The Michael McCorkle "Mac" Jones Thread

Cellar-Door

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There are lots of successful examples now, but let's not forget that mobility can cap someone's ceiling as well, to the extent that guys cover up bad habits or skill deficits by resorting to scrambling when they screw something up. Tom Brady became the type of quarterback he is in part (in my opinion) because he could not bail the pocket and run when things didn't go right.
I wouldn't say it caps ceiling since nothing stops you from developing that side of things.
But I do get the idea that since running QBs HAVE more margin for error they don't always continue to develop certain skills and habits because they don't have to, where a non-mobile QB either continues to develop those edges on he's falls out of the starting group.

I think to an extent it's probably just that mobile QBs can stay starter relevant longer with mediocre passing skills/habits because they have running to add, where a guy without running either gets better at all those pocket skills/habits or becomes a backup.
 

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How many “mobile” QBs have had long careers? It seems like those guys who succeed early with their legs often don’t get better with age. Either their speed ages faster or they get dinged up. But who are the 30+ year old mobile QBs who are as good as they were in their 20’s?
The QBs who get continue to get better as they age are the pocket QBs: Brady, Brees, Manning, Rodgers, even 2nd tier guys like Cousins, Fitzpatrick, Tannehill.
Guys like Newton or RG3 or Vince Young or Michael Vick, start out taking the league by storm, but their careers tend to be short.
Maybe things have changed such that this new crop of mobile QBs will age better, but I’m not sure about that.
 

slamminsammya

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How many “mobile” QBs have had long careers? It seems like those guys who succeed early with their legs often don’t get better with age. Either their speed ages faster or they get dinged up. But who are the 30+ year old mobile QBs who are as good as they were in their 20’s?
The QBs who get continue to get better as they age are the pocket QBs: Brady, Brees, Manning, Rodgers, even 2nd tier guys like Cousins, Fitzpatrick, Tannehill.
Guys like Newton or RG3 or Vince Young or Michael Vick, start out taking the league by storm, but their careers tend to be short.
Maybe things have changed such that this new crop of mobile QBs will age better, but I’m not sure about that.
Rodgers doesn't run past the LOS much, but I don't know if I would characterize him as a pocket QB. Maybe now, but he definitely had legs and improvisational abilities. Does that count?
 

DJnVa

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The things that are getting beat to death in this thread--"subpar arm" and "not mobile"--are things that were known to the Patriots when they drafted him. It is not hard to figure out the strength of a guy's arm and yet the Patriots drafted him anyway. They quite obviously feel that these aren't the limitations that some in this thread seem to think they are.
 

RIrooter09

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How many “mobile” QBs have had long careers? It seems like those guys who succeed early with their legs often don’t get better with age. Either their speed ages faster or they get dinged up. But who are the 30+ year old mobile QBs who are as good as they were in their 20’s?
The QBs who get continue to get better as they age are the pocket QBs: Brady, Brees, Manning, Rodgers, even 2nd tier guys like Cousins, Fitzpatrick, Tannehill.
Guys like Newton or RG3 or Vince Young or Michael Vick, start out taking the league by storm, but their careers tend to be short.
Maybe things have changed such that this new crop of mobile QBs will age better, but I’m not sure about that.
Randall Cunningham, Steve Young, and Frank Tarkenton were all mobile QBs with long, successful careers.
 

IdiotKicker

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How many “mobile” QBs have had long careers? It seems like those guys who succeed early with their legs often don’t get better with age. Either their speed ages faster or they get dinged up. But who are the 30+ year old mobile QBs who are as good as they were in their 20’s?
The QBs who get continue to get better as they age are the pocket QBs: Brady, Brees, Manning, Rodgers, even 2nd tier guys like Cousins, Fitzpatrick, Tannehill.
Guys like Newton or RG3 or Vince Young or Michael Vick, start out taking the league by storm, but their careers tend to be short.
Maybe things have changed such that this new crop of mobile QBs will age better, but I’m not sure about that.
Mobile can mean a lot of different things. Is it the ability to take off and run at the first sign of trouble? Is it someone you can run the option with? Is it the ability to roll out of pressure and make off-platform throws? Is it mobility within the pocket, knowing when to step up or slide right or left?

If we’re talking about the first two items, there are not very many quarterbacks with long careers that are built around their running. Even guys like Russell Wilson, who ran 6-8x per game his first four years in the league, now typically only runs 3-5 times per game over his last four seasons. Patrick Mahomes has around 5 runs per game. There were only 3 QBs this year with over 100 rushes for the season, so it’s just not a major component in the NFL game.

But if we’re talking about being able to get outside the pocket and make strong, accurate off-platform throws or being able to avoid pressure and not take a sack in the pocket, those are absolutely huge in today’s game, and we certainly have more passers who are willing to get outside the pocket and have the ability to still complete passes when on the run than any time in the history of the game.

Mac has shown the ability to make some throws on the run, but it’s very clear that his arm strength doesn’t make that a key component of his game right now, so it’s an area where he currently lacks the present upside that guys like Mahomes, Allen, and Rodgers have. I also think that while he does have a nice little step-back floater to buy time in the pocket, I haven’t seen him do a ton in terms of climbing the pocket or sliding right or left to avoid sacks, and I think that’s somewhere that I would really focus on this offseason to try to get rid of a negative play or two per game.

None of this is to say that I don’t like Mac. I think he’s a solid, capable QB who is accurate as hell, takes what is given to him (mostly), and who has some things to work on like every rookie. He doesn’t need to answer all of these questions to be a top 10 QB. If we want him to be a top 3 or top 5 QB, then he needs to address a larger chunk of them or get to a higher peak in a narrow subset. Brady made himself the best ever not by mastering off-platform throws, getting outside the pocket, or running, but by having an above-average arm, great accuracy, generational pocket awareness, and generational decision-making. We’ll see which tools Mac can build into elite ones, as I think he currently has elite accuracy, and mostly above-average decision-making, but the rest of his game is pretty average with below-average current arm strength.
 

Eddie Jurak

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There are lots of successful examples now, but let's not forget that mobility can cap someone's ceiling as well, to the extent that guys cover up bad habits or skill deficits by resorting to scrambling when they screw something up. Tom Brady became the type of quarterback he is in part (in my opinion) because he could not bail the pocket and run when things didn't go right.
I'm not sure mobility "caps" anyone ceiling - I think it is just that running is a way for QBs to reach the NFL, whether they do or do not have the other NFL skills needed to be a QB.
Mobile can mean a lot of different things. Is it the ability to take off and run at the first sign of trouble? Is it someone you can run the option with? Is it the ability to roll out of pressure and make off-platform throws? Is it mobility within the pocket, knowing when to step up or slide right or left?
Thank you for saying this. I'd argue that Tom Brady had a type of mobility (within the pocket, obviously) that was a huge difference maker for him on the field. Maybe his most unappreciated skill. (I feel like his QB sneak has gotten proper appreciation).
Mac has shown the ability to make some throws on the run, but it’s very clear that his arm strength doesn’t make that a key component of his game right now, so it’s an area where he currently lacks the present upside that guys like Mahomes, Allen, and Rodgers have. I also think that while he does have a nice little step-back floater to buy time in the pocket, I haven’t seen him do a ton in terms of climbing the pocket or sliding right or left to avoid sacks, and I think that’s somewhere that I would really focus on this offseason to try to get rid of a negative play or two per game.
Absolutely agree with the bolded. Though my optmistic take would be that 2 of the better examples of him doing this came in that first drive against Buffalo, which suggests he has it in him to improve.
 

radsoxfan

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He currently has elite accuracy, and mostly above-average decision-making, but the rest of his game is pretty average with below-average current arm strength.
How often do NFL QBs significantly improve arm strength after they enter the NFL? I'd love to see it happen, it seems like Brady somehow did it.

I"m sure there are exceptions, but more often than not pitchers seem to maintain or decline velocity throughout their career unless something specific happens (surgery for an injury, move from starting to bullpen, etc).

Maybe more technique involved in being a QB so there is more chance to improve in your mid 20s and beyond? I think Mac's arm is good enough now but it would be nice if somehow it turned into Brady's.
 

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Jimbodandy

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The things that are getting beat to death in this thread--"subpar arm" and "not mobile"--are things that were known to the Patriots when they drafted him. It is not hard to figure out the strength of a guy's arm and yet the Patriots drafted him anyway. They quite obviously feel that these aren't the limitations that some in this thread seem to think they are.
That's absolutely true, because he's elite at some very important attributes like recognition, accuracy, placement, decision-making and leadership.

I think that the discrepancy in opinions is in how folks perceive his ceiling in the areas in which he's not currently strong (i.e. velocity mostly) and perceived improvement opportunities in areas in which he's already good but could get better (post-snap reads, experience).
 

Cellar-Door

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How many “mobile” QBs have had long careers? It seems like those guys who succeed early with their legs often don’t get better with age. Either their speed ages faster or they get dinged up. But who are the 30+ year old mobile QBs who are as good as they were in their 20’s?
The QBs who get continue to get better as they age are the pocket QBs: Brady, Brees, Manning, Rodgers, even 2nd tier guys like Cousins, Fitzpatrick, Tannehill.
Guys like Newton or RG3 or Vince Young or Michael Vick, start out taking the league by storm, but their careers tend to be short.
Maybe things have changed such that this new crop of mobile QBs will age better, but I’m not sure about that.
I take mobile as more meaning having the capability to make things happen rather than a dedicated rush game.
Rogers is mobile, Wilson, Early career Favre, Elway, McNabb, Warren Moon until he got old, Jim Kelly, Alex Smith, Brunell, McNair, Cunningham lot of long top level careers there
 

IdiotKicker

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How often do NFL QBs significantly improve arm strength after they enter the NFL? I'd love to see it happen, it seems like Brady somehow did it.
Burrow, who had mediocre arm strength coming out of college, reportedly worked with Jordan Palmer during his rehab from ACL surgery to improve him arm strength and was able to bump his velocity from 48.5 mph to 54 mph. Take that with a grain of salt because one-on-one coaches want to hype their guys, but it certainly is possible to add velocity, and Burrow has certainly had some added zip this year.

I don’t know that I really buy that Brady added a ton of arm strength, so much as NE unleashed him as he gained knowledge of the system and showed competency. I mean, the best throw I’ve ever seen was in the first NYG SB loss, where Brady uncorked a pass from his own 13 yard line that hit Moss in the hands at the opposing 20. I mean, this is basically 6 years into his pro career, and that’s a freaking monster throw right on the money nearly 70 yards downfield. Even if you go back and watch some of Brady’s rookie year tape, he’s throwing 20-30 yard lasers on a pretty consistent basis. His arm strength was always head and shoulders above where Mac is now, so I don’t really think it’s a great comp.
 

Cellar-Door

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That's absolutely true, because he's elite at some very important attributes like recognition, accuracy, placement, decision-making and leadership.

I think that the discrepancy in opinions is in how folks perceive his ceiling in the areas in which he's not currently strong (i.e. velocity mostly) and perceived improvement opportunities in areas in which he's already good but could get better (post-snap reads, experience).
I think there is also a difference between drafting a guy mid 1st to play for you and planning to commit to him long term on a big money second contract. Drafting a QB who can play well for you on a rookie deal is incredibly valuable. If he is able to shore up his weaknesses great, you might get a player worth investing a lot of money in long-term, if he isn't, you still got solid QB play for low money. What people are discussing is... long term what is his place in the NFL.
If the Patriots knew they were getting what they did in Mac, and also knew he wouldn't significantly improve his weaknesses, they'd obviously still draft him. They might do so not intending to give him a second deal. There is real value in drafting a guy with a high floor, even if it comes with a lower ceiling. What a QB needs to be a significant surplus value on a rookie deal is very different from what he needs to be to have surplus value on a second contract.
 

Hoya81

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Burrow, who had mediocre arm strength coming out of college, reportedly worked with Jordan Palmer during his rehab from ACL surgery to improve him arm strength and was able to bump his velocity from 48.5 mph to 54 mph. Take that with a grain of salt because one-on-one coaches want to hype their guys, but it certainly is possible to add velocity, and Burrow has certainly had some added zip this year.

I don’t know that I really buy that Brady added a ton of arm strength, so much as NE unleashed him as he gained knowledge of the system and showed competency. I mean, the best throw I’ve ever seen was in the first NYG SB loss, where Brady uncorked a pass from his own 13 yard line that hit Moss in the hands at the opposing 20. I mean, this is basically 6 years into his pro career, and that’s a freaking monster throw right on the money nearly 70 yards downfield. Even if you go back and watch some of Brady’s rookie year tape, he’s throwing 20-30 yard lasers on a pretty consistent basis. His arm strength was always head and shoulders above where Mac is now, so I don’t really think it’s a great comp.
Wasn’t lack an elite arm was one of the knocks on TB going back to Michigan?
 

radsoxfan

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I don’t know that I really buy that Brady added a ton of arm strength, so much as NE unleashed him as he gained knowledge of the system and showed competency. I mean, the best throw I’ve ever seen was in the first NYG SB loss, where Brady uncorked a pass from his own 13 yard line that hit Moss in the hands at the opposing 20. I mean, this is basically 6 years into his pro career, and that’s a freaking monster throw right on the money nearly 70 yards downfield. Even if you go back and watch some of Brady’s rookie year tape, he’s throwing 20-30 yard lasers on a pretty consistent basis. His arm strength was always head and shoulders above where Mac is now, so I don’t really think it’s a great comp.
Certainly by the Randy Moss years Brady's arm was plenty strong and I truthfully always thought he didn't get enough credit for an above average arm.

But coming out of college and as a rookie was his arm that good? I thought that was a knock on him, a mediocre arm (along with the laughable athletic numbers).

Honestly I'm looking at that as a positive.... maybe Mac has a few years in which he can work on technique and get to another level. I'm already plenty impressed with the accuracy, decision making, and other leadership stuff.
 

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I take mobile as more meaning having the capability to make things happen rather than a dedicated rush game.
Rogers is mobile, Wilson, Early career Favre, Elway, McNabb, Warren Moon until he got old, Jim Kelly, Alex Smith, Brunell, McNair, Cunningham lot of long top level careers there
I was being too coy with putting mobile in quote. I should have said “running QBs” — guys like Lamar and Kyler now, Cam and Vince and Michael Vick, 10-20 years ago. And others who were maybe a step below them. Guys for whom designed QB runs are key elements of the game plan. Not guys who can roll out and throw, not guys who can scramble for a few seconds to give their guys a chance to get open.
 

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I think there is also a difference between drafting a guy mid 1st to play for you and planning to commit to him long term on a big money second contract. Drafting a QB who can play well for you on a rookie deal is incredibly valuable. If he is able to shore up his weaknesses great, you might get a player worth investing a lot of money in long-term, if he isn't, you still got solid QB play for low money. What people are discussing is... long term what is his place in the NFL.
If the Patriots knew they were getting what they did in Mac, and also knew he wouldn't significantly improve his weaknesses, they'd obviously still draft him. They might do so not intending to give him a second deal. There is real value in drafting a guy with a high floor, even if it comes with a lower ceiling. What a QB needs to be a significant surplus value on a rookie deal is very different from what he needs to be to have surplus value on a second contract.
I hear you. My point is that they don't know what his ceiling is. Nobody does. He hasn't worked with a pro mechanics coach and is still a doughy 220# guy. Both of those things will change, which will add zip to his balls. What we don't know is how much.

And yes, they drafted him knowing that it's possible that he doesn't improve markedly but only incrementally. And luckily they have a few years to decide whether to throw big money at him.
 

luckiestman

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which will add zip to his balls.
Maybe a little. Until I see otherwise, I'm treating NFL arm strength like punching power. Some guys have it, some guys don't. You can be a great fighter without it but it's better to have it. than not.
 

luckiestman

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You can treat it that way, but it's simply not true.

Who are the best examples of weak-armed quarterbacks gaining substantial velocity? I know a lot of monster arms that couldn't play the position but don't know many guys who gained much arm strength. Brees might be an example but that was after a significant surgery.
 

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Who are the best examples of weak-armed quarterbacks gaining substantial velocity?
But does Mac really need to gain "substantial" velocity? Any improvement on his mechanics that helps him gain some zip, along with a route tree that accentuates his strengths would compensate for the "weakness," right? Or is that too simplistic?
 

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Who are the best examples of weak-armed quarterbacks gaining substantial velocity? I know a lot of monster arms that couldn't play the position but don't know many guys who gained much arm strength. Brees might be an example but that was after a significant surgery.
I don't think that anyone is talking about "weak-armed quarterbacks gaining substantial velocity".

QBs regularly gain some velocity from mechanical changes alone. A couple of MPH makes a huge difference, and guys do. Even Burrow and Herbert were reported to add a couple, and theirs were already quite good.

You're absolutely right that Mac's will never be elite. But he has some ceiling there.
 

luckiestman

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But does Mac really need to gain "substantial" velocity? Any improvement on his mechanics that helps him gain some zip, along with a route tree that accentuates his strengths would compensate for the "weakness," right? Or is that too simplistic?
I don't know if he needs to even gain anything to be a winning quarterback on a good team.
 

luckiestman

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I don't think that anyone is talking about "weak-armed quarterbacks gaining substantial velocity".

QBs regularly gain some velocity from mechanical changes alone. A couple of MPH makes a huge difference, and guys do. Even Burrow and Herbert were reported to add a couple, and theirs were already quite good.

You're absolutely right that Mac's will never be elite. But he has some ceiling there.

Ok, btw, this is very similar to punching power and speed.
 

slamminsammya

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Am I wrong in thinking the only reason the corner bit on the double move was because Mac did stare him down and pumped it to him?
I just rewatched at 0.25 speed. The timing of the pump is pretty weird, its actually before Agholor gets into the first move and the corner doesn't move at all - the corner slides to cut off the in actually at the precise moment Mac is releasing the ball.
 

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I just rewatched at 0.25 speed. The timing of the pump is pretty weird, its actually before Agholor gets into the first move and the corner doesn't move at all - the corner slides to cut off the in actually at the precise moment Mac is releasing the ball.
I did as well. My take was that Mac pumped to help sell the first move on Agholor's route, although as the video upthread mentioned, it was entirely unnecessary as the cornerback's eyes were on the receiver, not Mac.

I think the primary reasons that the throw was intercepted were because Mac (1) put too much air under it (allowing Hyde to cover all that ground) and (2) slightly underthrew it. It's obvious in hindsight that he should have put the throw where only Agholor could go get it. That being said, the pump was a secondary contributor by encouraging Hyde to shift his stance from inside leverage to the middle of the field to outside leverage toward the sideline.

I should also point out that it's very easy for me to make these pronouncements in hindsight from the comfort of my couch with plenty of time to watch the replay over and over at quarter speed.
 

Eddie Jurak

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I don’t know that I really buy that Brady added a ton of arm strength, so much as NE unleashed him as he gained knowledge of the system and showed competency. I mean, the best throw I’ve ever seen was in the first NYG SB loss, where Brady uncorked a pass from his own 13 yard line that hit Moss in the hands at the opposing 20. I mean, this is basically 6 years into his pro career, and that’s a freaking monster throw right on the money nearly 70 yards downfield. Even if you go back and watch some of Brady’s rookie year tape, he’s throwing 20-30 yard lasers on a pretty consistent basis. His arm strength was always head and shoulders above where Mac is now, so I don’t really think it’s a great comp.
Do you mean Brady's rookie year (2000) or 2001? Do you see the arm we know Brady to have in this little clip from 2000?

View: https://twitter.com/bostonsportsinf/status/1331962005083856898?s=20
 

BaseballJones

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I know they're different people and different players, but the Mac Jones - Joe Burrow comp is probably not a terrible one.

Size:
- Burrow: 6'4", 221 lbs
- Mac: 6'3", 217 lbs

(Very similarly-sized)

Last college season:
- Burrow (15-0, national champs): 76.3%, 5,671 yds, 10.8 y/a, 60 td, 6 int (that TD number is impossibly large)
- Mac (15-0, national champs): 77.4%, 4,500 yds, 11.2 y/a, 41 td, 4 int

(Both were ridiculously good their last years in college. Burrow got more yds and TD, but Mac had higher completion percentage and yards per attempt. I'd say Burrow's season was better, but Mac's is as close as you can get to it.)

Skill position teammates:
- Burrow: Justin Jefferson, Ja'Marr Chase, Thaddeus Moss, Terrance Marshall Jr, Clyde Edwards-Helaire
- Mac: DeVonta Smith, Jaylen Waddle, John Metchie, Najee Harris

(I mean, both guys had absolute ELITE skill players to work with. Hard to say which group is better, but I'd go with Burrow's, but not by much. Pretty incredible teams, both of them. I'd love to have seen 2019 LSU go up against 2020 Alabama.)

Scouting report:
- Burrow: Throws with great anticipation. Excellent accuracy. Very intelligent. Moves well within the pocket. Fearless under pressure. Doesn't possess elite arm strength, and of all his traits, arm strength considered his biggest weakness.
- Mac: Very intelligent. Exceptionally accurate. Savvy pocket passer, not a runner, but will take what's there on the ground as needed. Doesn't possess elite arm strength.

(So I mean, the scouting reports were pretty similar.)

First NFL season:
- Burrow (age 24): 65.3%, 2,688 yds, 6.7 y/a, 13 td, 5 int, 89.8 rating
- Mac (age 23): 67.6%, 3,801 yds, 7.3 y/a, 22 td, 13 int, 92.5 rating

(Burrow got hurt which cost him some games, but overall Mac's rookie season was a little better.)

First NFL season skill position teammates:
- Burrow: Tyler Boyd, Tee Higgins, AJ Green, Joe Mixon, Giovanni Bernard
- Mac: Meyers, Bourne, Henry, Agholor, Damien Harris, Jonnu Smith

(Obviously Burrow's skill position teammates improved dramatically when Chase came on board. But I'd still give him the edge in terms of talent around him his rookie year. Hopefully the Pats can make improvements this offseason.)

Now let's look at Burrow's progression from year 1 to year 2 in the NFL:

2020: 264-404 (65.3%), 2,688 yds, 6.7 y/a, 5.2 any/a, 13 td, (3.2%) 5 int (1.2%), 89.8 rating
2021: 366-520 (70.4%), 4,611 yds, 8.9 y/a, 7.4 any/a, 34 td (6.5%), 14 int (2.7%), 108.3 rating

What changed for Burrow?

1. Health. He was healthy this year instead of missing a bunch of games.
2. Experience. He had a year in the NFL under his belt, and that's huge.
3. Physical improvement. His arm strength and throwing power improved. Still not elite, but improved.
4. Ja'Marr Chase. Obviously adding a receiver of his caliber was ENORMOUS for Burrow's production. I bet it would do something similar for Mac.

Mac already had good health, though he may have been banged up some late in the season. Still, he played every game so that won't be an improvement - in fact, we can anticipate that area getting worse as he's bound to miss SOME time at some point. He definitely will benefit from experience. No doubt he'll be smarter and wiser and more NFL-acclimated going into year 2. I also believe he will improve physically. Arm strength should develop at least some. He will never have Pat Mahomes' arm, but he won't need to. He just needs to improve. And that last point...that's the big question mark. It's doubtful that NE will add someone like Chase to bolster the receiving corps. I mean, rookie year, Chase was elite. They could get Mac some upgrade somewhere possibly, but more likely, he's going to have to work with what he's got, which is a hell of a lot less than what Burrow currently has. So if Mac approximates Burrow's year 2 numbers next season with a much lesser set of skill position teammates, credit to Mac. I don't think he'll get there, but I do think he will improve on this year's numbers.

Assuming similar health to this year, I'd expect Mac to put up something like: 374-550 (68.0%), 4,200 yds, 7.6 y/a, 30 td, 10 int, 101.2 rating
 

jsinger121

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I know they're different people and different players, but the Mac Jones - Joe Burrow comp is probably not a terrible one.

Size:
- Burrow: 6'4", 221 lbs
- Mac: 6'3", 217 lbs

(Very similarly-sized)

Last college season:
- Burrow (15-0, national champs): 76.3%, 5,671 yds, 10.8 y/a, 60 td, 6 int (that TD number is impossibly large)
- Mac (15-0, national champs): 77.4%, 4,500 yds, 11.2 y/a, 41 td, 4 int

(Both were ridiculously good their last years in college. Burrow got more yds and TD, but Mac had higher completion percentage and yards per attempt. I'd say Burrow's season was better, but Mac's is as close as you can get to it.)

Skill position teammates:
- Burrow: Justin Jefferson, Ja'Marr Chase, Thaddeus Moss, Terrance Marshall Jr, Clyde Edwards-Helaire
- Mac: DeVonta Smith, Jaylen Waddle, John Metchie, Najee Harris

(I mean, both guys had absolute ELITE skill players to work with. Hard to say which group is better, but I'd go with Burrow's, but not by much. Pretty incredible teams, both of them. I'd love to have seen 2019 LSU go up against 2020 Alabama.)

Scouting report:
- Burrow: Throws with great anticipation. Excellent accuracy. Very intelligent. Moves well within the pocket. Fearless under pressure. Doesn't possess elite arm strength, and of all his traits, arm strength considered his biggest weakness.
- Mac: Very intelligent. Exceptionally accurate. Savvy pocket passer, not a runner, but will take what's there on the ground as needed. Doesn't possess elite arm strength.

(So I mean, the scouting reports were pretty similar.)

First NFL season:
- Burrow (age 24): 65.3%, 2,688 yds, 6.7 y/a, 13 td, 5 int, 89.8 rating
- Mac (age 23): 67.6%, 3,801 yds, 7.3 y/a, 22 td, 13 int, 92.5 rating

(Burrow got hurt which cost him some games, but overall Mac's rookie season was a little better.)

First NFL season skill position teammates:
- Burrow: Tyler Boyd, Tee Higgins, AJ Green, Joe Mixon, Giovanni Bernard
- Mac: Meyers, Bourne, Henry, Agholor, Damien Harris, Jonnu Smith

(Obviously Burrow's skill position teammates improved dramatically when Chase came on board. But I'd still give him the edge in terms of talent around him his rookie year. Hopefully the Pats can make improvements this offseason.)

Now let's look at Burrow's progression from year 1 to year 2 in the NFL:

2020: 264-404 (65.3%), 2,688 yds, 6.7 y/a, 5.2 any/a, 13 td, (3.2%) 5 int (1.2%), 89.8 rating
2021: 366-520 (70.4%), 4,611 yds, 8.9 y/a, 7.4 any/a, 34 td (6.5%), 14 int (2.7%), 108.3 rating

What changed for Burrow?

1. Health. He was healthy this year instead of missing a bunch of games.
2. Experience. He had a year in the NFL under his belt, and that's huge.
3. Physical improvement. His arm strength and throwing power improved. Still not elite, but improved.
4. Ja'Marr Chase. Obviously adding a receiver of his caliber was ENORMOUS for Burrow's production. I bet it would do something similar for Mac.

Mac already had good health, though he may have been banged up some late in the season. Still, he played every game so that won't be an improvement - in fact, we can anticipate that area getting worse as he's bound to miss SOME time at some point. He definitely will benefit from experience. No doubt he'll be smarter and wiser and more NFL-acclimated going into year 2. I also believe he will improve physically. Arm strength should develop at least some. He will never have Pat Mahomes' arm, but he won't need to. He just needs to improve. And that last point...that's the big question mark. It's doubtful that NE will add someone like Chase to bolster the receiving corps. I mean, rookie year, Chase was elite. They could get Mac some upgrade somewhere possibly, but more likely, he's going to have to work with what he's got, which is a hell of a lot less than what Burrow currently has. So if Mac approximates Burrow's year 2 numbers next season with a much lesser set of skill position teammates, credit to Mac. I don't think he'll get there, but I do think he will improve on this year's numbers.

Assuming similar health to this year, I'd expect Mac to put up something like: 374-550 (68.0%), 4,200 yds, 7.6 y/a, 30 td, 10 int, 101.2 rating
They probably won’t be able to find a Chase like player in the draft especially where they are picking but they could trade for someone like Calvin Ridley who would be a massive talent upgrade.
 

Eddie Jurak

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First NFL season:
- Burrow (age 24): 65.3%, 2,688 yds, 6.7 y/a, 13 td, 5 int, 89.8 rating
- Mac (age 23): 67.6%, 3,801 yds, 7.3 y/a, 22 td, 13 int, 92.5 rating

Now let's look at Burrow's progression from year 1 to year 2 in the NFL:

2020: 264-404 (65.3%), 2,688 yds, 6.7 y/a, 5.2 any/a, 13 td, (3.2%) 5 int (1.2%), 89.8 rating
2021: 366-520 (70.4%), 4,611 yds, 8.9 y/a, 7.4 any/a, 34 td (6.5%), 14 int (2.7%), 108.3 rating
So, if I was going to, with just a glance at these numbers, make the case for Burrow over Jones it would be this:

As a rookie, Burrow had an exceptionally low INT%, just 1.2%. His ratio of TD/INT was also quite good: 2.67.

In year 2, Burrow's INT% more than doubled (to 2.7%) but was still pretty reasonable. TD/INT ratio got a little worse: 2.41.

Rookie Mac had an INT% of 2.5% and a TD/INT ratio of 1.68. On a better team that Burrow's rookie year team.

I'm not sure how predictive taking care of the ball is, but it is the one striking difference between the two as rookies. Not because Mac was bad but because Burrow was excellent. Mac was tied for 18th in INT% (actually better than Burrow this year), whereas Burrow was actually 3rd in the league last year.

You might reply to this that one year, one stat is not enough to differentiate them, and you would be right.

But arguably the most notably postive stat on either player's line in Burrow's low INT% - nothing comparable for Mac.
 

BaseballJones

ivanvamp
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Oct 1, 2015
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Yeah Burrow was excellent taking care of the ball his rookie year. He's a terrific player. I think Mac's rookie year was better than Burrow's, but I don't think we'll see Mac make a leap as big as Burrow did from year 1 to year 2.

Also remember that Burrow is a year older than Mac - that is, he was a year older his rookie year than Mac was in *his* rookie year. One extra year of football and life experience matters at this stage of their careers. Not sure how big of a difference it makes, but it's not nothing.
 

DJnVa

Dorito Dawg
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Dec 16, 2010
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How often do NFL QBs significantly improve arm strength after they enter the NFL? I'd love to see it happen, it seems like Brady somehow did it.
Joe Burrow: Bengals’ Tyler Boyd on Joe Burrow: ‘Our hands are stinging a bit’ (usatoday.com)

And here's an interesting analysis coming out of the draft: Comprehensive study confirms Joe Burrow’s arm strength is fine - Cincy Jungle

Of the four quarterback prospects, Jordan Love has the strongest arm. With a maximum launch velocity that’s nearly equivalent to a 98 mile per hour fastball, he’s able to make some throws the other QBs cannot. While Tua Tagovailoa’s arm is a concern, he makes up for it with the quickest throwing motion I’ve ever analyzed — yes, it’s faster than Dan Marino’s. Joe Burrow, on the other hand, was in the middle of the pack for both arm strength and release time, but he’s the quickest decision maker.

If Mac can get the decision making down, the processing time, and add just a bit to the arm strength, like Burrow seemed to...well, we can see the huge leap Burrow took this year.
 
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CapeCodYaz

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Sep 24, 2020
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Yeah Burrow was excellent taking care of the ball his rookie year. He's a terrific player. I think Mac's rookie year was better than Burrow's, but I don't think we'll see Mac make a leap as big as Burrow did from year 1 to year 2.

Also remember that Burrow is a year older than Mac - that is, he was a year older his rookie year than Mac was in *his* rookie year. One extra year of football and life experience matters at this stage of their careers. Not sure how big of a difference it makes, but it's not nothing.
Burrow also has superior wide receivers compared to Mac
 

rodderick

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Why is no one talking about how Burrow was a rookie on an overall worse team with a worse defense, worse coaching and a worse running game? He had better receivers, but was also asked to do a lot more to carry the offense than Mac was in his first year. I mean, the guy averaged 40 attempts per game, that's 10 more than Mac.
 

BaseballJones

ivanvamp
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Oct 1, 2015
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Why is no one talking about how Burrow was a rookie on an overall worse team with a worse defense, worse coaching and a worse running game? He had better receivers, but was also asked to do a lot more to carry the offense than Mac was in his first year. I mean, the guy averaged 40 attempts per game, that's 10 more than Mac.
Worse overall team, 100%. Better skill players, probably. Do those things balance each other out? I'm not sure.
 

rodderick

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Worse overall team, 100%. Better skill players, probably. Do those things balance each other out? I'm not sure.
It's a lot harder to play quarterback when you're the one expected to move the ball and teams aren't really gearing up to stop the run.

Edit: forgot to specifically mention the Bengals OL last year, which was absolute garbage as well.
 
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BaseballJones

ivanvamp
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Oct 1, 2015
17,496
It's a lot harder to play quarterback when you're the one expected to move the ball and teams aren't really gearing up to stop the run.

Edit: forgot to specifically mention the Bengals OL last year, which was absolute garbage as well.
True. But also, throwing a ton is going to help your counting stats too. And lots of "garbage time" production, right? This cuts both ways.
 

lexrageorge

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Jul 31, 2007
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Mac also played 7 more games than Burrow’s 10 last season. Not sure how Burrow’s numbers would have changed, but he could have a rookie wall similar to Mac had he not gotten hurt.
 

Rudy's Curve

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I hate to say it because he's a franchise legend and would've been in the HOF before his injuries, but Green was probably the worst receiver in football last year and they gave him over 100 targets. He's rebounded to be acceptable in Arizona as it was a combination of still not being over the ankle injury that cost him the previous season and honestly playing disinterested at times. Obviously Chase's impact has been enormous, but even replacing Green with someone average would've gone a long way for Burrow.
 

DJnVa

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Dec 16, 2010
47,692
It's a lot harder to play quarterback when you're the one expected to move the ball and teams aren't really gearing up to stop the run.

Edit: forgot to specifically mention the Bengals OL last year, which was absolute garbage as well.
All true.

But speaking from the standpoint of Burrow being able to increase his arm strength, it's a valid target for Mac.
 

Rudy's Curve

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I watched most of the snaps Joe took last year. His OL was complete shit.
That's the understatement of the century and what made all the talking heads kill them for not taking Sewell. It didn't help that the coach was Jim Turner (he of Bullygate fame). There are hundreds of position coaches in the league and he very well might've been the worst. The Bengals' OL this year isn't exactly the Great Wall of Dallas, but it's considerably better than last year.
 
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Bergs

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Jul 22, 2005
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That's the understatement of the century and what made all the talking heads kill them for not taking Sewell. It didn't help that the coach was Jim Turner (he of Bullygate fame). There are hundreds of position coaches in the league and he very well might've been the worst. The Bengals' OL this year still isn't exactly the Great Wall of Dallas, but it's considerably better than last year.
Yep, and this is why looking at the stats on the back of a football card to make any judgments on Burrow's rookie year has led a lot of people - on the national stage as well as in several conversations here on SoSH - to essentially misrepresent him as a player.

He did overthrow too many deep balls last year. That no longer seems to be an issue, to put it mildly.