Overrated? NFL.com analyst says Mac Jones doesn't grade as first-round pick
In the lead-up to the 2021 NFL Draft, Mac Jones’ stock has surged. The Heisman Trophy finalist has even been talked about as the possible No. 3 overall pick after the San Francisco 49ers traded up. One former NFL player and scout, however, thinks Jones is being overhyped as a potential high draft pick.
NFL Media’s Bucky Brooks recently shared why he doesn’t grade Jones as a first-round pick. Brooks had some fun with his NFL.com article, likening Jones’ supporting cast at Alabama to comic book superhero Iron Man’s armored suit:
While I’m not issuing a complete dismissal of Jones’ talents as a pinpoint passer with nice timing, touch and anticipation, he significantly benefited from playing behind an NFL-caliber offensive line with first-round talents at wide receiver and running back. The Crimson Tide offense was the armored suit that elevated Jones’ game, and scouts need to keep his production in perspective when gauging his talent.
Now, of course, many of the other quarterbacks in this class played alongside five-star talents, but Jones lacks superpowers as a player himself. What happens to Tony Stark when you take away his suit?
The 6-foot-3, 217-pounder doesn’t display A-grade arm talent or athleticism between the lines. Jones lacks the speed, quickness and running ability to extend plays or create big gains outside of structure. Moreover, he is confined to the pocket as a statuesque signal-caller built to throw traditional dropback passes behind a fortress.
Brooks continued his assessment, noting Alabama was so good that Jones often did not have to make the most challenging throws:
To his credit, Jones is an outstanding rhythm passer with the capacity to string together completions on short and intermediate throws. He tosses a catchable ball with pinpoint accuracy and a deft touch, despite the fact that this wasn’t always needed in Tuscaloosa. Obviously, he isn’t to blame for his receivers’ ability to get open — wide open — but scouts should note the consistent separation and space gained by ‘Bama receivers at the top of routes. This led to fewer tight-window throws that challenged Jones to fit the ball into the mailbox.
Brooks’ full take, where he acknowledges “Jones will likely hear his name called in Round 1” can be read here.
The NFL Draft is set to begin on April 29.