NFL Draft

Two Former College Coaches Praise Alabama QB Mac Jones

I promise I’m not trying to drive the Mac Jones bandwagon too hard. It’s a lazy Sunday and I’m trying to give you something to chew on while it’s -47 degrees outside. But for what it’s worth, at least two veteran college coaches have heaped praise on Alabama’s quarterback.

First there was June Jones, the long-time college and NFL coach who knows a thing or two about pass-heavy offenses and quarterback play. He came out swinging with a hot take, naming Jones his #1 quarterback in the class – yes, even above Trevor Lawrence – and saying while he lacks an elite arm, was the best deep ball thrower in this draft.

“Mac’s deep-ball accuracy is probably the best that I have graded in my years of coaching quarterbacks,” Jones said. “He’s almost at 55 percent at over 20 yards, which is unbelievable.

“(Mac Jones) is a receiver watcher. I could tell watching him on television when they had the right camera angle. And I really think that is huge for him. It’s how he naturally throws the deep ball.”

As written in our scouting report, Jones doesn’t have a Josh Allen/Patrick Mahomes level arm but his placement and accuracy are excellent. While some have questioned his overall arm strength, he’s made plenty of throws from the far hash (and college hashes are wider than the NFL’s), proving he can sling it.

In 2020, Jones threw for 4500 yards and 41 touchdowns for the National Champion Crimson Tide. He also completed over 77% of his passes, combining accuracy with big-play ability. His completion percentage was #1 in college football while his YPA was tied for the best mark in the game.

Then there’s Charlie Weis. He commentary wasn’t quite as eye-catching as June Jones’ evaluation but still came away impressed after watching him.

“What are the two most important components of a star quarterback?” he said via ESPN. “They have the ‘it’ factor. And they’re accurate. That’s who he was,”

One of Jones’ biggest criticisms is the elite talent that surrounded Jones. He had a Heisman Trophy winning WR, another wideout who will go high in the draft, a top running back, and the best offensive line in football. But Weis said that wasn’t a concern.

“You talk about being around good players. Yeah, he was around good players. But playing on a team with a bunch of stars, who is the leader of the offense?” Weis said. “He also had to make all those throws. I think the kid is an excellent quarterback. He has less holes than just about anybody.”

Weis compared Jones to Drew Brees, a name we mentioned in our scouting report. Many mock drafts have Jones landing with the New Orleans Saints at #28. If he slips into the back half of the first round, the Steelers should at least have Jones on their radar. Whether or not they’d like him as much as June Jones or Charlie Weis is a different story.

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