 91.4
✈️ Corey Davis – 91.3 pic.twitter.com/D8A3sNr8sK
— PFF (@PFF) August 22, 2021
On Jones, PFF analyst Sam Monson wrote, “A rookie who was supposed to ease into the NFL behind veteran Cam Newton looks ready to play already. … Through two preseason games, Jones has already shown that his mental traits and accuracy still play at this level. Obviously, preseason is a step down from the regular season, but it’s all there is to judge at this point. Jones currently has a 92.4 overall PFF grade. … His adjusted completion rate is 80.6%, showing that his accuracy remains potent after a stellar Alabama career.”
As the story mentions, Jones has thrown two perfect deep balls that could have been touchdowns, but neither Krisitan Wilkerson vs. Washington nor N’Keal Harry vs. Philadelphia could complete the play.
“The Patriots have also put Jones in challenging situations, presumably to see if his demeanor remains calm and cool as pressure mounts,” Monson wrote. “Jones has run drives in the hurry-up offense and from backed up in his own end zone. In each situation, he has responded and looked as in-command of the offense as at any other time.”
Monson concluded with a succinct message: “Mac Jones looks ready to start for the Patriots right now.”
Meyers, who was undrafted in 2019 and is entering his third season in New England, caught three passes for 56 yards and a touchdown vs. the Eagles.
Judon, one of the Patriots’ big-name acquisitions in free agency this offseason, has shined in his preseason work thus far. He’s made three tackles, recorded a hit on the quarterback, and forced a fumble after QB Joe Flacco recovered a bad snap and tried to make a play last Thursday night.
PFF’s Ben Linsey said, “Judon was one of the best players on the field for the second week in a row.”
Obviously, the Patriots care more about wins in the regular season and the postseason than preseason PFF grades. But the early returns are very positive for two newcomers and a third-year receiver, all of whom figure to be critical pieces of the 2021 team.