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2021 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Mac Jones
Mac Jones, 6-3/214
Mac Jones Scouting Report By Charlie Campbell
Good decision maker
Throws a very catchable ball
Quality field vision
Able to loft in touch passes
Natural feel; instinctive passer
Leads receivers for more yardage after the catch
Moves eyes through progressions
Good internal clock
Mastered his offense
Good fit in a west coast offense
Has had success against good competition
Quality arm strength, but not elite
Not a running threat
Enough size but not especially big
Limited experience; 1-year wonder
Might only be a game manager in the NFL
Summary: Jones was thrust into the starting lineup for Alabama in 2019 after Tua Tagovailoa's hip injury, and Jones was solid in his debut. He completed 69 percent of his passes that season for 1,503 yards, 14 touchdowns and three interceptions. Jones took his game to another level in 2020, showing a lot of development as the entrenched starter. In 2020, Jones completed 77 percent of his passes for 4,500 yards, 41 touchdowns and four interceptions while leading the Crimson Tide to another National Championship.
Jones might top out in the NFL as a backup quarterback. He has a quality arm, but does not elite arm strength and is not a running threat for the next level. Jones has ability in terms of moving his feet in the pocket, so he is not a statue, but he will not be a dual-threat quarterback in the pros.
While Jones does not exceptional arm strength or playmaking ability with his feet, he is an accurate passer. He places his ball well, putting it in position for his receiver to make the catch while avoiding putting the pass in danger of being intercepted. Jones is a smart decision maker who protects the ball well and doesn't get careless or panic. He also demonstrated anticipation to help throw receivers open in 2020.
Jones is largely a confident, calm, poised, and efficient pocket passer. He stands tall in the pocket and consistently distributes the ball. Jones shows good timing and precision to hit his receivers through windows in coverage while leading them to produce more yards after the catch. His calm and poised approach lends to him showing field vision in the pocket, where he will move his eyes and work off his primary read. Jones is a smart quarterback and plays the game with real intelligence. As a pro, Jones would fit best in a west coast offense.
There was a decent variety of rankings when WalterFootball.com sought opinions on Jones from five different teams regarding the 2021 NFL Draft. Three had a fourth-round grade on Jones, one had him on the bubble between Rounds 2 and 3, and one team gave him a second-round grade. An AFC general manager said the second round was too high for Jones, calling him a mid-round talent, so opinions vary on Jones across the league.
"[Jones is] a stronger-armed Jake Fromm," said one area scout. "He distributes the ball well to all those great weapons. Jones has some ability. His arm is good enough, a little stronger than Jake's. Mac can anticipate, and sees the field well. I think he could have a career in the NFL similar to Matt Barkley."
Another team source who graded Jones (6-3, 214) down in the fourth round said they felt he was a shorter A.J. McCarron. Similar to McCarron, Jones was surrounded with a phenomenal set of wide receivers, a tough offensive line with future early-round picks, and a dynamic running game. Team sources say Jones did a good job of managing the game and getting the ball to his playmakers.
Jones could end up as a second-day pick who is a solid backup. He may be able to top out as a mid-level starter, like a Kirk Cousins.
Player Comparison: Matt Barkley. I think Jones could end up being a similar quarterback to Barkley in the NFL. Some team sources agreed with the Barkley comparison, others said a shorter A.J. McCarron, and another suggested a stronger-armed Jake Fromm. Barkley (6-2, 234) and Jones are similar in size with some skill-set limitations.