The return of Cam Newton on a one-year deal hasn’t quieted down the rumors that the Patriots are still in the market for a quarterback.
Although trading for or signing a veteran might be a better path to upgrade from Cam Newton and Jarrett Stidham -- and obviously backers of Jimmy Garoppolo could weigh in here -- the draft could be a way for the Pats to address their quarterback needs for the present and the future.
Over at ESPN, Mel Kiper Jr.’s latest mock draft has a solution for the Pats -- selecting Mac Jones out of Alabama.
“When I watch Jones, I can see some of the traits that have made [Tom] Brady so good for so long,” Kiper writes. “Jones is a pinpoint thrower who can manipulate the pocket and find targets down the field. He is a leader in the locker room, too. This is a good fit.”
The Crimson Tide quarterback took part in a pro day this week and ran the 40-yard dash in 4.72 and 4.68 seconds while showing off a 32-inch vertical leap, according to the NFL.
NFL Network expert Daniel Jeremiah observed some of Jones’ performance and had this to say:
“He moved around well. He’s an above-average athlete, he’s not a poor athlete. Now he doesn’t have a ton of twitch and horsepower to be somebody that’s going to show out at this type of a setting. Some guys you want and it’s just like … the ball just jumps out of their hand or you see some real dynamic movement with him. I don’t think that’s how he plays the game, so this is not going to accentuate this best qualities in a pro day. He was fine, he was consistent and it was kind of what you’d expect. But for golf terms, he’s not going to win the driving range, that’s not him.”
According to Kiper’s prediction, Jones would be the fifth quarterback taken, which pretty much fits what Jeremiah has been hearing, although some teams hold Jones in higher regard.
“In terms of climbing up, he’s already there, he’s there for some teams. I talk to teams around the league, you get good information when you call teams that have a quarterback, and you get teams that pick at the bottom of the first round because there’s no reason to lie,” Jeremiah said. “Some of those teams just going through the process and stacking their board, he’s not at No. 5 for some, he’s higher, whether that’s three, whether that’s four.”
Chris Simms of Pro Football Talk also predicted Jones won’t get past the Pats when they pick at No. 15.
Based on the reviews, Jones might be worth the Pats trading up to make sure they don’t miss out. They have just about a month to get that done if they’re sold he can be their quarterback for the foreseeable future.
Jones will participate in another pro day at Alabama next week.
Matt Kalman is the editor of SI Patriot Maven. Follow him on Twitter at @MattKalman.