The Chicago Bears 2021 draft plans won’t be set in stone until next spring. So projecting players onto their roster now is rather difficult. That being said, it’s pretty much a guarantee that quarterbacks will be in the conversation all the way. Mitch Trubisky and Tyler Bray will be free agents. Even if Nick Foles remains the starter, the team has to think about adding new blood at that position.
One guy who seems to be gaining a lot of steam in scouting circles is Mac Jones. Alabama is obviously a factory for NFL players and they just got done getting Tua Tagovailoa drafted 5th overall this past offseason. So it isn’t a surprise Jones is garnering lots of attention. Especially when he’s off to such a hot start, throwing for 8 TDs and just one interception through his first three games of 2020.
So how good is this kid?
Chicago Bears 2021 draft look at Mac Jones
- Accuracy is fairly consistent. Tends to put the ball in the right spots for his receivers to make a play.
- Footwork and pocket navigation are both solid. Does a good job sliding away from pressure and keeping his eyes down the field.
- Eyes show an ability to work fast. Processes what he sees and gets the ball out with enough quickness.
- Release doesn’t have a lot of wasted motion. Ball comes up and out. Also has the ability to change his throwing platform.
This is a good showcase of what Jones can do. Most quarterbacks would almost certainly take a sack in this situation. Michigan gets pressure immediately. Jones is able to not only identify it but uses his feet to step up into the pocket to avoid it then quickly gets the ball out to his receiver across the middle despite having to shorten his throwing motion. All while in the process of taking a hit.
- Good decision-maker. Rarely puts the ball in harm’s way and willing to throw it away when nothing is there.
- Field vision is a plus. Willing to scan the field and tends to find the open man more often than not.
- Can throw with timing and anticipation. Not just a see-it-throw-it guy. He’ll throw to a spot where receivers will be rather than where they are.
- Understands pro-style concepts. Has worked under center with his back to the defense several times.
- Arm strength could best be called average. Doesn’t deliver the ball with much zip most of the time.
- The deep ball is serviceable enough for college but is going to be dangerous living in the NFL due to how long it tends to hang in the air.
- Isn’t much of a runner. Can do a little scrambling but isn’t a guy who is going to take off for first downs a lot.
- Size will be a discussion. Listed at 6’2 but appears closer to 6’1 and is also a bit on the thinner side at 214 lbs.
- Surrounded by a bevy of great weapons so how much of the success is him and how much is the arsenal?
Pro comparison: Chad Pennington
Pennington was a solid starter in the NFL for a long time, having success with the New York Jets. He did this by being smart and accurate with the football. However, the biggest knock on him that never truly went away was his arm strength. It was a constant source of criticism since he wasn’t able to unlock the full potential of an offense given his lack of prowess at attacking defenses deep.
Projection: 4th round
Jones is a smart player with enough talent to be a functional NFL start. However, he’ll need a great situation around him in order for those traits to shine. He makes good decisions, is accurate, and can run almost any type of offense efficiently. The lacking athleticism and arm strength though will put a cap on what a lot of teams feel he can do. That is why he will likely end up going on Day 3 of the draft.