With the No. 15 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, the New England Patriots selected former Alabama quarterback Mac Jones.
Earlier this week, Peter King of NBC Sports suggested that the opinion of Jones was much higher within the sport than it is with draft pundits, media personalities and fans. Time will tell which side was right.
Jones feels unlikely to altogether bust, the bigger question is whether at his peak he'll be the type of quarterback that can win games even when things aren't going perfectly around him.
2020 stats: 13 games, 311 completions on 402 attempts, 77% completion rate, 4,500 passing yards, 41 touchdowns, 4 interceptions
Accolades: 2020 Consensus All-American; 2020 First-Team All-SEC; 2020 Davey O'Brien Award winner
Strengths: Got to both watch and play in high-leverage games during his collegiate career, so he won't be overwhelmed by expectations...Seems comfortable moving within the pocket, which is especially crucial for anyone that's going to make their living as a drop-back passer...If you scheme someone open, you can be pretty sure Jones will hit them...It's just hard to see a scenario where he's altogether bad, which you can't say for some of the other top quarterback prospects in this year's class
Weaknesses: Over the past two years he's been able to throw to Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs III, DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle - the playing field will be much more level in the NFL...isn't going to be someone that you design runs for, or even expect to regularly take off and escape when the pocket collapses
Expert scout analysis: Anonymous NFC quarterbacks coach to Tom Pelissero of NFL Media: "If you said, 'Take one of these guys to start in a game tomorrow in the NFL,' he's the most ready. But he's right up against the ceiling to me, where these other guys, if they can progress - you're talking about Justin Fields and Zach Wilson - those are going to be dangerous dudes now."
Player comparison: Kirk Cousins
Cousins has 190 career touchdown passes to 84 interceptions, but a 51-51-2 record in the NFL. He's started three playoff games and is 1-2. When Cousins is in a strong system and has a good running game, he thrives in play-action. Is there a scenario where a Cousins-led team could reach and even win a Super Bowl? Sure, but he's also not the type of quarterback that you pick to lead his team to the Super Bowl before the season starts. The feeling here is that Jones will start a lot of games in the league, but it may take the perfect storm for him to have extended postseason success. There's also elements of him that remind you of Nick Foles, who, of course, did have the perfect storm come together at one point.