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2021 NFL scouting report: Alabama QB Mac Jones

A closer look at a more traditional pocket passer.

NCAA Football: Senior Bowl Practice Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

Mac Jones is another quarterback prospect that will garner attention from teams as a starter from the University of Alabama. Jones gained the starting QB position after a major injury of Tua Tagovailoa, and after performing well, never relinquished the starting spot.

In his Junior year, Jones ended up with 4,500 yards passing on a 77.4% completion percentage, threw for 44 touchdowns, and only tossed 4 interceptions. He also led Alabama to yet another National Championship under Nick Saban, so from a production standpoint, he’s looked good.

Production isn’t close to everything, though. Jones, unlike the other top QB prospects, is more of a pure pocket passer, and he’ll surprise you with his tools more than blow you away with them. On the right team, he could be a solid starter in the NFL, and quarterback-starved teams will take a hard look at him in the first round.

Here’s my review on Mac Jones and why the Falcons could possibly have them on their radar.

Player Height/Weight: 6’3” – 214 lbs (per team measurements)

Games Watched: vs. UGA (2020), vs. LSU (2020), Vs. Kentucky (2020)

Strengths

  • Good football IQ.
  • Displays poise when in the pocket and navigates well to find good throwing lanes.
  • Excellent field vision.
  • Exhibits patience in the pocket.
  • Good decision maker who protects the ball and is sound mechanically.
  • Throws with good anticipation and excellent touch, and very good when in a rhythm.
  • Knows how to throw receivers open and give them YAC opportunities
  • Good feel for pressure and solid pocket mobility
  • Able to make throws on all 3 levels of the field.
  • Good leader on the field.
  • Shows an advanced capacity to go through progressions cleanly and smoothly.

Weaknesses

  • Below average athlete, which makes him a pure pocket passer.
  • Has a good arm, but not a great one.
  • Limited in regards to schemes he can excel in.
  • Won’t be a big playmaker at the next level, especially with his legs

Mac Jones is a prototypical pocket passer at the next level. He’s not a threat to run, but he certainly shows poise and confidence when in the pocket. He also has the ability to throw the deep ball, but there are times where the receiver either had to slow down or come back to make a play on the ball. I love his timing and anticipation as a thrower, which would make him an ideal system quarterback in a west coast offense.

The Falcons could consider Jones as an heir to Matt Ryan, but it would be later in the 1st or early in the 2nd round. The only thing with drafting a QB like Jones is you must have the right pieces around him for him to excel in the NFL. I project Mac Jones to be an average starter at the next level under the right system, with his fortunes depending a lot on the scheme and supporting cast he walks into.

Could Arthur Smith work with a player like Jones? Absolutely, but he and GM Terry Fontenot better make sure they have the appropriate pieces around him due to the fact that he doesn’t have the skill set to take over games by himself.