Despite all the great things you’ll hear about all the top prospects for 2021, the NFL draft remains a crapshoot. From rounds one through seven, some guys will thrive and some will fail at the next level.
Although more young quarterbacks are landing on the right side of the pass/fail test than ever before, there’s still no crystal ball when it comes to figuring out which ones will be the best. The top two picks in 2015 were supposed to be sure things; they weren’t. Ditto for 2016. Every draft has one or more quarterbacks to whom we can now point and say, “Oops.”
“Oops” can be said in a bad way, and in a good way. One guy for whom “oops” eventually could be said in a good way is Alabama quarterback Mac Jones. Currently not at the top of the stack of prospects, former Patriots offensive coordinator and Notre Dame head coach Charlie Weis thinks he could be.
“What are the two most important components of a star quarterback?” Weis told Mike Reiss of ESPN.com. “They have the ‘it’ factor. And they’re accurate. That’s who he was.”
Sometimes, a quarterback gets downgraded for thriving in the presence of stars, since those stars cover up the quarterback’s flaws. Weis offered a different view to Reiss.
“You talk about being around good players,” Weis said. “Yeah, he was around good players. But playing on a team with a bunch of stars, who is the leader of the offense? He also had to make all those throws. I think the kid is an excellent quarterback. He has less holes than just about anybody.”
One hole is the lack of high-end running ability.
“When you talk about Trevor Lawrence, what makes him so special is that he can do everything Mac Jones can and he’s athletic,” Weis said. “[Justin] Fields, really good player. Zach Wilson, really good player. The kid from North Dakota State [Trey Lance], really good player. . . . But this guy, [Jones], he’s the one making all the plays. All he does is win and throw completions.”
There it is. The “he’s a winner” argument. The age-old, chicken-and-egg question about quarterbacks. Does a history of winning in college have relevance at the NFL level?
The mere suggestion of wins counting as a quarterback stat triggers many. That said, a true leader at the position gets more out of his teammates. Look at the various tales and anecdotes arising from Tampa Bay regarding Tom Brady‘s influence on his teammates.
So should the Patriots, who drafted Brady 21 years ago, take Jones?
“I don’t want to be one of those people telling them how they are dumbasses if they don’t do that,” Weis told Reiss.
(Usually, I like to have the last word on stories like this. One official exception: Whenever someone quoted in the story uses the term “dumbasses.”)