24. Mac Jones, New England Patriots
It seems there is a bit of trouble in "paradise" between the Patriots and Mac Jones. What seemed to be a match made in heaven with Jones a true game manager coming from Nick Saban's Alabama Crimson Tide got off to a great start in 2021 for the Pats.
Then, as of last season, you had many fans seemingly calling for Bailey Zappe to start over Jones at QB. Now with Bill O'Brien calling plays for the Patriots' offense, I think we'll see an improved Mac Jones this season. I never felt like he was this super-limited option at the position like some said coming out of college, but there feels like less to be excited about heading into 2023 than there did in 2022. Mac Jones may just be an average or below-average NFL starter. But that's still better than most.
23. Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh Steelers
Admittedly, I'm drinking a little Kool-Aid on this one. I don't think Kenny Pickett had the best rookie season for the Steelers last year, but I'm buying some progression in 2023. I think the Steelers have outstanding skill position talent, as usual, and they should have a significantly upgraded offensive line.
That last piece will help Kenny Pickett tremendously. Statistically speaking, Pickett was rather unimpressive in 13 games last season. When you look at his on-field performance, however, you get the full story. I think Pickett showed tremendous poise with four game-winning drives last season, helping the Steelers to a winning record.