Perhaps no NFL draft prospect has more to prove at this year’s Senior Bowl than Mac Jones.
So far, so good.
The Alabama quarterback was one of the standout performers on Day 2 of Senior Bowl practice, impressing observers in Mobile with his accuracy and poise.
ESPN analyst Louis Riddick wrote on Twitter that Jones “could not have had a better day than he did” Wednesday.
Independent draft analyst Matt Miller called the Heisman Trophy finalist “very impressive.”
During full-team goal-line drills, Jones delivered a touchdown pass to LSU wide receiver Racey McMath while rolling to his right. Later, he fired a perfectly placed 20-yard ball to Georgia tight end Tre’ McKitty, who made a nice one-handed catch against tight coverage.
Jim McBride of The Boston Globe wrote that Jones “has been the most accurate passer on either team through two days.”
That jibes with Jones’ performance this season. The former backup to 2020 fifth overall pick Tua Tagovailoa led the nation in completion percentage (77.4 percent) during a terrific senior campaign while also ranking first in passing yards (4,500), first in yards per attempt (11.2) and second in touchdown passes (41).
Jones is widely considered the fifth-best quarterback prospect in this year’s class (behind Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, Justin Fields and Trey Lance) and could be a first-round pick, with many prognosticators linking him to the QB-needy New England Patriots at No. 15.
Jones’ lack of top-end athleticism has raised questions about his NFL ceiling, though, as has the loaded supporting cast he played with on the national champion Crimson Tide. Wide receiver DeVonta Smith won the Heisman and is a projected top-10 pick, running back Najee Harris is a first-round talent and Alabama boasted the best offensive line in college football.
This week is an opportunity for Jones to show what he can do outside of that star-studded Bama offense. A strong Senior Bowl performance could convince skeptical teams he’s worthy of a first-round investment.
Five or more quarterbacks have been selected in the first round just three times in NFL history (1983, 1999 and 2018). Five have gone in the top 20 just once (1999).
Texas A&M’s Kellen Mond, Notre Dame’s Ian Book, Texas’s Sam Ehlinger, Arkansas’s Felipe Franks and Georgia’s Jamie Newman are the other QBs in this year’s Senior Bowl crop. All are considered mid-round prospects at best.
Florida’s Kyle Trask, considered the sixth-ranked signal-caller behind Jones, was on the initial Senior Bowl roster but pulled out due to an ankle injury.
Players will take the field for their third and final Senior Bowl practice Thursday, with the all-star game itself scheduled for Saturday at 2:30 p.m. ET on NFL Network.
The Patriots have drafted a total of 46 Senior Bowl prospects since 2008 — an average of 3.5 per year — and signed several others as undrafted free agents.