Alabama quarterback Mac Jones is generally considered the fifth-best prospect at the position in this year’s NFL Draft class.
The one-year starter led the Crimson Tide to the National title by throwing 41 touchdowns and just four interceptions while surrounded by elite talent, including a pair of wide receivers who could get picked in the top half of the first round come April.
But as the Patriots continue to search for both a present and a future at the quarterback position, should Jones be a consideration with the No. 15 overall pick?
Not according to Mike Rodak, who covers Jones and the rest of Nick Saban’s squad for AL.com and formerly covered both the Patriots and Bills for ESPN.
“No,” Rodak said simply Sunday morning on the Tanguay and Hart Show on WEEI. “And that’s I think the tough part for him, is that he might be being elevated a little bit higher than where he should go. I think that top half of the first round should be reserved for the guys like [Patrick] Mahomes, like Deshaun Watson in recent years. Those sort of quarterbacks, who can when the play breaks down make those ridiculous sidearm throws that we see out of Mahomes, run around and just make things happen in a way that other quarterbacks can’t. Mac’s not that quarterback. It’s tough to kind of put him in that category. I think it’s doing a disservice to him. If you are drafted in the bottom half of the first round, early second round you can still be a pretty good NFL quarterback. There are a lot of good quarterbacks that come in that range. They are just a little bit different from a talent standpoint.
“Yeah, I think he is getting pushed a little too high.
And to be honest it’s some of the ESPN guys, [Mel] Kiper and [Todd] McShay keep putting him a little bit higher. Then you see others and they are a little bit later in the first round. That’s probably a better spot for him.
“Bringing it back to the Patriots, they are in a tough spot in a sense that they have that high pick that they haven’t had in a while but if you are looking at Mac you are taking a little bit of a risk right there.”
Rodak does acknowledge Jones’ many strengths, including that he may have the “it” factor, as former Patriots offensive coordinator Charlie Weis told ESPN recently.
“I think he has a competitive fire that don’t always see in other players,” Rodak told WEEI. “There is something a little bit different about him. It’s a little bit cliché, chip on his shoulder. Three-star recruit. Never a big name coming into college. He has success and there is this idea of a chip on his shoulder. So there is somewhat of a cliché there. But I do think there is something about him that got him to where he is. You can’t really compare anybody to Tom Brady, but it’s that Tom Brady-like aspect of he’s always going to think of himself as a sixth-round pick that got passed over a number of times. I do think it is part of Mac. I think there is somewhat of an ‘it’ factor there with him. Even at Alabama he was always just Tua [Tagovailoa]’s backup and no one really saw him as doing what he did, finishing third in the Heisman, winning the Davey O’Brien Award, winning a National Championship. I can say for sure I did not see that coming out of him. I think to get himself to that point he probably deserves some credit there. From a character, if you are looking for that box on his scouting report, there is that chip on the shoulder that you would look for at that position.”