Ex-NFL QB Alex Smith has high praise for Patriots' Mac Jones

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Ex-NFL QB Alex Smith has high praise for Mac Jones originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

Mac Jones turned heads with his stellar performance in Sunday's rout of the Cleveland Browns.

The New England Patriots rookie quarterback notched the first three-touchdown game of his young career in the 45-7 victory. He showed off his impressive accuracy with a handful of spectacular throws, including a TD pass to Kendrick Bourne.

Curran: Mac Jones is real, and he's spectacular

Jones' play through the first 10 weeks of the season is rightfully earning national praise. It was a talking point during ESPN's "Monday Night Countdown," where former NFL quarterback Alex Smith raved about the 2021 first-round draft pick.

Smith was asked what has impressed him most about Jones.

"There's a lot. How do you narrow it down? Through 10 games now, the sample size is pretty big," Smith said. "He's on pace to shatter the completion percentage record for a rookie quarterback. He's fourth in the entire NFL, let alone against his fellow rookies. ...

"The timing and anticipation that he continues to play with ... In a day where we love to talk about measurables, he's not the biggest guy, he's not the fastest guy, he doesn't have the biggest arm, but it's the intangibles. It's the immeasurables."

Hall-of-Fame QB Steve Young joined in complimenting the 23-year-old signal-caller.

"He came out with the elite grade in processing," Young said. "Everyone knew he was a tremendous processor. That's the job. He was the elite of all five (first-round quarterbacks) in processing. Everyone else talks about, 'Does he have legs? Oh, he doesn't have legs. He doesn't have the big arm.' But the job, he was always going to be great at."

Jones isn't lighting up box scores, nor is he among the leaders in touchdown passes or passing yards. But he hasn't had to put up big numbers to lead the Patriots back into the playoff conversation. New England is 6-4 and riding a four-game win streak largely because Jones doesn't try to do too much. On Sunday, he showed his ceiling might be even higher than many had anticipated.

He'll look to carry momentum from that performance into Thursday night's matchup with the Atlanta Falcons.