Can Mac Jones solve the Denver Broncos’ problems at QB?

Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Mac Jones (10) throws a pass during the second quarter against the Ohio State Buckeyes in the 2021 College Football Playoff National Championship Game.
Jan 11, 2021; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Mac Jones (10) throws a pass during the second quarter against the Ohio State Buckeyes in the 2021 College Football Playoff National Championship Game. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The last few months the biggest question surrounding the Broncos is, what will happen at the quarterback position?

The fanbase seems to be divided between giving Drew Lock another year to develop or getting aggressive in the draft and moving up for a rookie play-caller. A number of quarterbacks are getting attention, but none has fans and analysts more divided than Mac Jones of Alabama.

Jones walked away from Alabama on top after defeating Ohio State in the National Championship game this past January, and the buzz around him continued to grow all the way up to the Senior Bowl, where he appeared to be the best quarterback of the attendees.

Early on, Jones was considered a borderline-Day-1 or Day 2 draft option, but the latest expectations are that he’ll go much sooner than that and could potentially land in the top 10.

Conveniently, that is right where the Broncos are currently slated to pick.

Positives

At 6-foot-3, 220-pounds Mac Jones fits the description of a “prototypical” NFL quarterback in terms of measurables.

Jones is a heady quarterback that processes the field well and goes has the ability to work through his reads. He has a clear understanding of the playbook and has reportedly done well with picking up verbiage and concepts.

He throws with nice accuracy which is a big plus. He hasn’t shown a big arm but his deep passing game isn’t completely underwhelming as his ball placement down the field is very solid.

Jones moves well within the pocket and changes throwing angles and lanes to give himself the best opportunity to make a play. He understands how to manipulate the pocket to stay upright because he doesn’t have the mobility most modern quarterbacks rely on.

He is also a nice game manager that makes wise decisions with the football. Jones also appears to be a good leader, based on what we’ve seen on the field and from comments by teammates Jaylen Waddle and Devonta Smith. Jones rededicated himself to football after his freshman season in an attempt to grow and improve, and it appears he was successful.

Negatives

Mac Jones is not what you would call “athletic”. If you are looking for a quarterback that has a powerful physique or impressive athletic traits, Jones is not your man.

Jones does not have a cannon of an arm like many of the other quarterbacks in this class. He is not unable to complete the long ball, but his range is definitely limited. Jones needs to work on throwing with anticipation as he tends to throw after the receiver makes his break, even on curl routes. Developing that sense of anticipation will be a requisite for him to have a successful NFL career, as he doesn’t have the arm or the zip to make up for being late on the throw.

Jones also needs some work on making his release more consistent. At times it looks clean and concise but other times it is long and cumbersome, so reps and coaching will be key.

Jones has very limited mobility outside of the pocket, and as a result, doesn’t have much ability to extend the play or improvise, a must in today’s NFL. It will be very important for him to play behind a quality offensive line early, if not always.

Finally, there are some character concerns surrounding Jones. He was arrested for a DUI in 2017 after a car crash, though luckily nobody was injured in the ordeal.

Verdict

If you watched the 2019 NFL Draft, you most likely remember this:

This could be Broncos Country in the near future.

It is a distinct possibility that the Denver Broncos select Mac Jones at pick No. 9, or even trade up to select him.

The Broncos brass has not indicated who they are targeting in this draft class, but Jones has many scouts and team intrigued. While the quarterback position is the most important position in the game of football, this is not the quarterback Denver should spend their draft capital on.

That is not to say they shouldn’t draft a quarterback, it should definitely be a consideration. However, George Paton said himself at his introduction press conference “The more picks, the more darts, the better your chances of hitting the bullseye,” and the Broncos would be better off using Mac Jones as a leverage piece for Denver to trade down and do just that; acquire as many darts as possible.

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