Alabama quarterback Mac Jones made a strong case for himself as a first-round talent in last night’s national title game. In the 52-24 win over Ohio State, Jones threw for a massive 463 yards and five touchdowns on an efficient 36/45 passing.
On Tuesday’s edition of The Herd with Colin Cowherd, NFL Draft analyst Joel Klatt expressed his thoughts on the Crimson Tide QB’s professional stock. After discussing the pros and cons, Klatt came to the conclusion that Jones is a mid-first-round talent.
“Mac Jones plays with a great understanding of the game… I think he’s a first round player. I wouldn’t be shocked if New England takes him,” Klatt said.
“Mac Jones plays with a great understanding of the game… I think he’s a first round player. I wouldn’t be shocked if New England takes him.”
— Herd w/Colin Cowherd (@TheHerd) January 12, 2021
With the 15th pick in the draft, the Patriots are much higher up the draft order than many analysts project for Mac Jones.
While his numbers this year have been outstanding (4,500 yards and 41 touchdowns), there are some important things to consider with Jones’ transition to the professional game.
The first issue is the talent gap between his Alabama teammates and the rest of the college football world.
Jones was one of three players on the Crimson Tide offense to finish top five in Heisman Trophy voting. With talent like Najee Harris in the backfield, Devonta Smith out wide and a 5-star offensive line protecting him, Jones often has all the time in the world to throw easy passes to wide open receivers.
In the NFL, that talent gap closes quickly.
Jones’ lack of athleticism is another concern. With today’s emphasis on mobility and escapability for NFL QBs, he may be hard-pressed to fit in on a team without an elite O-line.
But, like Joel Klatt said, Jones’ pocket presence and feel for the game certainly show the potential of a mid-tier NFL quarterback.
With the draft creeping up, franchises and players will have a lot to think about.
For now, Mac Jones can celebrate his natty win.