Much like Joe Burrow last year, Jones entered his final collegiate season as a projected Day 3 pick. Now, Jones could realistically go as high as the top-10 in April’s NFL draft.
ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper has certainly noticed Jones’ ascent. Kiper recently praised Jones to such an extent that the quarterback may feel pressured by the new expectations.
Mel Kiper compared Mac Jones to Tom Brady
No, there is nothing wrong with your screen. Kiper recently told ESPN colleague Mike Reiss that Jones “kind of has a little bit of” Brady in how he analyzes and reacts to the game.
“I’m not saying he’s ever going to be Tom Brady. He wouldn’t be close, probably. But he has that competitiveness, and he’s so smart — he picked that offense up [at the Senior Bowl] like it was nothing. Other quarterbacks were struggling with the verbiage and — ‘boom!’ — he was in and out of the huddle quicker than anybody I’ve ever seen.”
Kiper said that Brady and Jones also share some physical attributes.
“[Jones] doesn’t have the ‘wow’ arm, like Brady didn’t either coming into the league,” Kiper told Reiss. “And like Brady, he’s not real mobile, not a runner. But biding time, slipping and sliding, he did it in the championship game. So there are some similarities there.”
Mel Kiper has the Panthers selecting Jones in April
In his February 25 mock draft on ESPN.com, Kiper projected the Carolina Panthers will select Mac Jones with the eighth overall pick. Elsewhere in the NFC South Division, Brady is set to return for the 2021 season and his second campaign with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Jones is the fourth quarterback to go in Kiper’s mock draft, following Trevor Lawrence (No. 1 to Jacksonville), Zach Wilson (No. 2 to Atlanta via a trade with the Jets), and Justin Fields (No. 7 to Ohio State via a trade with the Lions).
Carolina has veteran quarterback Teddy Bridgewater under contract for two more seasons. Although the Panthers have been suggested as a possible spot for Texans star quarterback Deshaun Watson, there is no credible movement on that front.
Mac Jones is entering the NFL with immense pressure
Until he took over for Tua Tagovailoa at Alabama in November 2019, even the most devout Alabama fans might have had trouble picking Mac Jones out of a lineup.
Much has changed since then, and the pressure keeps stockpiling for Jones. Mel Kiper is throwing around Tom Brady’s name in comparisons, and teams seemingly think very highly of Jones, a consensus All-American last year.
Jones showed last year just what he could do when given an opportunity. All it takes is one franchise to like Jones, and it appears that he’ll find that franchise early in April’s draft.
And if it’s the Panthers, Jones may get an early chance to show just why Kiper compared him to Brady.