Nick Saban explains why NFL teams will ‘fall in love’ with Mac Jones after a strong Pro Day workout

Mac Jones having fun at Reese's Senior Bowl
Vasha Hunt - USA TODAY Sports

His throwing ability did not drop jaws in Tuesday’s Pro Day at the University of Alabama, but Mac Jones knows there is more to playing quarterback in the National Football League than having a rocket for an arm.

He did, however, record a solid workout for NFL teams and media personnel.

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Despite not being known for athleticism, Jones executed a 32″ vertical and showed some emotion after it. The 6-foot-3, 214-pounder displayed his hops, but his 40-time was more surprising. Jones has often been compared to Tom Brady, but the 2020 College Football Playoff National Champion has more speed. He was projected to run a 4.80, but the majority of pro scouts clocked him between 4.79 and 4.85 seconds. Some had him at 4.82 seconds and the slowest speed at 4.86 seconds, but his time was strong nonetheless. When it came to him executing passes, Jones had his performance from the Senior Bowl with him.

He did not throw to DeVonta Smith or Jaylen Waddle, but he made Joshua McMillon, Miller Forristall, Carl Tucker, Slade Bolden, and Xavier Williams look good. Jones had a mixture of short to intermediate routes, but then he also showed off his patented deep ball too. He proved to the NFL audience that he can roll out the pocket, avoid pressure, shuffle his feet, and still hit on balls downfield. He ripped passes with timing and had one overthrow on 40 attempts. According to Daniel Jeremiah of NFL Network, he said Jones looked ‘very comfortable, very smooth, and very poised’ throughout his workout at the Tide’s pro day.

Nick Saban has had a few talented quarterbacks at Alabama, but the 69-year-old head coach really likes Jones.

A native of Jacksonville, Fla., Jones helped Saban secure the seventh national title of his coaching tenure. During an interview with reporters from NFL Network, Coach Saban discussed the qualities NFL teams will love about Jones.

“I think you are going to fall in love with a guy who is a hard worker,” Saban said. “He [Mac Jones] is a good leader. The guy is very committed to being the best player that he can be. He’s smart. He is going to know the offense inside and out. He makes quick decisions. He has great judgment and he is very accurate with the ball. So, I think it is the combination of those things that will make him a fine player at the next level.”

Jones is projected to be taken between Nos. 8 and 15 in the first round of the NFL Draft. He worked with the Carolina Panthers’ coaching staff at the Senior Bowl, and the New England Patriots need a long-term answer at quarterback.

RELATED: How fast can DeVonta Smith run in the 40-yard dash? Fans may never know

Most do not see Jones dropping below the Patriots at 15.

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Stephen M. Smith is the managing editor and senior writer for Touchdown Alabama Magazine.  You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @CoachingMSmith.

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