Alabama quarterback Mac Jones ran through his 2021 NFL Draft pro day on Tuesday in front of a contingent of NFL scouts and personnel executives in his effort to secure his standing as a top-20 pick in April’s first round.
Pro days have a varying degree of value when it comes to a prospect’s evaluation. It’s often the case that players perform better on campus than they do at the NFL Combine, which makes the 2021 draft circuit the most challenging yet. There aren’t any checks and balances this year.
But when it comes to quarterbacks, it’s a little different. The athletic testing isn’t nearly as important as how they look throwing the football. Sure, it’s a scripted workout in a comfortable environment throwing to known receivers, but arm strength, accuracy, and overall body mechanics don’t change (for the most part).
NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah was in attendance at Jones’ pro day and came away seemingly unimpressed by his performance.
“I thought it was a solid workout,” Jeremiah said. “… When you look (Trevor) Lawrence, (Trey) Lance and even Davis Mills at Stanford, I think they have a little more juice. A little bit more life on the football. Everything was smooth (for Jones). Everything was very comfortable and poised.”
It’s as if Jeremiah was trying to be very careful with how he described Jones’ workout. Comfortable and poised? Seems to fit the general talking points around Jones’ game. Not as much juice as Lawrence, Lance, and Mills? That isn’t a surprise, right? Jones’ film shows a guy with a good enough arm, who throws with touch and accuracy, but who won’t overwhelm with power and tight-window throws.
It sounds like Jones is who we think he is. His tape, combined with his pro day, are pieces to his puzzle that create a Kirk Cousins-like picture as an NFL starter. And that isn’t a criticism. Cousins is a very good NFL quarterback who’s done a lot of good things as a pro. If Jones is a first-round pick and has the kind of career Cousins has enjoyed so far, he’d be a resounding success.