Michael McCorkle Jones – Quarterback – Alabama
Cut : 1m91
Weight: 97 kilos
Estimated position in the draft: 1st round
2020 stats: 4500 yards, 41 touchdowns for 4 interceptions
NFL Comparison: Derek Carr (Raiders)
The quarterback is the playmaker of a football team, the one who guarantees the effectiveness of the attack. In this, Mac Jones gives a lot of assurances: his throws are precise and the placement of his balls always gives the advantage to the receivers over the defenders. In 2020, he attempted 311 passes and completed 77% of them! Mac Jones is a pocket pitcher who knows how to have multiple reads and also get rid of the ball if no one is available. He is therefore a reliable player, who makes few mistakes.
The University of Alabama never aims to have a good football team, ever. Playing in Alabama is like doing it in the best soccer clubs: national champion or it’s a so-called failed season! Mac Jones knows this pressure and the demands that go with it. Player arrived by the back door, he knew how to work to win his place. According to the staff of Alabama, Mac Jones has an obsession, that of being the best prepared possible. His coaches even evoke a kind of « paranoia » to never be sufficiently ready so, Mac Jones works again and again, on the field and in the video room.
– Athletic qualities
– Public perception
– Arm power
Main criticism, the one heard most often: Mac Jones is not athletic enough for the modern NFL. Certainly, his physical qualities are far from those of Lamar Jackson or even Josh Allen. During the Pro Day of the University of Alabama, Mac Jones was tested athletically: on the 40-yard sprint as well as on the dry trigger, Mac Jones signed better results than, in their time, Patrick Mahomes, Sam Darnold and Baker Mayfield. If he is not an extraordinary athlete, far from it, his abilities in this area are far from crippling to play in the NFL.
If Trevor Lawrence and Justin Fields have been in the spotlight for years now, Mac Jones has come a long way. Rookie only 3 stars (out of 5), he first spent time replacing two players with much higher profile: Jalen Hurts (Eagles) then Tua Tagovailoa (Dolphins). Coming from so far and at the applied but little flashy game, to question the perception that he is an average player, seems very difficult for many. So, to compensate for a late revelation that disconcerts them, most of the comments prefer to evoke the superb players who surrounded him in Alabama or the lack of power of his arm.
It is enough to see the cast around Justin Fields in Ohio State or the outrageous domination of North Dakota State by Trey Lance (NDSU remains on 3 consecutive league titles), to very quickly sweep away the first pseudo argument. As for the second, of course his arm is not comparable to that of Matt Stafford but how many times per game, a quarterback in the NFL, must throw passes of more than 40 yards? If there is the argument not to select him then, it is easy to find long passes very well executed by Mac Jones in 2020, as on the twitter sequence that follows.
However, Mac Jones is not a constant attacking depth bomber like some, his style is more that of an effective manager. So not the profile that excites fans, hence the resistance of some, to see their franchise tie its future to Mac Jones. But if his ceiling is difficult to assess, his floor is already solid.
The Mac Jones deep ball has become one of the best plays in college football this year. pic.twitter.com/XYj6OkucLc
– SEConCBS (@SEConCBS) October 24, 2020
49ers, Lions, Panthers, Broncos, Patriots, Washington, Bears
It is rumored that the 49ers would have mounted the trade giving them the No. 3 draft pick for him. Of course, at this time of year, rumors are often just rumors. However, a reliable player who performs well the plays, Mac Jones could appeal to Kyle Shanahan for his « play action » system: with Alabama, Mac Jones knew when to give his runner and when to feign the throw-in and find an intermediate target for the pass. The two offensive systems also have many similarities and according to ProFootballFocus, Mac Jones was the best QB of this vintage when under the pressure of an opposing blitz.
Matt Rhule coached Mac Jones for five days in the Senior Bowl. He was therefore able to assess his character, an important element for any player and essential for a quarterback to whom a franchise will entrust the keys to his attack. He was also able to make him perform the games of his choice, no doubt that he did not hesitate to ask Mac Jones for calls in the philosophy used in Carolina.
All things considered, with his qualities / faults combo, Mac Jones offers some similarities with Tom Brady. He could therefore seduce the staff of the Patriots. But of course, Bill Belichik could change directions and want another quarterback profile, closer to what he has in Cam Newton. Washington and Chicago seem a bit far in the first round with the 19 and 20 picks but you never know with the NFL draft?