QB Prospect Mythbusters: Mac Jones

In the final stretch leading up to the 2021 NFL Draft, there is so much misinformation. Some manufactured in an attempt to damage the stock of a prospect, like the alleged drug use of Dan Marino prior to the 1983 NFL Draft. Most are much more genuine, a misread article or a misquote that just happens to spread like wildfire. So how do we tell fact from fiction in this time of rampant speculation? Well, that’s what I’ll be working on over these last few days of the draft.

Today we’ll break down rumors, myths, and narratives regarding Mac Jones and his surging draft stock. Here’s how the process works, I’ll break down the story, bring evidence to its fact or fiction, and give an honest verdict. and without further ado

Myth #1: Mac Jones has two DUI arrests

This myth has some truth to it, Jones has one DUI Arrest in 2017. You can read the details on that here if you wish. What’s false is the claim of a second DUI.

Here’s the scoop: Mac Jones rumored 2nd DUI likely stems from the article that I listed above. In fact, it’s the only mention I could find anywhere, other than social media. Here’s the thing, Mac Jones isn’t mentioned in the article. Not once. The article is about an Alabama coaching staff member. This is just a mistake in the meta-description of an article, that wasn’t read before being used to damage a prospects stock.

Why it matters: Mac Jones has one DUI, that is not to be defended, excused or overlooked by this draft analyst. A DUI is a red flag no matter who does it or when it happens. With that said, context matters, one DUI that happened four years ago with no additional incidents shows someone who learned from his mistakes.

Two DUI’s? The exact opposite. It shows the inability to learn from mistakes. That’s a requirement for someone being drafted to be a leader on an NFL team. Two DUI’s takes him off a lot of draft boards. That’s why context matters.

Verdict: Myth Busted (100% False)

Myth #2: Mac Jones is similar to Joe Burrow as a prospect.

When prospects are as heavily scrutinized as the Quarterbacks have been this draft cycle some fun narratives tend to pop up. One of my absolute favorite narratives this year is the idea that if you liked Joe Burrow as a prospect you should like Jones as well. After all, they are almost the same prospect.

This one is fun because there are some surface-level similarities. Similar look, build, both came out of nowhere to dominate the college football landscape, both were all-time great statically and both won the national title game. There’s enough there to fall for this one. There are two key differences when you dig a little deeper. Burrow if far better at throwing into tight windows, and Burrow is also far more mobile.

As you can see in the above graphic from Mike Renner at Pro Football Focus, not only is Burrow more effective at throwing into tight windows, he’s also attempting far more passes into these windows that Jones. If you need to see the difference, check out this game tape from Burrow vs Alabama in 2019.

Speaking of that Alabama game, it’s also a great example of the second area that separates Burrow from Jones. Burrow rushed for more yards against Alabama in the above game (64) than Jones did in his entire career (42). Burrow is Jones ++

Verdict: Myth Busted (Mostly False)

Myth #3: Mac Jones is the most pro-ready QB in this class.

When it became rumored that the San Francisco 49ers traded up to the third overall pick to select Jones, draft media went on a long quest to explain the selection. This is what they came up with: Jones is the most pro-ready QB in this class. This narrative makes very little sense to me. Here’s why:

  • Jones was 2nd among QBs in this draft class in yards off of screen passes; 505 more than Justin Fields
  • 75.7 PFF Grade on passes passed his first read; good for last among the projected first round quarterbacks.
  • 17 Career starts; the same as projected project Trey Lance
  • Lacks the physical traits to overcome the mental errors that all rookies experience. This may lead to a longer time transition.

Jones very well could be good during his rookie season, but we don’t have much evidence to back up this narrative.

Verdict: Myth Busted (100% False)

Final Word on Jones

Jones projects to me to be a good pro, in the mold of Kirk Cousins, or Matt Schaub. But he will need talent around him to succeed. He will also need time to develop, and by estimation will struggle as a rookie. If given the time and the situation, Jones could very well develop into a pro bowl caliber player.

For my full thoughts check out my scouting report here.

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