The Alabama Crimson Tide is 5-0 this season. Their success can, largely, be attributed to quarterback Mac Jones. The redshirt junior was the backup to Tua Tagovailoa, but saw considerable playing time last season due to a hip injury. This year, with the starting job secured, Mac Jones threw for over 400 yards in three straight games. Not only is there hype for Mac Jones in the race for the Heisman Trophy, but there’s also some consideration as Mac Jones being a first round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. In this article, we’ll breakdown his skillset and examine what makes him successful. Finally, we’ll look ahead and try to predict if he will, in fact, be selected in the first round.
Mac Jones was a four-star recruiting prospect out of the state of Florida, according to ESPN and Rivals. Additionally, Jones was an Elite 11 finalist, which is a premier quarterback competition hosted by Nike. Before committing to the University of Alabama, Jone shad offers from Oklahoma State, Kentucky, and Texas A&M.
What Makes Mac Jones A 2021 NFL Draft First Round Prospect?
Below, I’ve embedded a tweet from Alabama’s game against Tennessee. This downfield throw, with pressure coming from his blindside, is accurate as can be. More so, this ball is fit into traffic, but only where the receiver is the one that can make a play on the ball. His receiver, John Metchie, isn’t able to break the tackle for additional yardage, but it’s still a heck of a catch.
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
Here’s another one from Mac Jones. On this play, he’s once again able to complete the ball to John Metchie. However, this one is made along the sidelines and is placed perfectly to hit Metchie in stride for the touchdown. Quite frankly, Mac Jones is money on downfield throws.
Hello, Mac Jones. Hello, John Metchie. Hello, end zone. pic.twitter.com/RN1aVjYHXY
— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) October 3, 2020
Let’s look at an intermediate throw from Mac Jones. Below, he puts his arm strength on display as he makes an accurate throw across the field and into the endzone. This throw is one that we see from elite quarterback prospects in the NFL Draft. These are the types of throws that you see on Sunday.
This throw from Mac Jones still kind of amazes me. Throws it to the sideline from the opposite hash and doesn’t even step into it. pic.twitter.com/ak5M6u3mpB
— Clint Lamb (@ClintRLamb) May 12, 2020
With a season-ending injury to Jaylen Waddle, all eyes turn to Mac Jones to carry the program further. As shown above, Jones has the skillset to make elite throws to his receivers, can progress through multiple reads, and make accurate throws with pressure. In my opinion, Mac Jones is certainly worth the consideration as a first round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. However, his success the rest of the season determines where in the first round he will come off the board. In my opinion, he’s a perfect late-first round pick that a team would likely trade up to select.