August 10, 2022

The Only Football

Get The Latest NFL News And More!

Who Will Be Patriots Mac Jones’ Top Receiving…

4 min read
Who Will Be Patriots Mac Jones' Top Receiving...

Patriots Mac Jones enters his second NFL season with some decisions to make; who will be trusted as his top receiving target this season?

The Patriots’ 2022 season remains one of the hottest topics around the NFL. Now that they seemingly have their quarterback for the future with Mac Jones, more questions have been discussed as the season nears.

The most popular amongst those discussions is the hope for, or the lack thereof, a true WR1.

Looking back at last season, it’s clear who Jones’ go-to receiver was Jakobi Meyers. But is he the best choice going forward?

What did the 2021 season look like?

  • Jakobi Meyers: 16 games started – 83/126 (65.9%), 866 yards, 2 touchdowns, 3 drops, 222 YAC, 10.4 RECAVG, 50.9YDS/G
  • Kendrick Bourne: 5 games started – 55/70 (78.6%), 800 yards, 5 touchdowns, 2 drops, 385 YAC, 14.5 RECAVG, 47.1 YDS/G
  • Nelson Agholor: 13 games started – 37/64 (57.8%), 473 yards, 3 touchdowns, 1 drop, 118 YAC, 12.8 RECAVG, 31.5 YDS/G
  • Hunter Henry: 10 games started: 50/75 (66.7%), 603 yards, 9 touchdowns, 144 YAC, 12.1 RECAVG, 35.5 YDS/G
  • Jonnu Smith: 11 games started – 28/45 (62.2%), 294 yards, 1 touchdown, 4 drops, 232 YAC, 10.5 RECAVG, 18.4 YDS/G

All things considered, Jones had a successful rookie year. Finding out only days before the season began that he was going to be the starter, and walking into a historically difficult franchise to learn was no easy feat. But Jones led the Patriots back to the playoffs after the team missed out in 2020.

Throughout the year, Jones’ chemistry appeared most with Hunter Henry and Jakobi Meyers; Henry ended with one of the best seasons of his career, totaling nine touchdowns. But Meyers, although finally making it into the end zone, continued struggling to score.

Kendrick Bourne took a giant leap in the latter half of the season, ending right behind Meyers in yards and a few more touchdowns. Could this be the start for Bourne to become the top WR1 candidate this year?

What improvements have been made to the offense this offseason?

There are several question marks heading into this season, including that of who will be calling offensive plays. Josh McDaniels has left to coach for the Las Vegas Raiders, leaving Bill Belichick the difficult task of finding his replacement.

As the months have gone on, there has not been much clarity on who that replacement will be, leaving many wondering how this will impact Jones’ play. But in Belichick we trust, right?

Outside of the coaching drama, some offensive players were brought in. They weren’t necessarily names that tipped the scale in the Patriots’ favor, but the addition of former Dolphins receiver DeVante Parker does add an interesting element to the battle of naming a top pass-catching target.

Parker adds a big-bodied, downfield threat for Jones to work with. His contested catch-making abilities are something the Patriots have been lacking. If he can stay healthy, his presence on the field would certainly benefit the offenses’ dynamic.

Then there are also the newly drafted players that could make an impact this year if given the chance. Belichick double-dipped at the running back position this year, adding two pass-catching backs in Pierre Strong Jr. and Kevin Harris. With James White’s return looking questionable, one of these two could see the field sooner than previously thought.

Wide receiver Tyquan Thornton was drafted as well, adding much needed speed to New England’s offense. Because that has been a weaker point for the team over the last several years, could Thornton make the team for that specific reason?

As Belichick’s coaching philosophy seems to be shifting, anything is possible this season more than any other previously. The offense will develop a new identity and the player who steps up into the WR1 role will directly impact that specifically.

Who is the best choice for this upcoming season?

The second season for any NFL quarterback is an important one. Developing that chemistry with the receivers and the entire offense while also improving upon your previous season is imperative.

With all of the offseason work he has done, from his nutrition and exercise regimen to consistent training sessions with several players, all signs point to a more productive year two for Jones.

It seems fair to assume Jones will stick to his most comfortable target in Meyers. He not only led the team in most yards, but also in targets, receptions and YPG.

Although it appears Meyers is the frontrunner for WR1, Bourne made quite the splash his first season especially in the scoring column. Because that remains a weak point with Meyers, it’s possible Bourne could step into that role fairly easily.

He showed not only strong production as a receiver, he also added 12 rushing attempts totaling 125 yards. And he even threw a touchdown pass in week 7. Bourne is a jack of all trades, the complete Belichick type of guy, giving Meyers the toughest competition to remain atop the receiver board.

Training camp will give a better look into how things are shaping up between Jones and his receivers. The battle to become “the guy” will make for a healthy competition and likely bring out the best in all. Chemistry can’t be forced, so don’t expect any drastic changes to the depth chart. But anything can happen on any given Sunday.

Will A True WR1 Emerge For Patriots’ Mac Jones This Season?