Mac Jones mock draft: Raiders, 49ers, Steelers among best 2021 NFL Draft fits for Alabama QB

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Mac Jones had a Joe Burrow-like season in succeeding Tua Tagovailoa as Alabama’s beginning quarterback, main a second straight nationwide championship run for an offensive juggernaut from the SEC West. He performed so effectively in 2020, he performed his approach into first-round NFL draft standing — one thing each Burrow and Tagovailoa loved final yr.

Jones was masterful in bringing collectively a loaded assault that includes first-round broad receivers DeVonta Smith (the Heisman Trophy winner) and Jaylen Waddle with help from highly effective working again Najee Harris. Jones was hyper-efficient in throwing for 4,500 yards and 41 TDs (to solely 4 INTs) in 13 video games. He accomplished 77.4 p.c of his passes at 11.2 yards per try with a passer score that may have transformed to 143.0 within the NFL.

Jones would not have the identical kind of jaw-dropping arm of Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence or BYU’s Zach Wilson, the consensus 1-2 prospects within the 2021 class. He would not carry the athleticism of both Ohio State’s Justin Fields or North Dakota State’s Trey Lance.

But he is an interesting mixture of all of the traits to carry out and win at a excessive stage within the NFL. He can nonetheless make all of the throws, delivers the ball with accuracy and makes fast, good choices. He’s received excessive soccer intelligence however he is a grinder on the similar time. Jones has been tabbed as a “pure pocket passer”, however he is a succesful athlete when needing to increase performs by sidestepping the move rush.

Jones will not be a twin menace within the NFL, so he must get right into a superior passing system that maximizes his psychological strengths and intangibles. With that in thoughts, here is a breakdown of his perfect touchdown spots on the evening of April 29:

MORE NFL DRAFT: SN’s latest 2021 mock draft | Top 50 big board

Mac Jones mock draft 2021

1. Las Vegas Raiders (No. 17 general)

The Raiders have taken Alabama offensive talent gamers within the first spherical of the previous two drafts (broad receiver Henry Ruggs III, working again Josh Jacobs). Derek Carr is arguably coming off his best season, however there are simple outs from his contract with important salary-cap financial savings this yr and subsequent earlier than he turns into a free agent in 2023.

Jones would function effectively beneath Greg Olson and Jon Gruden in reuniting with Ruggs and Jacobs. He would excel at spreading the sphere and like Carr, would have a pure reference to tight finish Darren Waller. Carr has been strong and environment friendly, however regardless of his excessive ground at QB, he is stored the Raiders wanting their offensive ceiling. Jones can push them to a different stage with their big-play targets.  

Carr is also sure to get much more costly for an extension. Should Jones nonetheless be out there, he can be the perfect QB to stash and groom to take over for Carr forward of the 2022 season.

2. San Francisco 49ers (No. 12)

The 49ers have a terrific system with Kyle Shanahan that produced an MVP season from Matt Ryan in 2016 and has gotten the best out of Jimmy Garoppolo’s passing abilities. Kirk Cousins is not headed to San Francisco, so Jones turns into the highest choice to interchange Garoppolo. The 49ers, similar to the Raiders with Carr, have simple outs from Garoppolo’s contract the subsequent two years with much more important cap financial savings.

Jones would take full benefit of getting George Kittle, Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk as his trio of high dynamic targets. He additionally would deal with the range of Shanahan’s passing sport and play effectively off a robust working sport, understanding he has a stud left deal with in Trent Williams.

3. Pittsburgh Steelers (No.  24)

The Steelers restructured Ben Roethlisberger’s deal to maintain him for a starter for yet one more yr, nevertheless it’s clear he confirmed indicators of huge bodily decline final season and must be changed as quickly as 2022. For now, offensive deal with and cornerback could be greater priorities, however ought to Jones slip previous No. 20, the Steelers have to suppose arduous earlier than passing on Jones, who has the perfect make-up to be Big Ben’s true inheritor obvious.

This is one other workforce loaded with broad receivers and may get extra impactful at working again in 2021. The Steelers shall be restricted for breaking via huge within the playoffs with Mike Tomlin once more so long as they preserve rolling out Roethlisberger. If not Jones, they would want to consider stashing Florida’s Kyle Trask within the second spherical.

4. Washington Football Team (No. 19)

Ron Rivera and Scott Turner are going with Ryan Fitzpatrick as their newest bridge starter to interchange Alex Smith, however he hasn’t been assured a beginning job. Although Kyle Allen and Taylor Heinicke hope they’ll compete for it, Washington wants to consider a greater pedigreed teenager to shine in a rising younger offense with Terry McLaurin, Curtis Samuel, Logan Thomas and Antonio Gibson.

The similar attributes that made Fitzpatrick interesting are in Jones, solely in a youthful, extra proficient physique. Jones’ cerebral and hard-working nature would mesh effectively with Rivera and Turner and he can also execute all of the throws with good talent help.

5. Minnesota Vikings (No. 14)

The Vikings are tied to Kirk Cousins’ contract for 2021, however forward of 2022, they’ll get out of it with $10 million in useless cash vs. $35 million in cap aid. Cousins is already set to grow to be a 35-year-old free agent in 2023 after final yr’s extension.

Setting up Jones to succeed him would a be plan to ease their mini-rebuilding transition. Rick Spielman and Mike Zimmer have to present Jones some consideration, however he would seemingly be a greater select of a commerce down. The Vikings will want to consider offensive line, linebacker and edge rusher, too,  whereas weighing whether or not they need to as a substitute go for close to future at QB.

6. New England Patirots (No. 15)

The Patriots appear intent on working a unique type of offense that includes a working QB enjoying off an influence offense popping out of two-tight finish units. But additionally they may very well be utilizing Cam Newton as a pure handy bridge whereas they consider extra of a “efficient point guard” at quarterback, one who can distribute the ball everywhere in the area with accuracy with the smarts to soak up Josh McDaniels’ advanced system.

Jones would love this as a giant Tom Brady fan and emulator. He comes into the NFL with the identical grinding nature as Brady solely with a extra polished talent set, higher athleticism and established profitable pedigree. OK, let’s not say he is the subsequent Brady — like Tagovailoa has mildly urged  — however Jones may please Bill Belichick loads whereas serving to the Patriots higher compete with Tagovailoa’s Dolphins and Josh Allen’s Bills within the AFC East.

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