QB Mac Jones, Alabama* (6’3”, 214)
Originally committed to Kentucky, but decided to attend Alabama. Redshirted in 2017, served as a backup the following year, and then took over the starting role midway through the 2019 season after Tua Tagovailoa was lost for the season. Started a total of four games that year and finished by completing 68.8% of his passes for 1,503 yards, fourteen touchdowns, and three interceptions (10.7 YPA). Followed that up with a monster junior year in which he passed for 4,500 yards (77.4%, 11.2 YPA), 41 touchdowns, and four inteceptions, winning the National Championship.
Has been a dominant quarterback ever since taking over the starting quarterback job, both in terms of production and in terms of team success, having lost just once as a starter in college football’s toughest conference. Has a pretty solid build for a pro quarterback. Played in a relatively advanced offense under Steve Sarkisian, which features a lot of play-action, run-pass options, and forces the quarterback to go through progressions. Makes good decisions with the ball. Able to work through reads and find open targets. Moves pretty well in the pocket; capable of sliding and climbing to buy time while keeping his eyes downfield. Good physical and mental toughness; doesn’t get rattled by pressure and will stand in to make a throw with defenders bearing down on him. Throwing mechanics generally look pretty good. Has a three-quarters release point, throws from a wide base, and generates torque with his upper body. Gets the ball out quickly in the screen game. Arm talent is very impressive; capable of rifling the ball into tight windows and making pro-style throws down the field and outside the hashes. Uses appropriate touch and velocity; knows when to take something off of the ball and float it into soft spots in zone. Has the confidence to give his receivers a chance to make plays against man coverage. Knows when to throw the ball into the dirt and live to play another down.
Was the team’s starter for fewer than twenty games. Played with an ideal supporting cast, having been able to play behind an excellent offensive line with plenty of dangerous weapons surrounding him. Worked from the shotgun and will have to get used to taking snaps under center. A pure pocket passer who doesn’t pose a threat as a runner. Would like to see him get the ball out a little bit sooner at times. Can be a little bit too aggressive taking shots into tight coverage down the field. Will lapse into relying on his arm and upper body to muscle passes downfield at times without transferring weight from his back foot.
There’s always a concern that quarterbacks who play on great teams may have been successful by virtue of their supporting cast, but in this case, is clearly a player with the type of arm talent and mental tools teams look for at the pro level. Lack of mobility may limit his appeal somewhat, but has starting-caliber traits if he’s able to play in a system that’s suited to his skillset as a pocket passer who can attack defenses downfield.