Mac Jones might hold the secret sauce, according to ESPN’s College GameDay analyst Kirk Herbstreit, and he just might land a top-10 spot in the upcoming draft, with a potential top-3 spot for the 49ers.
One of the most talked-about prospects heading into the 2021 NFL draft is Alabama Crimson Tide QB, Mac Jones. A couple of weeks ago Jones proved himself at the pro day, despite not having his two premier receivers DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle on the training ground by his side – or across the field.
Since then Jones’ stock has risen tremendously, with analysts putting him as high as the No.2 overall pick in April Mock Drafts. Still, many are skeptical whether Mac Jones is worthy of a top spot and wonder if he’s worth being a hot topic.
Kirk Herbstreit has been one of Jones’ biggest supports, throwing praise at Jones like Jones throws a football. He’s “a surgeon,” Herbstreit said about Jones, according to The Spun. Jones can make reads and diagnose what the defense is doing.
“Of all these guys,” Herbstreit explained, “because of the offense he is coming out of, he probably processes as quickly as anyone coming out in this draft. By processing, recognizing pre-snap coverage.”
Jones has the ability to “instantly know where to go with the ball without hesitation,” Herbstreit boasted about Jones. “If they change coverage at the snap of the ball,” Jones is ready. “That to me is the secret sauce of these guys that go to another level. How quickly they can read such complexity on the run.”
During his freshman and junior years at college, Mac Jones was behind Alabama’s former QB Tua Tagovailoa, Sportskeeda reported. Eventually, Jones got his chance to shine in 2019 when Tua went down from a hip injury. Jones stepped in for Tagovailoa and went on to post a 3-1 record once starting in place of the injured QB. Those wins included a 35-16 win over Michigan in the Citrus Bowl.
Jones proved he is composed under pressure and makes good decisions with the football, throwing 1,503 yards, 14 TDs, and only three picks during the final games for Crimson Tide’s 2019 campaign.
Jones went on to lead all QBs for yards-thrown in 2020 with 4,500-yards. He was the second-best ranked QB in college football for TDs, with an impressive 41 TD passes on the year.
Still, many see the weaknesses that might keep him out of the top spot. According to The Ringer, his arm isn’t as strong as it can be and his belly is pudgy (for an NFL prospect).
Analysts have questioned his arm strength and athleticism in recent weeks, despite throwing well during his pro day. Scouts wonder whether Jones has what it takes to be a real game-changer in the NFL and also fear that his inexperience may cost him when he eventually makes his pro debut.
Mac Jones was stuck behind QB Tagovaoiloa for more than half of his college career, and subsequently got much less turf time than what is preferred.
What does the head coach at the University of Alabama have to say? Nick Saban is grateful that Jones doesn’t listen to people on social media.
Despite the concerns, many analysts expect to see Mac Jones in a top-10 spot. He isn’t the best QB at this year’s draft, but what will work in his favor is that a few teams are looking for a new franchise QB. He may be snatched for one of those spots – and ESPN reported that the seat could be at the 49er’s table.