NFL Exec Says Alabama's Mac Jones 'Borderline Genius When It Comes to Football'

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistApril 19, 2021

Alabama quarterback Mac Jones celebrates after a touchdown by wide receiver DeVonta Smith during the first half of an NCAA College Football Playoff national championship game against Ohio State, Monday, Jan. 11, 2021, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
Lynne Sladky/Associated Press

As Mac Jones continues to generate buzz about potentially going as high as No. 3 in next week's NFL draft, league executives are raving about his football mind.

"He's as smart as advertised. I'd say borderline genius when it comes to football," one executive told Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated.

Jones parlayed one full season as Alabama's starting quarterback into becoming arguably the fastest-rising prospect in the 2021 draft class. Viewed by most as the fifth-ranked quarterback at the beginning of the draft process, Jones has quickly worked his way up boards and has been rumored as the favorite for the 49ers after they traded up to No. 3.

If Jones winds up in San Francisco, his smarts may be the biggest factor. Head coach Kyle Shanahan has perhaps the NFL's best schematic offensive mind, and his offense could soar with someone with Jones' acumen under center.

Senior Bowl executive director Jim Nagy raved about Jones' ability to quickly pick up new offensive terminology during a March appearance on SportsCenter:

"The usual two talking points with Mac Jones ... it was great to see him up close, and that's his intelligence and his accuracy. So you talk about those two things, what's going to make Mac a really good NFL starting quarterback is his ability to process information and take an NFL playbook, which he did in Mobile. That's difficult for a lot of quarterbacks, to come down here and spit out the verbiage, do all the things they need to do.

"But Mac is an old-school gym rat. We caught him a couple nights in the convention center studying tape after midnight, and the important thing is that carried over onto the field. He got on the field, he knew where to go with the ball and, most importantly, he put it where he needed to put it. I think those are the things that are going to make Mac a really good NFL starting quarterback."

Jones threw for 4,500 yards and 41 touchdowns against four interceptions in 2020, completing 77.4 percent of his passes. While Jones was surrounded by copious 5-star talent, including Heisman winner DeVonta Smith, he was an unquestioned on-field leader and blasted nearly every Alabama single-season passing record.

That should be enough to easily land him in the top 10 come next Thursday.