OPINION: Ranking Mac Jones over Tua Tagovailoa doesn’t make sense

With the 2023 NFL regular season getting closer, analysts have begun projecting how teams will perform. Quarterbacks are undeniably the most important players on any given team and are vital to a team’s success. Chris Simms took it upon himself, as he does every year, to rank the top 40 quarterbacks in the NFL heading into the new season.

While he’s only revealing a few players at a time, we’ve hit somewhat of a wall. The most recent ranking was No. 24-20. In it, are Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa at No. 21 and New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones at No. 20.

Something about that feels a bit off.

Let’s start with Jones. The Patriots had a poor season in 2022 and made a few moves this offseason, but they don’t seem to be enough to compete with the rest of the AFC East, which many believe to be the strongest division in the NFL.

Through 14 games in 2022, Jones posted 2,997 yards, 14 touchdowns and 11 interceptions, while completing passes at a 65.2% completion rate and a QB rating of 36.2. A slight regression from an impressive rookie season from the former Alabama star.

Ranking Jones at No. 20 actually does seem appropriate. Jones has the talent and ability to be a better quarterback; but after last season, it’s hard not to rank him right around there. However, having Tagovailoa behind him at No. 21 doesn’t seem to make much sense.

Last season, Tagovailoa only appeared in 13 games, he was sidelined for multiple contests, including the playoff appearance, due to concussions. He played in one less game than Jones and put up significantly higher numbers.

In 2022, Tagovailoa had 3,548 yards (ranked 12th in the NFL), 25 touchdowns (ranked 8th in the NFL), eight interceptions (ranked 12th in the NFL) and a QB rating of 68.8 (ranked 3rd in the NFL).

Many will say that Tagovailoa and the Dolphins have more offensive talent than Jones and the Patriots, which is why one set of stats is higher than the other. Yes, this is true. However, look at what happens when both quarterbacks are removed from their respective starting roles.

The Dolphins went 1-4 in games where Tagovailoa did not start, including the playoff game. There would be more losses if I included games that he started, but did not finish (Bengals game).

However, the Patriots were 2-1 in 2022 when Jones was not on the field and there are rumors that there may be a competition between Jones and his fan-favorite backup, Bailey Zappe. Jones reportedly stated that he would not be afraid of competition.

However, this shouldn’t come as a surprise to Dolphins fans, who likely look forward to these rankings for the sole purpose of entertainment. Before the 2022 season, Simms ranked Tagovailoa No. 34, which had him placed behind multiple backups from teams across the NFL.

Simms also has the 2023 first-overall pick, Bryce Young, ranked No. 38 in this year’s rankings, behind Anthony Richardson and C.J. Stroud, all of whom are behind the likes of Jarrett Stidham, Andy Dalton, and others.

These annual rankings seem to get many fans frustrated as they look to defend their team’s starting quarterback. It also gets people talking and engaged in debates. Which, at the end of the day, could be the very motive behind the rankings of a lot of these quarterbacks.

Roll Tide Wire will continue to cover Tagovailoa, Jones and other former Alabama stars in the NFL as the 2023 season approaches.

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OPINION: Ranking Mac Jones over Tua Tagovailoa doesn't make sense

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Story originally appeared on Roll Tide Wire