The Heisman Trophy finalist could be a first-round pick in late April
Good things come to those who wait, and that may be the case for Mac Jones as it relates to the upcoming 2021 NFL Draft. After sitting behind Tua Tagovailoa at Alabama for nearly two full seasons, Jones got his chance after an injury to show what he's capable of. An impressive end to the 2019 season carried over to his breakthrough 2020 campaign in which he helped lead Alabama to an undefeated record and the national title while piling up the stats himself. Now the player who was an afterthought for most of his collegiate career could hear his name called in the first round.
Here's a look at what teams are considering when evaluating Jones.
(This profile is one of 230 featured in the Athlon Sports 2021 NFL Draft Guide. With in-depth scouting reports on the top prospects, position rankings, and more, no source will have you better prepared for draft day. Click here to get your copy.)
Mac Jones Draft Profile
Jones is an efficient distributor whose anticipation, decision-making and impeccable ball placement made life easy for the Tide’s collection of elite playmakers. His ball placement allowed weapons to maximize catch-and-run opportunities at the short and intermediate levels, and his downfield accuracy is excellent. He has a quick, compact release and isn’t afraid to test tight windows. He also flashed enough athleticism to survive and extend plays when needed.
While Jones is willing to hang in the pocket, he will often drift backward in the face of pressure. That, combined with average arm talent, could keep him from fitting tight-window throws in the NFL; he’ll either have to play more conservatively or risk throwing a lot of interceptions.
His profile is something of a lesser Joe Burrow, the biggest difference being Jones’ inferior work in a muddy pocket (so perhaps a better Andy Dalton for his ceiling). Still, Jones could emerge as a quality starter in a quick-strike offense that uses spread concepts, with his floor being as a quality backup.
Final Grade: 2nd round