Alabama quarterback Mac Jones is considered a consensus first-round prospect in the 2021 NFL Draft, but where he lands will largely determine how successful his pro career is.
That’s the case with almost any quarterback, yet it’s especially so in Jones’ case. Lacking the phenomenal arm talent and dual-threat ability of some of his peers, Jones needs to go to a team with a solid foundation who will fully commit to building around him so that he’s not shocked after playing with such a talented Alabama team that just won the national championship.
Namely, Jones needs some combination of a strong offensive line, immense skill position talent and a stout defense. Since he’s probably going to be selected after Zach Wilson, Justin Fields and possibly Trey Lance in addition to Trevor Lawrence, the odds favor Jones to fall to a better team.
Here’s a look at five perfect fits for Jones in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Mac Jones to New England Patriots
Need at quarterback? Check. In range of being able to draft Jones? Check, at 15th overall.
The Patriots could run it back with Cam Newton next season, but they could also start building around a young quarterback without Newton’s wear and tear and who fits the system Josh McDaniels drew up around Tom Brady for two decades.
This isn’t to say Jones is the next Brady. No one will be. However, his skill set fits well with what New England wants. Head coach Bill Belichick has a long friendship with Alabama coach Nick Saban, and no doubt has taken notice of what Jones accomplished this past season.
Jones completed a ridiculous 77.4% of his passes for 4,500 yards, 41 touchdowns and only four interceptions. That’s the type of precision and efficiency the Pats are looking for.
Obviously, New England is in dire need of upgrades at the receiver position. Belichick has a considerable amount of cap space to work with this offseason and can pursue a premium target like Allen Robinson or Kenny Golladay on the open market. Maybe he’ll even take a shot at tight end Hunter Henry if the Los Angeles Chargers don’t retain him.
In any event, Belichick has plenty of resources available to bring in proven pass-catchers for whichever QB he rolls with in 2021. He could a lot worse than Jones, who also benefited from a strong running game in Tuscaloosa and an excellent offensive line.
Between ex-Alabama standout Damien Harris and former first-round pick Sony Michel, the Pats are well-stocked in the backfield, and finished last season as Pro Football Focus’ fourth-ranked o-line unit. Sounds like a perfect match all around.