The talk of the New England Patriots drafting Alabama Crimson Tide star QB Mac Jones is becoming more prevalent.
The Patriots could take Jones at No. 15 or even in the second round if he slips. This is sensible considering the connection between Bill Belichick and legendary Alabama coach Nick Saban. Saban worked for Belichick while both were with the Cleveland Browns in the 1990s.
Also, the Patriots are obviously looking for a young QB they can build around.
If Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, and Justin Fields are all off the board, the Patriots may have a shot at taking North Dakota State’s Trey Lance, but it appears the top QB prospect who will be in range is Jones. While Jones is coming off a season that saw him help lead Bama to another national championship, which culminated in a 464-yard, 4-TD performance against Ohio State, he still comes with his share of warning signs.
Some are a little more troubling than others.
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Alabama QBs Have Been Notoriously Unsuccessful in the NFL
There is always a price to success.
Over the past 15 years, no college football program has had more success than Alabama. Subsequently, the Crimson Tide has turned out a seemingly endless list of NFL players and stars. Unfortunately, the QBs have not done well in the NFL.
If you take a look back to the beginning of Saban’s run with Bama, the QBs of his team have had disappointing NFL careers in relation to their level of college success.
Saban took over in Tuscaloosa back in 2007. John Parker Wilson was the starting QB. If you’re mostly an NFL fan and don’t pay a ton of attention to college football, and you’re saying “who is John Parker Wilson,” that essentially proves the point. JPW was a three-year starter with Bama with decent numbers (2,846 passing yards, 18 TDs), but he never played a down in the NFL after going undrafted.
Next, there was Greg McElroy. He was drafted in the 7th round after a strong senior season. He played one year with the Jets but started just one game.
AJ McCarron is arguably the most accomplished of the Bama quarterbacks who played under Saban. After a strong college career that saw him finish as the Heisman runner-up in 2013, he was drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals in the 5th round. Well, the fact that the Bengals just drafted Joe Burrow to be their franchise QB in 2020 should tell you all you need to know about the impact McCarron has made in the NFL.
He has played 7 seasons, starting just 4 games, and has bounced between three teams.
Blake Sims was the Bama starter in 2014. He went undrafted, had his position changed to RB, but still hasn’t played a down in a regular-season NFL game.
Jake Coker led the Tide to a national championship in 2015, went undrafted, and hasn’t played in the NFL. Jalen Hurts was the Bama starter for three seasons before transferring to Oklahoma as a senior.
He showed some flashes as a rookie, but not enough to convince the Philadelphia Eagles that they don’t need a QB out of the draft this year.
For some, like Hurts and Tua Tagovailoa, the jury is still out. However, we’re already hearing rumblings from Tagovailoa’s Miami Dolphins teammates that he may not have the talent to be a No. 1 QB in the NFL.
Again, every player is different, but this history isn’t a positive one for Jones.
Why Do Bama QBs Struggle in the NFL?
There are tons of theories, but it is no secret Tide QBs benefit from the amazing stock of talent at their disposal. Almost to a man, Bama has the most elite athletes at skill positions and some of the most dominant offensive lineman in the nation.
Saban’s ability to continually cycle the best high school talent in America through his program is spectacular. Oftentimes, it appears Bama QBs face a shock at the next level when the talent on their teams doesn’t blow away the competition the way it has on the college level.
They have traditionally been more facilitators and system QBs than franchise options. The Patriots don’t need a system QB. They need a difference-maker who can actually make receivers and tight ends better. Is that what Jones is, or is he another Bama QB product destined for mediocrity?
Finding out in Foxborough could be a gamble.
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