Connect with us

Mac Jones

Dan Orlovsky explains why Mac Jones needs DeAndre Hopkins in New England

Mac Jones throws a pass for the Patriots
Brian Fluharty - USA Today Sports

He did not have a good season in 2022 for the New England Patriots, but there is optimism for Mac Jones to be better in the fall.

New England returned Bill O’Brien as offensive coordinator and added pieces to help Jones in the passing game. The Patriots added JuJu Smith-Schuster and Mike Gesicki in the offseason, but it needs one more piece. DeAndre Hopkins, a free-agent wide receiver, could be the piece for the Patriots. He is a three-time first-team All-Pro weapon that has plenty of football left in him.

RELATED: Kirk Herbstreit says he’s ‘1000 percent’ behind Mac Jones, calls him a Pro Bowl caliber QB

Hopkins had a productive visit for the Patriots, but a deal was not made. ESPN’s NFL analyst Dan Orlovsky was on the Pat McAfee Show this week. He feels good about Jones’ potential success in the fall, but he would like to see Hopkins join him.

“I feel better about Mac Jones’ situation as it sits here today,” Orlovsky said. “I would feel much better if they bring in D-Hop. I have been adamant about the need to get D-Hop in that building. The reason why I’ve been a fan of Mac Jones is because I called a couple of his games at Alabama the last year he was there. In the game, you can appreciate he’s a good player. When you look at him through the lens of an NFL prospect, he does not fit the mold of what the stars look like athletically. But then you study him, and he has everything it takes to be a very good player in the NFL at that position, but elite playmaking athleticism. When it comes to everything else, ball placement, anticipation, twitchiness in the pocket, the ability to make the right throw in the right moment, and sudden feet in operating in a small space, he’s got that at such a high level it makes up for him not being a freakish athlete.”

RELATED: Mac Jones has an emphatic message for third season with Patriots

Orlovsky also complimented Jones’ football intelligence. He said Jones is in a ‘much healthier’ place this season.

“JuJu is a good player,” he said. “Tyquan Thornton, the Patriots’ second-year player, I think he has a chance to be like Emmanuel Sanders was for the Steelers. I don’t think he is going to be that good, but he can provide that kind of impact. I still believe they need D-Hop because, in the NFL, it is a game of either pounding the football and running play-action or having three to four guys play one-on-one football. They don’t have either of those. They don’t have a guy that is going to consistently play one-on-one and win, and they don’t have someone that is going to kill you in yards after the catch. If they have a D-Hop and put him on one side of the formation, now the defense has to say ‘We got to put two people over here.’ Now on the opposite side, JuJu is going to have favorable leverages or matchups. He can become a yards-after-the-catch guy. The same thing with Gesicki or Hunter Henry, they will have more favorable matchups. If they get D-Hop, Mac Jones is going to have one of those big third-year leaps.”

Orlovsky, a former NFL quarterback, joins Kirk Herbstreit as the second media pundit that believes in Jones.

He feels the University of Alabama alumnus can be special if New England gets the right pieces around him.

*Get the BEST Alabama football insider information, message board access, and recruiting coverage today! SIGN UP HERE to unlock our subscriber-only content!*

Stephen M. Smith is the managing editor and senior writer for Touchdown Alabama Magazine.  You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @CoachingMSmith.

Stephen Smith is a 2015 graduate of the University of Alabama. He is a senior writer and reporter for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. He has covered Alabama football for 10+ years and his knowledge and coverage of the Crimson Tide's program have made him among the most respected journalist in his field. Smith has been featured on ESPN and several other marquee outlets as an analyst.

More in Mac Jones