Here comes Mac Jones, the next Tom Brady.
Don’t get carried away. The Patriots addressed their biggest need by taking the Alabama quarterback with the 15th pick in the first round of the NFL Draft on Thursday. Now we’ll wait and see how he develops, probably mentored by Cam Newton in 2021.
Let’s take a look at how analysts from around the NFL graded the Pats’ pick of Jones:
Analysis: There is room in the game for a quarterback that you can “win with,” and that might be Jones. He might not have the ceiling the quarterbacks above him offer, but he might have one of the best floors. Jones could be a very good NFL quarterback that helps deliver a team to the playoffs. In a league filled with risk-averse decision makers, a QB with Jones’ floor might seem like a nice warm comfortable blanket of a pick. You’re just going to have to be okay with his lack of mobility and second-reaction ability, and you’ll have to have faith that he can do in the NFL what he did at Alabama without DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle demolishing every cornerback they faced.
Analysis: The narrative surrounding Mac Jones for the past few weeks was focused on whether he was worth not just the No. 3 overall pick, but the three first-round selections the 49ers invested in that draft slot. At No. 15 overall, it’s an entirely different conversation. Jones led the nation last season in overall PFF grade (95.8) and was the most accurate college quarterback in terms of adjusted completion rate (84.2%) PFF has seen. This is an outstanding pick.
Analysis: A pick that felt like a perfect fit for months, this only felt like a long-shot after the buzz created by the 49ers at No. 3 overall. This spot makes much more sense for Jones in terms of his value relative to the rest of this year’s top quarterbacks, and he’s exactly what the Patriots need. He lacks the high-end potential and physical traits of the four passers that went ahead of him, but his accuracy and decision-making ability will allow him to be a quality starter at the next level.
Analysis: The selection of Mac Jones for the New England Patriots is one that receives a mixed response. On the one hand, the Patriots get a new QB without having to trade up. On the other hand, while the positives Jones brings as a pro-style pocket passer, his lack of mobility is a concern.
That concern is exacerbated by the combination of Jones with current Patriots QB Cam Newton. The Patriots will have two QBs of very different styles on their roster in 2021.
Analysis: There are a few reasons I could talk myself into this pick: Jones is a quick processor, brings very good accuracy, and he does conjure images of Tom Brady in the way he moves in the pocket (some would also say they have similar body types). But his lack of overall arm strength and athletic tools could cap his ceiling. Jones has just 17 total starts under his belt and may need a strong support system around him to excel at the next level. But in a smartly coached scheme under Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniels, he should benefit from a near-ideal landing spot.
Analysis: Two months ago, this was a popular pairing. But it felt unlikely the more we heard talk of Jones landing with the 49ers at No. 3. But for the Patriots to get Jones at No. 15 without trading up is a scenario we were not sure would happen. Jones is now Bill Belichick’s highest-drafted QB ever. What a wild result. Jones might not be great, but he could be in a pretty perfect setup in New England.
Analysis: Sometimes picks just make themselves. The Patriots didn’t have to make a move for a young passer, who many analysts projected would be a perfect fit in an offense that excelled for many years with a similarly pocket-bound, but accurate and quick decision-maker. Things couldn’t have played out better for Bill Belichick.
Jones’ average athleticism cost him some draft position, but if his receivers are in the right spots, he will deliver the ball effectively and let them be the playmakers.