Mac Jones, QB, Alabama
In this scenario, the Patriots run up to the table to take Mac Jones at 15. Cam Newton is a viable short-term option, and while I am rooting for him to succeed, you can’t count on him as your long-term QB. As a result, when a QB of Jones’ caliber is available at this point in the draft, and you don’t have a clear long-term outlook at the position, you have to strike while the iron is hot. In the actual draft, I don’t expect Jones to fall this far. While I find the rumors of Jones going to the 49ers at 3 hard to believe, I fully expect Jones to be gone by the top 10 as a result of a desperate team trading up, one of which could be New England. The constant comparisons between Jones and other top QB prospects such as Justin Fields and Trey Lance based on the rumors surrounding San Francisco have caused many here to scoff, wondering why Jones would even be in consideration for 3rd overall. While I also have Jones as the 5th best QB prospect, I believe that as a result of these comparisons Jones has become somewhat underrated by fans.
While I was always going to take Jones if he fell to 15, honorable mentions go to Caleb Farley or Greg Newsome with this pick. While New England has both starting CB spots set with Stephon Gilmore and JC Jackson for the time being, both are unrestricted free agents next offseason, leaving Jalen Mills as their top CB under contract. The Patriots know all too well that you can win a Super Bowl with Jalen Mills as a starting CB, but that’s one position that needs to be fortified at some point for New England, whether it’s later on in the draft or just wait till next year when it’s a more important need.
Mac Jones was only a full time starter for one season. You could make a case that it was the best season by a QB in college history. Jones had a PFF rating of 95.8 and an adjusted completion rate of 84.2%, both of which are the highest in college history. Jones was a Heisman finalist, a national championship winner, and played in the most important position on one of the best offenses in college history. Jones has the anticipation and touch required to be a NFL QB, often hitting receivers in stride and putting them in position to make plays. Jones was fantastic at reading defenses pre snap, and he had a lightning quick average release time of 2.51 seconds, which was considerably better than other top QB prospects. Jones also has a good deep ball, as he led the nation with a 67% on target rate and a 30% touchdown rate on deep balls thrown, the latter of which led the nation. Jones also had a very low turnover rate, with just 2.4% of plays deemed as turnover worthy by PFF. Jones has also been described as a very good locker room guy, picking up the nickname “Joker” because he laughed a lot and was a fun presence on the team. He’s also had to fight for his spot, waiting in the wings behind Jalen Hurts and Tua Tagovailoa before fighting off Bryce Young this past year to be the starting QB at Bama. Jones has all of the intangibles to be a successful QB, as well as the skills to thrive in the right situation.
That being said, Mac Jones does have his fair share of limitations. The main knock on Jones is he lacks arm strength. He doesn’t have the same ability to make the tough throws as many of the top young QBs today, as well as those in his draft class. There is also a concern that he lacks athleticism. He is seen as a prototypical pocket passer who struggles when everything starts to break down around him. That being said, while it’s definitely not a strong point of his game, his athleticism is close to the 50th percentile of QBs, and it is mainly being brought up as an issue because he is being compared with uber athletic QBs in Fields and Lance. Another concern about Jones’ outlook is that he was surrounded by players that were generally much more talented than the opposition. Two members of the offense have already been drafted, including Heisman winner Devonta Smith, and three more could be drafted later in the first round. This meant that Jones generally dealt with clean pockets, and could throw to receivers that consistently got open. He will not have the same luxury in the NFL, so teams are concerned about how he is able to handle adversity, especially since he lacks the same physical gifts as others in the draft class.
I’ve talked a lot about Jones needing to be in the right situation so far this writeup. Luckily for Jones, the Patriots couldn’t be a better landing spot for someone of Jones’ skillset. Jones’ strengths and weaknesses are similar to 2014-2018 Tom Brady, and Brady excelled in the system the Patriots ran. They should be able to use this same quick-hitting system to maximize Jones’ strengths, as well as to minimize his weaknesses. Jones would also have a group of skill position players that was completely revamped this summer, with Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne as WRs and Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith as TEs, giving him adequate talent to be able to succeed.
Overall, Mac Jones is the definition of a win-with QB. We saw this at Bama when he allowed a lot of the top talent around him to shine, but he never really had to carry the team to victory. However, this is an ideal match of prospect and team, so Jones will be put in just about the best possible situation for him to succeed. While he doesn’t have the upside of any of the QBs taken above him here, Jones is a talented enough passer that he should be a solid starter in the NFL for years to come.
Do you approve of this pick?
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2021 BGN Mock Draft Order
1) Jaguars (Phoenix X Minimus): QB Trevor Lawrence
2) Jets (eagles.north.of.the.border): QB Zach Wilson
3) 49ers (I Need a Username): QB Trey Lance
4) Falcons (chewy wellington): OT Penei Sewell
5) Bengals (Dr_Horrible): WR Ja’Marr Chase
6) Dolphins (20Safety_Hazard): TE Kyle Pitts
7) Lions (drc242): WR DeVonta Smith
8) Panthers (wildcatlh): QB Justin Fields
9) Broncos (ItownBallers22): CB Patrick Surtain II
10) Cowboys (Kephas): OT Rashawn Slater
11) Giants (Billmington): WR Jaylen Waddle
12) Eagles (ablesser88): CB Jaycee Horn
13) Chargers (Georgia_eagle): LB Micah Parsons
14) Vikings (Philliesandthebees): OT Alijah Vera-Tucker
15) Patriots (SakPrescott): QB Mac Jones
16) Cardinals (Carson Wentzs ACL):
17) Raiders (dshelton5):
18) Dolphins (J. Wil):
19) Football Team (Negadelphia Norm):
20) Bears (Happy24):
21) Colts (Fly Like An Eagle):
22) Titans (Friendly Neighborhood Philly Fan):
23) Jets (Asap Stocky):
24) Steelers (Gregnado):
25) Jaguars (“Snax”):
26) Browns (gerouxman1956):
27) Ravens (Brendanekstrom):
28) Saints (grantspectations):
29) Packers (Philly_Philly):
30) Bills (doublefry):
31) Chiefs (Leo Bedio):
32) Buccaneers (phuckdallas):
Now it’s time for you to vote for who YOU think should be selected in the 2021 BGN Community Consensus Mock Draft.
Who should the New England Patriots draft at No. 15?
This poll is closed
QB Mac Jones
LB Zaven Collins
LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah
DE Kwity Paye
DE Jaelan Philips
DT Christian Barmore
CB Caleb Farley
CB Greg Newsome
WR Rashod Bateman
1) Jaguars: QB Trevor Lawrence
2) Jets: QB Zach Wilson:
3) 49ers: QB Justin Fields
4) Falcons: OT Penei Sewell
5) Bengals: WR Ja’Marr Chase
6) Dolphins: TE Kyle Pitts
7) Lions: WR DeVonta Smith
8) Panthers: OT Rashawn Slater
9) Broncos: QB Trey Lance
10) Cowboys: CB Patrick Surtain II
11) Giants: LB Micah Parsons
12) Eagles: WR Jaylen Waddle
13) Chargers: CB Jaycee Horn
14) Vikings: OT Alijah Vera-Tucker