The Michael McCorkle "Mac" Jones Thread

IdiotKicker

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Nov 21, 2005
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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.
Agree. I think we would do much better if we moved from box score scouting and comparing stats to actual evaluation of a player. There are a few passing stats that I think translate well (INT%, AY/A), but other than that, comparing yardage, completion percentage, TDs, or basically any other stat is a exercise in comparing two different offenses playing in different game situations that tells us very little about the actual passer and his ability.
 
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Gash Prex

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Apr 18, 2002
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when did the footwork on his dropbacks change? It is stark to see those massive galloping steps he takes there.

That throw to the outside does look weak to me.
You can see his mechanics are a mess (footwork and throwing) - and that's his rookie year. Imagine if he played a full season immediately with those mechanics slinging it off helmets on short passes.

Tom put the work in every year to improve and learn from BB. Mac has the same opportunity.
 

Cellar-Door

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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
I would also note...
Mac had a good O-line and running game, Burrow had an absolute trainwreck O-line and running game. Last year it was TERRIBLE in both run and pass blocking. This year it's still bad in pass blocking, but improved in run blocking, which has made them a bit more balanced and helped Burrow.
 

BaseballJones

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Oct 1, 2015
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I would also note...
Mac had a good O-line and running game, Burrow had an absolute trainwreck O-line and running game. Last year it was TERRIBLE in both run and pass blocking. This year it's still bad in pass blocking, but improved in run blocking, which has made them a bit more balanced and helped Burrow.
Yes that’s been pointed out. I think you take all that into consideration and I think Mac’s rookie year was better than Burrow’s. But that’s not even my point. My point is that they’re pretty comparable players for all the reasons I listed. I’m hoping Burrow’s improvement shows that Mac can improve too.
 

Cellar-Door

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Yes that’s been pointed out. I think you take all that into consideration and I think Mac’s rookie year was better than Burrow’s. But that’s not even my point. My point is that they’re pretty comparable players for all the reasons I listed. I’m hoping Burrow’s improvement shows that Mac can improve too.
I think they are vaguely comparable, but I don't think any of those stats are why. Stats aren't a particularly good way to compare the future growth of QBs at all.

Burrow is a comp to me in that he is similarly sized and while he had a better arm in college he's not a really big arm guy. I think if Mac can make a similar addition to velocity through mechanics it would greatly increase his ceiling, though he'd still probably have less zip on the ball than Burrow.
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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It’s impossible to parse out but how much of a rookie QB’s struggles are generally related to being on crappy teams? And how much of normal improvement and growth related to improvement of teammates as teams mature? If you swap Lawrence and Jones, how would they have performed?

I’m generally a baseball fan first and it seems like measuring performance is a lot simpler than in football where the actions of your teammates are going to impact your own stats much more.
 

rodderick

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Apr 24, 2009
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Yes that’s been pointed out. I think you take all that into consideration and I think Mac’s rookie year was better than Burrow’s. But that’s not even my point. My point is that they’re pretty comparable players for all the reasons I listed. I’m hoping Burrow’s improvement shows that Mac can improve too.
Burrow had really good off script skills in college. He's comparable to Mac in terms of straight line speed and arm strength, but he's a much more aggressive, inventive type of QB.