Academic Standout Sunday: Mac Jones, QB, Alabama

It is with great pleasure that the DraftRite team brings you another edition of Academic Standout Sunday. Every Sunday, new DraftRite writer Mike O’Brien brings you a prospect breakdown for players who not only excel on the field but also in the classroom.

“Why?” one might ask. “Who cares about grades?”

To put it simply, players who excel in their academic endeavors deserve to be commended for being outstanding players, students, and people. Some of the NFL’s most dominant football players are well read and versed off the field. The star examples of this would be Andrew Luck, Richard Sherman, and Ryan Fitzpatrick who all found success in the league that can partially be attributed to their mental prowess.

This week we dive into Mac Jones, Quarterback of the 2020 National Champion Alabama Crimson Tide. Jones majored in Communications and Information Sciences. Those are two SEPERATE degrees that he completed while at Alabama. The Tide quarterback can also speak some Mandarin, the official language of China and Taiwan.

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WHAT JONES BRINGS TO THE TABLE:

(Straight from my scouting notes)

DECISION MAKING

Ultimately, a good decision maker who needs to learn what windows he can throw through. There are some passes where he is bailed out by a receiver making a great play on the football. Knows when to change velocity and where to deliver. Good decision maker with potential to grow.

POISE

Poise in the pocket is great. Stands tall and is unfazed by an imperfect pocket. Can step up and deliver throws through a chaotic scenario. Level headed, makes smart decisions under pressure and knows when to flee. While he might not be the most athletic quarterback he can make moves to evade pressure

SHORT ACCURACY

Generally accurate in the short field. The offense required him to make a lot of decisions on RPO’s and he thrived because of it. His ability to change speeds is really going to help at the next level and will be essential in his development. Throws with anticipation in the short areas of the field.

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WHAT NEEDS TO IMPROVE & PROJECTION:

I’m not so sure that Jones has incredible strides to make as a quarterback prospect. He does some things that are appealing to a team with no options at quarterback. He doesn’t possess the talent as an athlete and as a passer to play at a high level in today’s NFL. I think the physical limitations and lack of touch ultimately make him a middling quarterback prospect with a decent chance to have some flashes in a fill in type role due to decent accuracy and poise. I do think there might be some underlying character flaws that could hold him back at the next level. Of course, people do stupid things when they are young and certainly change but there is record that Jones had a DUI in 2017. Also charged with improper ID by a minor. Involved in a car accident with another vehicle and then failed a field sobriety test. While it’s possible Jones has learned from these mistakes and changed, it’s important understand the mistakes that we’re made.

You can find Mike O’Brien @MOBrienNFL on Twitter.

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