2021 NFL Draft Profile: QB Mac Jones
Depending on who you would’ve asked back in January, Mac Jones was set to be a 2nd-round NFL Draft pick. He put together a phenomenal 2020 season at Alabama, but he still is relatively inexperienced and doesn’t display the natural traits that the NFL seems to be valued more and more.
However, over the past few months, Jones has experienced a meteoric rise in Draft circles, and he’s apparently in the top-5 conversation. While Jones did perform very well in his starting opportunity this past season, he had the best offensive line in all of college football in front of him to pair with the best-receiving weapons.
The accuracy, football IQ, and decision-making are all there, but will that be enough when everything surrounding him isn’t perfect? Is he worthy of going above the other consensus top-4 QBs in this 2021 NFL Draft?
These questions are answered here in our scouting profile on Mac Jones:
Weight: 217 lbs.
40-Yard Dash: 4.68
Vertical Jump: 32
Broad Jump: 116
Short Shuttle: 4.39
3-Cone Drill: 7.04
Skills Breakdown (out of 100)
Accuracy (76): Jones’s accuracy is arguably his greatest trait. Within 20 yards, Jones is guaranteed to hit his receiver in stride and get the ball out quickly. He’s excellent in short to intermediate levels of the field, but his accuracy can waver deep downfield. This could be due to a lack of pure arm strength, which leads to overcompensating at the launch point. If he’s putting too much effort into pushing the ball deep, he’s operating outside of good mechanics, which can force the ball to sail on him, be under-thrown, etc.
Decision-Making (75.5): Good decision-maker on tape. Easy to do when he’s asked to get the ball out quickly and into his playmakers’ hands. He rarely throws the ball into questionable situations, but that’s also a product of who his receivers were and how much separation they generated any given play.
Mental Processing (75): Good mental processing skills and ability to go through his reads if the play isn’t a designed screen, etc. However, he does show the tendency sometimes to hurry through his progressions too quickly and just throw the ball to his third or fourth read without even looking at the coverage near them. This could be due to a fear of getting hit and wanting to quickly just get the ball out.
Arm Strength (74): Above average arm strength, but not anything that’s going to wow NFL coaches. As mentioned before, Jones has to put a ton of effort behind his throws when asked to air it out deep, which is a sign that it’s not a natural “rocket” arm. Even on intermediate throws, the ball doesn’t fly out of his hand, which means that he could have issues when the windows get tighter in the NFL. He’ll have to learn how to rely on anticipation and throwing the ball before the receiver’s out of his break.
Pocket Presence (75.5): Decent pocket presence, but it looks better because he played behind arguably the best OL in CFB. Constantly shrinking back and failing to step up into his throws in the pocket. He also tends to drop his eyes when navigating the pocket if he’s unable to get the ball out quickly and pressure’s coming up the gut. It could get much worse when he’s placed behind an inferior offensive line in the NFL.
Mechanics (74): His mechanics are often all over the place. On the quick throws, it’s not worth critiquing. However, on deeper passes, he fails to bring his front foot forward, and he’s throwing off of his back foot. Additionally, even without pressure in his face, he’s consistently falling backward in his throws and rotating completely through his hips. He often finds his throwing hand at 9:00 or 10:00 when he’s done releasing the ball. A lot of work will need to be done to clean up this area of his game.
Improvisation (72): Very little improvisation ability is displayed in his tape. The scheme relied on quick and scripted throws, which meant that the ball wasn’t in Jones’ hand long enough to improvise. In the situations that his throws weren’t there, he struggled to get outside of the pocket and create independently.
Poise (71): His production and experience playing against the best of the best in the SEC can’t be argued, but his poise on the football field in the face of pressure is very concerning. If the surrounding cast isn’t perfect for Jones in the NFL, he could struggle immensely.
Athleticism (73): Solid athleticism when he’s rolling out of the pocket and asked to pick up additional yardage. Certainly not a statue, but he lacks the athleticism that will make him a dual-threat QB. He’ll have to win from within the pocket, and that’s very concerning given the work that he needs to do on improving his pocket presence and mechanics. Overall, Jones could be a very effective game-manager at the next level if his situation is perfect around him. Unfortunately, that doesn’t happen in the NFL, and Jones will be asked to help carry his offense. I’m unconvinced that he has the tools and traits to overcome a poor offensive line and/or lackluster receivers. Jones is a Day 2 pick.
Mac Jones is Jimmy Garoppolo reincarnate. A beneficiary of elite talent around him & elite scheme.#49ers, don’t overthink this, draft Justin Fields. The two don’t belong in the same conversation. pic.twitter.com/nHYUELc1bu
– Emmanuel Acho (@EmmanuelAcho) April 8, 2021
There are some throws that Mac Jones makes that are really exciting.
His touch over the top often shines and this throw is a prime example. pic.twitter.com/N5hPi0e5Ty
– Kyle Yates (@KyleYNFL) January 27, 2021
– The Checkdown (@thecheckdown) December 6, 2020
They Said It
Projected Draft Range
At this point, it seems like a lock that Jones is going to go off the board in the first 10 picks of the 2021 NFL Draft.
Ideal Fantasy Landing Spot
The 49ers traded up to No. 3 overall and are rumored to be keen on Jones. Pairing Jones with Kyle Shanahan would be the ideal fantasy landing spot. Still, if San Francisco goes a different direction, Denver would be the next best situation with all of their receiving weapons.
Daniel Jones has more mobility to his game than Mac Jones, but the main traits that made them intriguing prospects are the same. They’re both highly accurate, good processors, and make good decisions with the football.
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