The NFL premiered the first half of their Top 100 Player rankings for 2022 on Sunday and two Patriots made their way onto the ratings. Mac Jones, who led the Patriots to an 10-7 record and back to the playoffs as a rookie, came in at 85th, while Matthew Judon, a free agent signing from the Ravens who pitched in 12.5 sacks in his first year with New England, rated 52nd.
"Mac is a field general," said his teammate Judon, with Patriots veteran defensive lineman Lawrence Guy adding, "He came in as a leader and built that relationship with his teammates.... The offensive line loves him, you can see the respect they have for him."
Even opponents expressed a growing respect for the young quarterback and what he did as a rookie, throwing 22 touchdowns to 13 interceptions while completing 67.6 percent of his passes.
"I think he's a hell of a player who's going to be good for the Patriots franchise for a long time, I believe that," said former Patriot Chandler Jones.
Judon needed less of an introduction to his peers than the rookie, arriving from the Ravens with 34.5 sacks already under his belt from his first five seasons. What makes Judon such a problem for offenses?
"His red sleeves," joked Mac, noting the look that Judon quickly became known for after his arrival in New England, but adding he learned to, "Enjoy the game, do what you're supposed to do but have fun," from Judon.