2021 NFL Draft: Buccaneers need to stay far away from QB Mac Jones
By Rob Leeds
The Buccaneers need a quarterback that fits the mold more than Mac Jones
The main reason why the previously-mentioned quarterbacks are starting to fail at higher rates is the inability of NFL teams to properly evaluate the changing nature of the position in the NFL. Nowadays, quarterbacks need two things above all else physically; athleticism and a strong arm.
Trubisky is athletic, but his arm is weak. Benched. Haskins had a strong arm but next to no athleticism. New team. Daniel Jones has decent ability outside of the numbers, but would anyone say that he has a strong arm? Give that one another year or so.
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The top quarterbacks in the NFL show dominance in both areas. Patrick Mahomes, Russell Wilson, Deshaun Watson, Aaron Rodgers, Dak Prescott, and even Kyler Murray can find plenty of success based on these two physical traits. Mac Jones is missing both.
Jones looks like an early 2000s quarterback physically. Tall, full-bodied, almost as if Ben Roethlisberger took care of himself half of the time. Would anyone actually characterize Jones as an athlete, though? Highly unlikely.
Speed outside of the pocket isn’t everything. Tom Brady just won a Super Bowl with limited mobility, while Lamar Jackson is still searching for more playoff success. The arm clearly matters too.
Brady, much like a man half his age, was whipping the ball around this season. Clearly, there was no issue with arm strength, and the deep ball fell as well as any other quarterback in the league. Unfortunately for Jones, his athleticism is closer to Brady than to the other top quarterbacks, but his arm is more like a Jimmy Garoppolo or Kirk Cousins (both of whom are more athletic than Jones). The physical traits just aren’t there.
Jones popped in Alabama primarily due to the best receiver corps in college football. Devonta Smith won the Heisman and carried Jones to a finalist, not the other way around.
Even if Jones’ arm was stronger, the Buccaneers have no business investing picks in the “old-age” quarterbacks. Monoliths in the backfield will become a thing of the past in the next few years. Even if they still find some success from time to time in the modern NFL, the slow, big-armed options are not in the top-5 amongst quarterbacks, and hardly any are even in the top-10.
While Jones could pan out with a perfect system down the road, it seems more likely that we will ask ourselves, “why did he go so high,” rather than “why did he go so late” due to his physical limitations and off-field issues.
The coming months will be telling, but the Bucs should be the team to roll the dice during a year like this.
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