Pats Draft Rd.1/15: QB Michael McCorkle "Mac" Jones

BaseballJones

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That's definitely not at all true. Fields had the hardest schedule of defenses played by a pretty significant margin. In fact it graded out as the toughest schedule of any drafted QB in a decade.
He played just 8 games. Alabama played like six top-ten teams this year and the SEC is way harder than the Big Ten.

Though to be fair, I’m not positive about all their defensive rankings.
 

Cellar-Door

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He played just 8 games. Alabama played like six top-ten teams this year and the SEC is way harder than the Big Ten.

Though to be fair, I’m not positive about all their defensive rankings.
His last 4 games were all against top 15 defenses (Alabama, Clemson, Northwestern, Indiana) using SP+ which is what most people seem to trust as a good defense grader. The SEC isn't that much harder than the Big 10 anymore in terms of defense (offense is maybe a different story), the middle tier teams have slipped on D, so you get some layups in there now.

Now, the good news on Jones is.... he had the 2nd toughest schedule of the QBs, and his performance against top 50 defenses (not a super high bar, but gets rid of the garbage defenses) was very similar to his overall performance, so he didn't seem to suffer much against better defenses... this has a nice breakdown
https://www.numberfire.com/nfl/news/36225/2021-nfl-draft-how-quarterbacks-performed-versus-top-defenses
 

JM3

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Alabama offensive players drafted

#6 WR Waddle
#10 WR Smith
#15 QB Jones
#17 OT Leatherwood
#24 RB Harris
#37 C Dickerson
#193 OG Brown

Clemson offensive players drafted

#1 QB Lawrence
#25 RB Etienne
#46 OT Carman
#85 WR Rodgers
#181 WR Powell

Ohio State offensive players drafted

#11 QB Fields
#62 C Myers
#86 OG Davis
#88 RB Sermon
#145 TE Farrell

Seems not very close.
 

Cellar-Door

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Seems not very close.
I will say Ohio State does have 2 WRs who will likely go 1st round next year when draft eligible.
But yes, this year's Alabama offense was probably the most talented offense ever
 

Shelterdog

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Jones could be very good.... it doesn't change that his situation at Alabama meant that the vast majority of his snaps aren't particularly useful in grading how he'd play in the NFL.
It's an untestable proposition but I'll bet you a million internet dollars that BB and Shanahan and the Ravens GM can all figure out a ton about how good Jones is from his college tape.
 

Cellar-Door

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It's an untestable proposition but I'll bet you a million internet dollars that BB and Shanahan and the Ravens GM can all figure out a ton about how good Jones is from his college tape.
I'm sure they can, and I'm pretty sure they do it by essentially throwing away his stats and culling a big percentage of his plays. I would guess they probably use 5-10% of his snaps when they really look at his tape. I mean, they probably give it all a once over to look at a few things like consistency, etc, but in terms of transferable skills I would guess the bulk of the in-depth work is done on a very small number of plays per game, with more plays from the games against top opponents.

Edit- which was the point. It's not that you can't tell anything from the tape, it's that a lot of the tape, and the statistics are basically useless because they aren't predictive, so you have to really get into a limited number of snaps and make your assessment on that.
 

nighthob

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How were Fields weapons? Or Lawrences?
(Serious question)
I assume quite good. And yet Jones gets dinged for "Well yea HE played with great weapons".
It’s not WEAPONZ!!![/I] per se, it’s that he was playing on an NFL team against college competition. It’s just a lot easier when you’re always playing with a two TD lead on the opposition.
 

JM3

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I will say Ohio State does have 2 WRs who will likely go 1st round next year when draft eligible.
But yes, this year's Alabama offense was probably the most talented offense ever
True, but Metchie should also be a 1st round pick & they have another OL who's projected to go top 5, Evan Neal.

I ran through the NFL draft picks Jones & Fields played against. Definitely more for Jones (I didn't bother to remove opt-outs).

Alabama schedule with NFL picks on defense:

Missouri (38-19)
#58 LB Bolton
#143 S Gillespie
#188 S Bledsoe

Texas A&M (52-24)
#117 DT Brown
#140 LB Johnson

Mississippi (63-48)
[None]

Georgia (41-24)
#29 CB Stokes
#33 CB Campbell
#50 DE Ojulari
#92 LB Rice
#169 S LeCounte
#241 S Webb

Tennessee (48-17)
[None]

Mississippi State (41-0)
#253 DE Spencer

Kentucky (63-3)
#19 LB Davis
#44 CB Joseph
#192 DT Bohanna
#200 CB Echols
#232 DT Hoskins

Auburn (42-13)
#146 S Sherwood
#176 LB Britt

LSU (55-17)
#115 LB Cox
#122 DT Shelvin
#224 S Steven's
#237 CB Vincent

Arkansas (48-7)
DT #207 Marshall

Florida (52-46)
#136 CB Wilson
#165 S Davis
#173 DT Slaton

Note Dame (31-14)
#52 LB Owusu-Koramoah
#171 DE Hayes
#182 DE Ogundeji

Ohio State (52-24)
#60 LB Werner
#105 LB Browning
#132 DT Togiai
#160 CB Wade
#239 DE Cooper

_________________________________

Ohio State schedule with NFL picks on defense

Nebraska (52-17)
[None]

Penn State (38-25)
#12 LB Parsons
#31 DE Oweh
#246 DE Toney

Rutgers (49-27)
[None - RIP]

Indiana (42-35)
#164 S Johnson

Michigan State (52-12)
[None - ended 80 year streak of having a player drafted]

Northwestern (22-10)
#26 Newsome II
#174 DE Brown IV

Clemson (49-28)
[None]

Alabama (24-52)
#9 CB Surtain
#38 Barmore
 

BaseballJones

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Well whatever their relative level of supporting cast and opposition, Jones’ passing stats were significantly better than Fields’, for whatever that’s worth.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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I'm sure they can, and I'm pretty sure they do it by essentially throwing away his stats and culling a big percentage of his plays. I would guess they probably use 5-10% of his snaps when they really look at his tape. I mean, they probably give it all a once over to look at a few things like consistency, etc, but in terms of transferable skills I would guess the bulk of the in-depth work is done on a very small number of plays per game, with more plays from the games against top opponents.

Edit- which was the point. It's not that you can't tell anything from the tape, it's that a lot of the tape, and the statistics are basically useless because they aren't predictive, so you have to really get into a limited number of snaps and make your assessment on that.
Do you know of any useful links to analyses of bad/mediocre tape on Jones? I'm genuinely curious as the video cutups by Waldman/Schofield and Lazar are basically compilations of really good plays. I'd be interested to see the other side of the coin and what kind of things tend to go wrong when he has a bad play.
 

Cellar-Door

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Eddie Jurak

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This whole situation felt so familiar to me and I couldnt figure out why. I finally got it.

Jaylen Brown.

The entire lead up to the draft, the only guy I didnt want the Celtics to pick was Jaylen Brown. Not because I had any clue if he was good - I didnt - but because this board had an almost universal dislike for him and had steered me into the same train of thought.

We were wrong.

Here we are several years later, and its played out the same way. The majority of people in this forum (myself included) dont watch enough college football - especially Alabama - to form a valid opinion. Yet...we all hated him heading into the draft.

I'm looking forward to his meteoric rise to stardom.
This is true, even though the concerns about Jones are the exact opposite of the concerns about Brown.
 
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Eddie Jurak

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This article is less than convincing because it relies so heavily on arguments that are independent of Mac Jones.

If you want to make a case for Fields over Jones, looking at the track record of pure pocket passers (i.e., guys who are useless outside of the pocket), is a good place to start. There have been 25 quarterbacks drafted in the first round since that new CBA was signed. Of those 25, 11 have been given a second contract by the teams that drafted them. And only ONE of those quarterbacks could be considered immobile: That was Jared Goff, who was traded before he even reached the extension on his contract.

The only other quarterbacks who averaged fewer than 20 rush yards per game in college who received a second contract from the teams that drafted them were Ryan Tannehill (who played WR in college) and Blake Bortles (who probably should have been a TE in the NFL). The other names on the list: EJ Manuel, Paxton Lynch, EJ Manuel, Sam Darnold, Jameis Winston, Teddy Bridgewater, Josh Rosen and Brandon Weeden.

It doesn’t get much better if you look at the quarterbacks drafted after the first round who eventually won full-time starting jobs. Russell Wilson, Dak Prescott, Andy Dalton and Colin Kaepernick all averaged more than 28 rush yards per game in college. Derek Carr (4.3 rush yards per game), Kirk Cousins (-2.8) and Jimmy Garoppolo (-1.5) fell way below that threshold.
Pocket passers... bad. Fewer than 28 yard per game college rushers... also bad.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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Jones may or may not succeed, and the film in that story CellarDoor helpfully posted did give me some better context about him, but I do really think this whole narrative about how new QBs are unlikely to succeed in today's NFL without being mobile is really overblown. It largely seems like guys fishing for clicks and listens by torturing the data to draw big conclusions from limited and arbitrary samples, without a lot of consideration of contextual factors. A few problems that come to mind.

1. Bill Belichick, Sean Payton, Kyle Shanahan, and Sean McVay (who drafted Goff then traded for Stafford) clearly disagree. If you are spinning a grand narrative about the way the NFL game has evolved offensively and those guys are on the other side of the argument, you should probably reevaluate.

2. After reading or hearing a few variations on this line about mobile QBs on podcasts and stories, I've never really seen a truly convincing argument about why the continuing success of older pocket passers should be discounted and we should only look at some limited sample of newer guys. Its an arbitrary way of cutting the sample of NFL QBs to make it seem like more mobile guys are king.

3. In terms of the sample of recent QBs, there is a huge selection effect. The college game has come to prioritize more mobile QBs so of course the proportion of more mobile QBs entering the NFL has risen in turn.

4. Mobility is probably most validly measured as a scale variable and dichotomizing QBs into mobile or non-mobile groups based on some arbitrary line like 28 college rushing yards a game is likely to obscure as much as it shows. It is also not obvious to me why college rushing yards is a good measure given how dependent that statistic is on scheme and surrounding talent.
 
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Shelterdog

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I'm sure they can, and I'm pretty sure they do it by essentially throwing away his stats and culling a big percentage of his plays. I would guess they probably use 5-10% of his snaps when they really look at his tape. I mean, they probably give it all a once over to look at a few things like consistency, etc, but in terms of transferable skills I would guess the bulk of the in-depth work is done on a very small number of plays per game, with more plays from the games against top opponents.

Edit- which was the point. It's not that you can't tell anything from the tape, it's that a lot of the tape, and the statistics are basically useless because they aren't predictive, so you have to really get into a limited number of snaps and make your assessment on that.
Yeah not buying it at all. Obviously the talent level around him matters but sorry, it’s a preposterous claim that good talent evaluators would ignore ninety to ninety five percent of his tape.
 

Otto

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Yeah not buying it at all. Obviously the talent level around him matters but sorry, it’s a preposterous claim that good talent evaluators would ignore ninety to ninety five percent of his tape.
Correct. There are lots of reasons why all 32 teams send scouts to pro days all over the country (or even head coaches, coordinators, and GMs) and their entire coaching staff and personnel department to the NFL combine every year - and one of those reasons is that they can watch players go through position specific drills and evaluate their ability. Basically, if Bill Belichick can learn something about a QB from watching him throw passes wearing shorts/t-shirt and without any defense on the field at a pro day, he can learn something from watching a QB's game film, regardless of opponent.
 

RetractableRoof

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You know who was a pretty good mobile quarterback, RG3. Given a choice, I want the QB quickly getting the ball to other players who's job it is to do the fun stuff like break/avoid tackles - and bear the risks of failing to do so. That doesn't mean that a pocket QB isn't going to get hurt because he doesn't know how to take a hit (like the QB the Pats had that they traded to the 49ers). All things being equal, the traditional value of having a young mobile QB is the ability to lessen the impact of not knowing how to properly read defenses and be a QB that moves within the pocket, etc. The running is typically a survival skill. Now we have a new category of QBs that are so talented their running skill requires attention by the defense and there is incredible value in that (especially if they are also capable of all the things that the 'pocket' QBs are). But again, for my money I'd still prefer the QB to stay at home and increase the odds of a longer career. I think I'd prefer 5 years of a competent (or better) pocket QB versus the same 5 years of the new generation of mobile QB - because over the same period, I'd bet the number of games missed is higher for the mobile QB. [I expect that there will be exceptions both ways.] Even if I were to lean towards the mobile QB, what is the cost in this years draft to go up to get the QB that has that skill over the one they got? Is the additional draft cost plus the actual difference in mobile performance related value preferable to overcome what the pocket QB *doesn't* bring on the field? IF I don't want my QB running to begin with, the delta isn't worth what Chicago paid.

In the end, the Pats value a QB that can read the defense, not turn the ball over, manage the game, follow his progressions, and make the throws that have been game planned for. I think all 5 QBs chosen could be able to do that, and some of them can do more. I think all that BB *needs* is the bolded. Depending on who you believe, the 49ers went up to 3 because they wanted Jones (and changed their minds once they got there). Given that BB turned his card in pretty quickly, he was happy with Jones. So there are a couple of respected coaches that believe that Jones can do the bolded. I don't know how to 'watch' film, or get from it the things that SN and SMU do, in another life that's a skill I might have taught myself. What I've taken from the breakdowns is that Jones has shown the ability to do all the things a QB needs to do against reasonably talented opposition. He might need to improve them, sure - but he can actually already do them as a starting point. There are QBs drafted into the league who still can't read a defense to save their life (or career). He might need to learn to get through his progressions faster. He might need to improve his footwork or his pocket presence because of the speed of the NFL game. But his floor is a competent NFL QB (who might still wash out, right?), and even if that is also pretty close to his ceiling - he might still be good enough to win with. I think his ceiling is more than competent QB, we'll know in a few years.

I like the pick, I like that the team didn't move up to get him - and I think he's going to be fun to watch develop. There are some quality offensive tools on this team after the free agent restock, it will be interesting to see who gets the most out of them from the QB position. Newton, Stidham, or Jones.

Also: as a fan of sports this draft has the QB class of 83 written all over it. Lots of talent, did you draft the right one?
 

EL Jeffe

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Alabama had 2 of the 3 best WRs in College probably the best RB in College and the best O-Line by a massive margin, the difference between his supporting cast and theirs was significant.
I'm not buying this at all. The talent gap between North Dakota State and the rest of FCS dwarfs the difference between Alabama and the SEC; I wouldn't even know where to begin if someone were to challenge that statement. (I know this above quote was in regards to Lawrence & Fields, but Lance as the #3 overall pick should be in this supporting cast talent discussion as well.)

I'd also say the talent gap between Alabama and LSU (2020 COVID opt-outs made this season an outlier for them), Florida, and Georgia is smaller than the talent gap between Clemson and the rest of the ACC or Ohio State and the rest of the Big 10 (Michigan definitely has talent and recruits well; there are also some good programs - Iowa, Northwestern, etc. that do a great job identifying and developing program fits).

I mean, we just saw what LSU did in 2019 - that was one of the greatest teams of ALL TIME. Florida and Georgia are always loaded. Auburn took a step back but their 2019 team was really good. Yes, Alabama is coming off a National Championship, it's the best overall program of the last 10 years, but saying Alabama is at some completely different universe than the rest of the top tier of SEC programs strikes me as some serious recency bias and completely ignores the absurd level of talent LSU had just one season prior (or how loaded Georgia and Florida are).
 

Cellar-Door

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This article is less than convincing because it relies so heavily on arguments that are independent of Mac Jones.

Pocket passers... bad. Fewer than 28 yard per game college rushers... also bad.
It wasn't really a link for the argument, it was just a good compilation of some bad Jones film which is what he was looking for
 

BaseballJones

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Alabama's 2020 schedule:

at Missouri - Mizzou was 5-5 on the year. Jones: 75.0%, 249 yds, 2 td, 0 int
vs Texas A&M - TAM was #13 at the time and finished 9-1 overall, #4 in the country. Jones: 74.1% for 435 yds, 4 td, 1 int
at Ole Miss - Ole Miss was 5-5 on the year. Jones: 87.5%, 417 yds, 2 td, 0 int
vs Georgia - Georgia was #3 at the time and finished 8-2 overall, #7 in the country. Jones: 75.0%, 417 yds, 4 td, 1 int
at Tenn - Tenn was 3-7 on the year. Jones: 80.6%, 387 yds, 0 td, 0 int
vs Miss St - Miss St was 4-7 on the year. Jones: 77.4%, 291 yds, 4 td, 0 int
vs Kentucky - Kentucky was 5-6 on the year. Jones: 66.7%, 230 yds, 2 td, 1 int
vs Auburn - Auburn was #22 at the time and finished 6-5 on the year. Jones: 69.2%, 302 yds, 5 td, 0 int
at LSU - LSU was 5-5 on the year. Jones: 71.4%, 385 yds, 4 td, 0 int
at Arkansas - Ark was 3-7 on the year. Jones: 82.8%, 208 yds, 0 td, 0 int
vs Florida - Fla was #7 at the time and finished 8-4 overall, #13 in the country. Jones: 76.7%, 418 yds, 5 td, 1 int
vs Notre Dame - ND was #4 at the time and finished 10-2 overall, #5 in the country. Jones: 83.3%, 297 yds, 4 td, 0 int
vs Ohio State - OSU was #3 at the time and finished 7-1 overall, #2 in the country. Jones: 80.0%, 464 yds, 5 td, 0 int

So there were six opponents they played that were ranked - and obviously even those teams that finished at the bottom of the SEC were much better than most other teams in the country (but because they all played each other, SOMEONE has to lose). Those six opponents were:

#13 Texas A&M
#3 Georgia
#22 Auburn
#7 Florida
#4 Notre Dame
#3 Ohio State

Of those, these teams finished in the top 10 at the end of the season:

#4 Texas A&M
#7 Georgia
#5 Notre Dame
#2 Ohio State

So against these teams - some of the very best teams in the country (4 of the top 7) - Jones put up crazy great numbers.

#4 Texas A&M - 20-27, 74.1% for 435 yds, 4 td, 1 int
#7 Georgia - 24-32, 75.0%, 417 yds, 4 td, 1 int
#5 Notre Dame - 25-30, 83.3%, 297 yds, 4 td, 0 int
#2 Ohio State - 36-45, 80.0%, 464 yds, 5 td, 0 int
TOTALS: 103-134 (76.9%), 1,613, 12.0 y/a, 17 td, 2 int

I mean, the talent level between Alabama and these teams isn't THAT much. Yes there's a gap, obviously. Alabama was the best team in the country this past season. But Mac Jones was *incredible* against these opponents.

And this isn't like Tim Tebow smoking people. Tebow, we could all tell, was a great runner and wasn't really that accurate. With a huge talent advantage, he completed 66.7% of his passes. Jones, against the best competition, completed 77% of his passes. He was pinpoint all season long, and even more so against the best competition the country had to offer.
 

A Bad Man

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I assume everyone has seen the most recent Jeff Howe piece on Jones. Howe claims that Jones became "fluent" in Chinese in high school.

I watched a Dan Patrick interview with Jones from late 2020. In it, Patrick asks him about Chinese and if he can say "Roll Tide."

Jones evades the question, claiming that he can say "I play football at Alabama."

I am here to tell you that Jones not only gets the grammar completely backwards, but his accent is atrocious. And I mean atrocious.

Jones might be smart, but he is no linguist. I will never be able to erase this from my memory.
 

Jimbodandy

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Jones may or may not succeed, and the film in that story CellarDoor helpfully posted did give me some better context about him, but I do really think this whole narrative about how new QBs are unlikely to succeed in today's NFL without being mobile is really overblown. It largely seems like guys fishing for clicks and listens by torturing the data to draw big conclusions from limited and arbitrary samples, without a lot of consideration of contextual factors. A few problems that come to mind.

1. Bill Belichick, Sean Payton, Kyle Shanahan, and Sean McVay (who drafted Goff then traded for Stafford) clearly disagree. If you are spinning a grand narrative about the way the NFL game has evolved offensively and those guys are on the other side of the argument, you should probably reevaluate.

2. After reading or hearing a few variations on this line about mobile QBs on podcasts and stories, I've never really seen a truly convincing argument about why the continuing success of older pocket passers should be discounted and we should only look at some limited sample of newer guys. Its an arbitrary way of cutting the sample of NFL QBs to make it seem like more mobile guys are king.

3. In terms of the sample of recent QBs, there is a huge selection effect. The college game has come to prioritize more mobile QBs so of course the proportion of more mobile QBs entering the NFL has risen in turn.

4. Mobility is probably most validly measured as a scale variable and dichotomizing QBs into mobile or non-mobile groups based on some arbitrary line like 28 college rushing yards a game is likely to obscure as much as it shows. It is also not obvious to me why college rushing yards is a good measure given how dependent that statistic is on scheme and surrounding talent.
This is such a great post. Really well done.

I'm finding it fascinating that there's this momentum around the idea that you need to be mobile entering the league now. In a lot of ways, it makes sense in the "more tools in the toolbox" sense, especially as regards onboarding a new guy into the league. It's hard to read pro defenses, and having an escape valve will keep drives going and keep up a young guy's confidence.

But the implication is also that defenses have evolved so much that pro offensive lines and pro offensive coordinators simply can't game plan for them fully. And to that end, you need to rely on a QB who can do it on his own and avoid the negative play or turnover. Like it's a requirement of the job now, because the offenses are conceding a certain, non-trivial percentage of their plays to a dominating pass rush. And it SEEMS that Belichick's choice of Jones flies right in the face of that current group think.
 

tims4wins

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This is such a great post. Really well done.

I'm finding it fascinating that there's this momentum around the idea that you need to be mobile entering the league now. In a lot of ways, it makes sense in the "more tools in the toolbox" sense, especially as regards onboarding a new guy into the league. It's hard to read pro defenses, and having an escape valve will keep drives going and keep up a young guy's confidence.

But the implication is also that defenses have evolved so much that pro offensive lines and pro offensive coordinators simply can't game plan for them fully. And to that end, you need to rely on a QB who can do it on his own and avoid the negative play or turnover. Like it's a requirement of the job now, because the offenses are conceding a certain, non-trivial percentage of their plays to a dominating pass rush. And it SEEMS that Belichick's choice of Jones flies right in the face of that current group think.
Yep. Obviously Brady is the GOAT and any comparisons to him are stupid, but he's won 4 of the past 7 Super Bowls, played (extremely well) in a 5th, plus one conference championship loss. Meanwhile in that timeframe the only "mobile" QB to win it all has been Mahomes. Throw in Wilson in 2013 and you have 2 of the past 8 winners. But then you go back to 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000.... zero mobile QBs with rings.
 

scott bankheadcase

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Yep. Obviously Brady is the GOAT and any comparisons to him are stupid, but he's won 4 of the past 7 Super Bowls, played (extremely well) in a 5th, plus one conference championship loss. Meanwhile in that timeframe the only "mobile" QB to win it all has been Mahomes. Throw in Wilson in 2013 and you have 2 of the past 8 winners. But then you go back to 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000.... zero mobile QBs with rings.
I do think the NFL has perhaps expanded it's thinking a bit in the last 5 or so years though. It used to be Mobile or Pocket. Now, Mahomes exists, Watson (ignoring off field issues) exists, Wilson, these guys are pocket passers who have another element, not necessarily just mobile qbs. They're cut from the Steve Young cloth not the Mike Vick one.

I do think the game is changing to favor this type (more so than the Lamar Jackson type).
 

tims4wins

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I do think the NFL has perhaps expanded it's thinking a bit in the last 5 or so years though. It used to be Mobile or Pocket. Now, Mahomes exists, Watson (ignoring off field issues) exists, Wilson, these guys are pocket passers who have another element, not necessarily just mobile qbs. They're cut from the Steve Young cloth not the Mike Vick one.

I do think the game is changing to favor this type (more so than the Lamar Jackson type).
Fully agree, but I think they are trying too hard to force it. Guys like Steve Young and Mahomes are Hall of Fame players. It's not so simple to find them.
 

BaseballJones

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To play this game more...from 2016-2020 (so last 5 seasons), here are the playoff teams (furthest round they advanced noted). I categorize the QBs in three groups: dropback (classic Brady/Peyton/Brees type), mobile (can run when needed), and running (likes to make plays with his feet, maybe even game plans some QB runs in there).

2016 (7 dropback, 5 mobile, 0 running)
WC (2 dropback, 2 mobile, 0 running)
- Oak (Carr - mobile)
- Det (Stafford - dropback)
- NYG (Eli - dropback)
- Mia (Tannehill - mobile)
Div (2 dropback, 2 mobile, 0 running)
- Sea (Wilson - mobile)
- Hou (Osweiler - dropback)
- Dal (Prescott - mobile)
- KC (Smith - dropback)
CC (1 dropback, 1 mobile)
- GB (Rodgers - mobile)
- Pit (Roethlisberger - dropback)
SB (1 dropback)
- Atl (Ryan - dropback)
Win SB (1 dropback)
- NE (Brady - dropback)

2017 (8 dropback, 2 mobile, 2 running)
WC (2 dropback, 0 mobile, 2 running)
- LAR (Goff - dropback)
- KC (Smith - dropback)
- Buf (Taylor - running)
- Car (Newton - running)
Div (3 dropback, 1 mobile, 0 running)
- Ten (Mariota - mobile)
- Atl (Ryan - dropback)
- NO (Brees - dropback)
- Pit (Roethlisberger - dropback)
CC (1 dropback, 1 mobile, 0 running)
- Jax (Bortles - mobile)
- Min (Keenum - dropback)
SB (1 dropback)
- NE (Brady - dropback)
Win SB (1 dropback)
- Phi (Foles - dropback)

2018 (6 dropback, 3 mobile, 3 running)
WC (0 dropback, 1 mobile, 3 running)
- Hou (Watson - running)
- Sea (Wilson - mobile)
- Chi (Trubisky - running)
- Bal (Jackson - running) - I know Flacco played half the year; I'm going with Jackson here
Div (3 dropback, 1 mobile, 0 running)
- Ind (Luck - dropback)
- Dal (Prescott - mobile)
- Phi (Wentz - dropback)
- LAC (Rivers - dropback)
CC (1 dropback, 1 mobile)
- KC (Mahomes - mobile)
- NO (Brees - dropback)
SB (1 dropback)
- LAR (Goff - dropback)
Win SB (1 dropback)
- NE (Brady - dropback)

2019 (5 dropback, 4 mobile, 3 running)
WC (3 dropback, 0 mobile, 1 running)
- Buf (Allen - running)
- NE (Brady - dropback)
- NO (Brees - dropback)
- Phi (Wentz - dropback)
Div (1 dropback, 1 mobile, 2 running)
- Min (Cousins - dropback)
- Bal (Jackson - running)
- Sea (Wilson - mobile)
- Hou (Watson - running)
CC (0 dropback, 2 mobile, 0 running)
- Ten (Tannehill - mobile)
- GB (Rodgers - mobile)
SB (1 dropback)
- SF (Garoppolo - dropback)
Win SB (1 mobile)
- KC (Mahomes - mobile)

2020 (5 dropback, 4 mobile, 3 running)
WC (3 dropback, 1 mobile, 0 running)
- Ind (Rivers - dropback)
- Sea (Wilson - mobile)
- Was (Smith - dropback)
- Pit (Roethlisberger - dropback)
Div (1 dropback, 1 mobile, 2 running)
- Chi (Trubisky - running)
- Ten (Tannehill - mobile)
- LAR (Goff - dropback)
- Bal (Jackson - running)
CC (0 dropback, 1 mobile, 1 running)
- Buf (Allen - running)
- GB (Rodgers - mobile)
SB (1 mobile)
- KC (Mahomes - mobile)
Win SB (1 dropback)
- TB (Brady - dropback)

Now, you may quibble with my categories and who belongs where. That's fine. But taking all this into account, here's what I've got.

60 playoff teams total
- 31 dropback
- 18 mobile
- 11 running

20 made it to the WC round and lost there
- 10 dropback
- 4 mobile
- 6 running

20 made it to the Divisional round and lost there
- 10 dropback
- 6 mobile
- 4 running

10 made it to the Conf Championship round and lost there
- 3 dropback
- 6 mobile
- 1 running

5 made it to the SB and lost there
- 4 dropback
- 1 mobile
- 0 running

5 won the SB
- 4 dropback
- 1 mobile
- 0 running

Of course these are heavily tilted by one Thomas Edward Patrick Brady, but you see the overall picture. You can still very much win in this league with more traditional dropback passers. It definitely helps if they can move in the pocket and aren't statues. Don't forget, one of the biggest plays for NE en route to winning the SB vs. Atlanta was a long Tom Brady scramble for a key first down during their comeback. So you really can't be a Drew Bledsoe anymore. Thankfully, Mac Jones isn't Drew Bledsoe. There are plenty of clips of him scrambling away from pressure, stepping up in the pocket and avoiding the rush, and even scrambling for 10+ yards to get first downs. He's no Lamar Jackson, obviously, but he's no Drew Bledsoe either.
 

Cellar-Door

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Sure, but the argument isn't usually... "you can't win without a mobile QB" it is.. "recently non-mobile QBs haven't developed"
Try your list again and eliminate everyone 35 and up and you'd have a better comparison to what the actual argument is.
 

Cellar-Door

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I assume everyone has seen the most recent Jeff Howe piece on Jones. Howe claims that Jones became "fluent" in Chinese in high school.

I watched a Dan Patrick interview with Jones from late 2020. In it, Patrick asks him about Chinese and if he can say "Roll Tide."

Jones evades the question, claiming that he can say "I play football at Alabama."

I am here to tell you that Jones not only gets the grammar completely backwards, but his accent is atrocious. And I mean atrocious.

Jones might be smart, but he is no linguist. I will never be able to erase this from my memory.
We have fully entered the "we must justify this decision and embrace the hope/hype , nothing that even hints at criticism or concern will be tolerated" portion of the offseason. Jones speaks better Mandarin than Liu Cixin, if you think his accent and grammar are wrong that is because you don't understand the nuance of the language.
 

BaseballJones

ivanvamp
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Sure, but the argument isn't usually... "you can't win without a mobile QB" it is.. "recently non-mobile QBs haven't developed"
Try your list again and eliminate everyone 35 and up and you'd have a better comparison to what the actual argument is.
That's because, as someone else pointed out, most colleges run offenses that favor running (or at least mobile) QBs. So naturally, those are the guys who are going to make it more and more into the NFL. But clearly you can WIN with a traditional dropback passer in today's NFL. Mac Jones may or may not be successful. But he won't be UNsuccessful because he isn't an elite athlete. He would be unsuccessful because he can't throw the football. If he can throw it accurately, making good decisions, and moving enough to avoid pressure and occasionally scrambling for a first down when necessary, he will be very successful. The point is that the NFL isn't averse to traditional accurate dropback passers. It's just that what's coming up through the ranks is much more mobile/running types due to the offenses teams are using.
 

BaseballJones

ivanvamp
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We have fully entered the "we must justify this decision and embrace the hope/hype , nothing that even hints at criticism or concern will be tolerated" portion of the offseason. Jones speaks better Mandarin than Liu Cixin, if you think his accent and grammar are wrong that is because you don't understand the nuance of the language.
How is him speaking or not speaking Chinese even close to relevant to anything regarding the Patriots?
 

Cellar-Door

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That's because, as someone else pointed out, most colleges run offenses that favor running (or at least mobile) QBs. So naturally, those are the guys who are going to make it more and more into the NFL. But clearly you can WIN with a traditional dropback passer in today's NFL. Mac Jones may or may not be successful. But he won't be UNsuccessful because he isn't an elite athlete. He would be unsuccessful because he can't throw the football. If he can throw it accurately, making good decisions, and moving enough to avoid pressure and occasionally scrambling for a first down when necessary, he will be very successful. The point is that the NFL isn't averse to traditional accurate dropback passers. It's just that what's coming up through the ranks is much more mobile/running types due to the offenses teams are using.
That's certainly a theory, but I wouldn't say it's a fact at all. There have been a good number of high performing college non-mobile QBs who have been highly drafted in the last decade or so, and the success rate is pretty low compared with their more mobile colleagues, it's a big part of the basis for the people whose theory is that developing non-mobile QBs has become harder. The blanket "oh colleges don't have dropback passers anymore" isn't really true at all, plenty of schools still do, and plenty get to the NFL.

I'm not 100% behind that theory ( I think as in all things it is likely a matter of degree, you need to meet a certain balance of mobility, release time, processing and accuracy), but the people dismissing it out of hand by pointing to a bunch of QBs who came up 15-20 years ago in a different environment, or dismissing the many non-mobile QBs drafted in the last decade are not really countering it at all, they are countering an imaginary argument they made up.
 

BaseballJones

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I get what you're saying. But again, Jones' success or lack thereof will depend on his ability to understand what they're trying to do, what the defense is doing, making good decisions, and throwing the ball accurately to the right guy. Those are still the most important things for NFL success at the QB position. If he does that at a high level, he will succeed in the NFL. If he doesn't do that, then he won't. It won't have to do with whether he's able to rush for 75 yards a game or anything remotely like that.

Time will tell if he can do it. Do I wish he was more athletic with his feet? Yes. Do I wish he had a little stronger arm? Yes. But if he had those things, he'd have been the #1 pick in the draft, not the #15. What he DOES have is terrific intelligence, terrific processing speed, great decision-making, the ability to avoid the rush and even scramble a little when necessary, and tremendous accuracy, not just hitting his receivers, but throwing the ball to the spot where they can do something with it.

Mac may be a great test of the theory that classic dropback passers who possess these attributes can still succeed in the NFL.
 

Super Nomario

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Sure, but the argument isn't usually... "you can't win without a mobile QB" it is.. "recently non-mobile QBs haven't developed"
Try your list again and eliminate everyone 35 and up and you'd have a better comparison to what the actual argument is.
If non-mobile QBs can still succeed (as they clearly can), but the league has done a poor job developing them lately, to me, that points to "we need to a do a better job developing non-mobile QBs" instead of "teams shouldn't draft non-mobile QBs."

I see a lot of this argument as an extension of the argument that's been happening for 25 years or more. Basically my entire football fandom, I've been hearing about how QBs that can run are the future and Michael Vick or RGIII / Wilson / Kaepernick / Cam or whoever was going to take over the whole league and the non-mobile guys were going to go away. The non-mobile guys haven't gone away, so now people are pointing to the lack of non-mobile young guys. To me it looks like an aesthetic preference masquerading as a logical argument.

EDIT: FWIW, I didn't love McCorkle's tape either - that deep sideline ball just dies.
 

Shelterdog

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We have fully entered the "we must justify this decision and embrace the hope/hype , nothing that even hints at criticism or concern will be tolerated" portion of the offseason. Jones speaks better Mandarin than Liu Cixin, if you think his accent and grammar are wrong that is because you don't understand the nuance of the language.
Oh please. Do you honestly think this fairly characterizes what people are doing?

Honestly, if I'd spent the past four months telling everyone on the board that Mac Jones sucks, that he's a third round talent, that we should ignore his tape and production because he played with good players, and that he's the second coming of Jake Fromm only to find out that BB, Payton and Shannahan all seem to think he's really really good I'd be a little more humble.
 

tims4wins

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Oh please. Do you honestly think this fairly characterizes what people are doing?

Honestly, if I'd spent the past four months telling everyone on the board that Mac Jones sucks, that he's a third round talent, that we should ignore his tape and production because he played with good players, and that he's the second coming of Jake Fromm only to find out that BB, Payton and Shannahan all seem to think he's really really good I'd be a little more humble.
Yeah personally I feel like the fans and media are setting pretty low expectations for Mac. It has the potential to create a great situation for him to exceed those expectations.
 

BaseballJones

ivanvamp
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If non-mobile QBs can still succeed (as they clearly can), but the league has done a poor job developing them lately, to me, that points to "we need to a do a better job developing non-mobile QBs" instead of "teams shouldn't draft non-mobile QBs."

I see a lot of this argument as an extension of the argument that's been happening for 25 years or more. Basically my entire football fandom, I've been hearing about how QBs that can run are the future and Michael Vick or RGIII / Wilson / Kaepernick / Cam or whoever was going to take over the whole league and the non-mobile guys were going to go away. The non-mobile guys haven't gone away, so now people are pointing to the lack of non-mobile young guys. To me it looks like an aesthetic preference masquerading as a logical argument.

EDIT: FWIW, I didn't love McCorkle's tape either - that deep sideline ball just dies.
It goes back further to Randall Cunningham even.

But here's the thing. I ask myself why have these running QBs succeeded more lately. And I think part of it is the rule changes. Years ago, you could absolutely demolish QBs, in or out of the pocket. There was no QB sliding for safety. And there was a ton of $$ invested in QBs, and the last thing you wanted them to do was to run a lot and get crushed. Poof - there goes your investment. It was always effective (good running QBs actually running), but the risk to such a big investment was simply too much. But now, the QBs are much more protected, and that means that teams are much more willing to let their QBs run, and now even design a lot of plays for them. It's not that there is no risk, but it's lessened because they can just slide and stay safe.

But even still, a running QB is less effective. Take Lamar Jackson or Kyler Murray.

Jackson averaged 7.3 yards per pass attempt and 6.3 yards per rush. As electrifying as he was on the ground, he was STILL more effective passing than running.

Murray averaged 7.1 yards per pass attempt and 6.2 yards per rush. Same idea...it's better for him to throw than run.

But what they can do, because (a) they're great athletes and (b) defenses have a harder time accounting for running QBs than RBs, is run better than running backs. So they can either turn bad plays (getting sacked or whatever) into positive gains as they scramble, or they can simply run for better average yards per carry than running backs. You still can't go to the well too much because RBs are fungible and you don't care as much if your $3 million RB takes 25 hits a game, but man you DO care if your $30 million QB takes 25 hits a game.
 

BusRaker

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Well you have your Michael Vick / Lamar Jackson mobile and then you have your Josh Allen / Deshaun Watson mobile. I'd prefer the latter when drawing up a game plan against a good defense
 

BaseballJones

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Well you have your Michael Vick / Lamar Jackson mobile and then you have your Josh Allen / Deshaun Watson mobile. I'd prefer the latter when drawing up a game plan against a good defense
I agree. Though I even prefer a Patrick Mahomes or Russell Wilson - definitely athletic and capable runners, but excellent passers first and foremost.
 

Jimbodandy

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Yeah personally I feel like the fans and media are setting pretty low expectations for Mac. It has the potential to create a great situation for him to exceed those expectations.
I think that we all know that a sizeable percentage of fans will be calling for him to start all season, particularly after a bad game by Cam or even a loss that's no fault of Cam's. That's the backup QBs thing, when he's not an obvious clipboard holder like Hoyer.

But I do think that you're right that expectations will be moderated somewhat. If they had traded up and spent future picks to do it, the pressure would have been greater.
 

Rustjive

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If non-mobile QBs can still succeed (as they clearly can), but the league has done a poor job developing them lately, to me, that points to "we need to a do a better job developing non-mobile QBs" instead of "teams shouldn't draft non-mobile QBs."
Isn't the theory that because of changes in the CBA to the amount of practicing and team activities, and that's why developing these players has become so much harder? A Google search turns up the article I'm probably thinking about (but it seems like just some musings out loud by people around the league):

https://www.theringer.com/nfl/2019/1/17/18186326/tom-brady-drew-brees-golden-generation-aging-quarterbacks

He thinks the collective bargaining agreement has given older quarterbacks a massive advantage over younger ones. In 2011, two-a-day practices were banned, and offseason contact was severely limited, a far cry from what Gannon called “quarterback school” with Jon Gruden’s Raiders 20 years ago, where passers received hours of instruction on the field and in the film room.
“Now you can go in the weight room, but you can’t talk to coaches,” Gannon said. “You wonder why quarterback play can be so crappy? Look at how many quarterbacks are struggling and how many coaches get fired because of it.”

There’s a theory, according to the people I spoke with, that Brady, Brees, Eli Manning, Rivers, Rodgers, and Roethlisberger benefited from coming into the league during a time of unlimited football education and practice time. These players have aged gracefully because halfway through their tenure, the grueling, physical practices they were accustomed to were virtually banned.
 

Cellar-Door

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If non-mobile QBs can still succeed (as they clearly can), but the league has done a poor job developing them lately, to me, that points to "we need to a do a better job developing non-mobile QBs" instead of "teams shouldn't draft non-mobile QBs."

I see a lot of this argument as an extension of the argument that's been happening for 25 years or more. Basically my entire football fandom, I've been hearing about how QBs that can run are the future and Michael Vick or RGIII / Wilson / Kaepernick / Cam or whoever was going to take over the whole league and the non-mobile guys were going to go away. The non-mobile guys haven't gone away, so now people are pointing to the lack of non-mobile young guys. To me it looks like an aesthetic preference masquerading as a logical argument.

EDIT: FWIW, I didn't love McCorkle's tape either - that deep sideline ball just dies.
I think the argument basically is... you can't develop them now. I don't really agree, but it is based on the idea that the changes in the league, in particular things like practice time, OTAs, etc. make it much harder for players who aren't mobile to develop the skills that their predecessors did as easily, and that the changes in athleticism and scheme on defense mean that if you lack those qualities you get so beat up and fail so much early that you're never really able to get the experience you need.

I think it's a flawed argument with a kernel of truth in it. I think what it really means is that mobile QBs have more margin for error, and that a pocket QB needs to be VERY accurate, and read the field very well, and... be in a system with good protection. Where a mobile QB can get away with 1 or 2 of the 3. I also do wonder though if part of it as well is... QBs start day 1 so much recently. Brady, Rivers, a lot of those guys sat 1-2 years, now maybe nowadays there just aren't enough reps in practice to develop a QB and keep your starter sharp, but I don't believe that entirely. I think it may be harder, but it can be done. Plus a smart guy gets a personal coach who isn't a team employee who helps him (even Brady did).
 

BaseballJones

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I think it's a flawed argument with a kernel of truth in it. I think what it really means is that mobile QBs have more margin for error, and that a pocket QB needs to be VERY accurate, and read the field very well, and... be in a system with good protection. Where a mobile QB can get away with 1 or 2 of the 3. I also do wonder though if part of it as well is... QBs start day 1 so much recently. Brady, Rivers, a lot of those guys sat 1-2 years, now maybe nowadays there just aren't enough reps in practice to develop a QB and keep your starter sharp, but I don't believe that entirely. I think it may be harder, but it can be done. Plus a smart guy gets a personal coach who isn't a team employee who helps him (even Brady did).
Well fortunately, Jones is very accurate, reads the field very well, and should have excellent protection from NE's offensive line.
 

SMU_Sox

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As a guy who needed 6 months and a total of 9 games to get why Jones is that good I'd like to weigh in here.

Fields has played with an all-star cast as well. He has had excellent OLs, excellent RBs, and guess what else, excellent WRs. I know @EL Jeffe and I are big big fans of Olave and hope he might sneak onto the Pats next year. Olave should have come out this year and I think he would have been the 4th or 5th WR taken.


What makes Jones a tough eval?
Let's start with the acknowledgement that Jones is a tough eval. All QBs are tough evals in college to some degree. Reason 1: Jones was surrounded by some of the best talent in all of college football. So was Fields. So was Lawrence. Good QBs tend to go to loaded schools. That's just what is happening now in the college game. Even Zach Wilson had a loaded cast compared to his competitors. NDSU is loaded as well compared to others but let's pump the brakes on their overall level of talent. Their receivers aren't the kind of guys who could adjust to slightly errant passes like Waddle or Smith could for example. Reason 2: Jones is a tough eval is because he doesn't have the kind movement skills that most QBs you look at now do. Jones looks frumpy and isn't someone who is going to wow you with his shirt off. Most guys you look at are either dual-threats or close to it. Jones is a traditional pocket-passer and those guys have not done well lately out of college. Reason 3: Again that stat comparing the average arm strength of Lance vs Jones is striking in that a pass from Lance gets 15 yards while the same pass from Jones only gets 13.5 yards in that same time-frame. A lot of his deep-balls are going to die on you as well as some of his throws outside the numbers. I don't have any tape of him playing in the wind or in bad weather which makes me a little nervous. Reason 4: Sark was basically a God last year as OC. Watching Bama's offense was a delight. 58% of Jones plays were play-actions, screens, or RPOs. Those plays tend to be simplistic in nature but he executed them well. Unfortunately it doesn't help evaluators much because even though those 3 types of plays are used at the next level it is like a cheat code to simplify processing. Compare his offense to Ryan Day's which involved vertical option routes and a lack of RPOs, screens, and play-actions, and it is easy to see why evaluators thought Fields was more pro-ready conceptually from that offense. So you really had to cue into the other 42% of plays to evaluate his processing. You can still evaluate his release, mechanics, accuracy and ball placement with those other snaps. And then some of Sark's play designs combined with the level of Bama's skill players and you see Mac throwing to wide open receivers.

Ceiling vs Floor: What traits move the needle?
We tend to think of physical traits as upside for most positions and that is true even for QB. But with QB as well as other positions mental traits can greatly impact ceiling and for this position in particular mental traits have the highest impact on ceiling. For a QB having a rocket arm helps make up for getting it out slowly. Being highly mobile means you have a chance to extend the play if you take too long in the pocket to deliver the ball and are forced to move. Those are easier skills to see. Mental traits are harder. Of all the guys I watched this year Jones had the best anticipation. He would throw balls before guys even made their breaks. He would move up or sideways in the pocket, reset his feet, and make a throw. He would know where pressure was coming from and how long he had to get it off. Those are all traits that will translate. One of the games I was hammering him for was Auburn in 2019 but it was true for numerous games he had in 2019. If the pre-snap coverage varied from post-snap coverage he would be prone to throwing risky passes. Now while he isn't perfect yet with this he might be the best or second best at recognizing that and coming off of bad reads unlike say Zach Wilson who hasn't met a throw he can come off of.
Then there are traits that are part physical and part mental like understanding leverage. He isn't perfect with ball placement but he generally throws with good understanding of where he needs to put the ball in relationship to the space between the WR and the DB (and the safety if applicable). He has an already NFL ready pump fake which freezes safeties and he is a master at looking off guys and releasing right away to others. He will also challenge tight windows. I saw 4-5 throws like the one in Waldman's video where he is attacking a tight window and putting it up to let his guy get it. His red zone reads and accuracy is ridiculous.
It is also somewhat easy to forget that guys can get better in physical aspects of the game. For example Mac Jones can improve his arm strength and might see minor improvements in his overall athleticism which could have a small impact on his ability to scramble if he works on his body. These are marginal improvements but this a game of margins.

When you are an amateur evaluator you can fall to some bad habits. One of them with QB is if you see 4-5 games of a guy and 2 of them are his worst games. That taints your view of a guy but in order to get to 250ish prospects you can't spend 8 hours on a guy watching every snap. You have to assume that what you saw is roughly his average performance. With Jones you were also hearing that he was going to be taken 3rd over Fields or Lance so he was always seen in this potential 3rd overall guy. And then you might personally get annoyed with a guy for whatever reason. There were also some statistics that showed Mac in a poor light that were really better interpreted as Mac as a product of his offense. I fell to all 4. It's hard as an evaluator to stay open-minded and it is something I am trying to get better at. It's easy to dig in to one side and put the blinders on because there is going to be a tweet tape for everything. Trust me when I can say if I wanted to I could put together a clip of low-lights to make almost all these top QBs look like average Joes. The key is admitting you got it wrong the first time and striving harder for the next time. Mac isn't the only guy I went from loathing to loving. Stone Forsythe was another guy this cycle I flipped on. I also went the other way on guys like Bolton (liked him a lot but ultimately thought he was a 2-down only guy from 3-down).