NFL Draft 2021: Is Mac Jones a potential top-10 pick?

Arkansas v Alabama
Arkansas v Alabama
Ross Bennellick

Alabama Crimson Tide QB Mac Jones is one of the most promising and most talked-about prospects heading into the 2021 NFL Draft (April 29 - May 1).

Jones enjoyed a fine pro day a fortnight ago, and that's despite the fact he didn't have either of his two premier receivers (and fellow 2021 draft prospects) DeVonta Smith or Jaylen Waddle out on the training ground with him to throw the ball to.

Jones' stock has risen significantly in recent weeks, and some analysts' April Mock Drafts have the Alabama talent going as high as the No.2 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. But is Mac Jones really worthy of a potential top 10 pick?

Let's take a look:

2021 NFL Draft prospect: Mac Jones

-- Height: 6' 2 5/8"

-- Weight: 217 pounds

-- College: Alabama

-- Hand size: 9 3/4"

What makes Alabama QB Mac Jones a potential top 10 pick at the 2021 NFL Draft?

CFP National Championship Presented by AT&T - Ohio State v Alabama
CFP National Championship Presented by AT&T - Ohio State v Alabama

During his freshman and junior years at college, Jones got stuck behind Alabama's former QB Tua Tagovailoa, who now plies his trade in the NFL for the Miami Dolphins, on the depth chart. Jones had to be patient and wait for his chance, which he got in 2019 when Tua went down with a nasty hip injury that ended his college playing career.

Mac Jones stepped in for the injured Tagovailoa and hasn't looked back since. The Florida native is composed under pressure, makes good decisions with the football, and proved his talents immediately, starting 4 games in place of the injured Hawaiian and posting a 3-1 record, including a 35-16 win over Michigan in the Citrus Bowl.

In that four-game stretch, Jones threw for 1,503-yards, 14 TDs, and just three picks, to close out the Crimson Tide's 2019 campaign.

With Tua drafted to the NFL as the No.5 overall pick in 2020, Jones found himself atop the QB depth chart in Alabama and has continued to impress: with the Florida native under center, the Crimson Tide lifted the College Football National Championship in 2020, with Jones leading all QBs for yards-thrown, tallying 4,500-yards. Jones was also the second-best ranked QB in college football for TDs, registering an incredible 41 TD passes on the year.

Does Mac Jones have any weaknesses?

Alabama v Auburn
Alabama v Auburn

As good a year as Jones had in Alabama, there are still a few areas of concern for draft scouts: first, Jones' arm strength has been questioned by many analysts in recent weeks; though, personally, I thought he was throwing the ball nice and deep during his pro day.

Secondly, some scouts feel that Jones plays simple, safe, effective football but that he lacks the athleticism required to be a real game-changer in the NFL, and that his lack of pace and subsequent inability to get outside of the pocket to escape the oncoming rush could lead to him being a limited pocket presence once he inevitably makes his debut in the professional game.

Like contemporaries Justin Fields and Trey Lance, some NFL scouts fear that Jones' inexperience could cost him, too. As mentioned, Jones was stuck behind QB Tagovailoa on the depth chart at Alabama for more than half of his college career and, as such, hasn't been out on the turf for the number of snaps some teams' draft scouts might prefer.

The final slur being thrown in Jones' direction is that he was made to look better than he is by Alabama's outstanding receiving duo of Jaylen Waddle and DeVonta Smith (Heisman award winner); both of whom are expected to join Jones as first-round draft picks at this year's showcase event.

That being said, both Waddle and Smith have spoken on the record about how they preferred playing with Jones in the pocket than they did Tagovailoa, who was drafted early doors last year, so if Taigovailoa was 2020's No.5 overall pick, why shouldn't Jones go in the top 10? It's entirely possible.

Conclusion: Is Mac Jones worth a top 10 pick at the 2021 NFL Draft?

Based on Mac Jones's stats alone, he is absolutely worth a top 10 pick, in my opinion at least.

Sure, a few concerns are lingering over the championship-winning QB, but you don't throw for 4,500-yards and 41 TDs unless you know how to play the QB position well, as Jones clearly does.

He might not be the best QB at this year's draft -- that honor goes to Trevor Lawrence -- but five or six teams are looking for a new franchise QB and, for my money, Jones goes off the board in the top 10.

What do you think? Is Mac Jones worthy of a top 10 pick at the 2021 NFL Draft, or are we all getting wrapped up in the hype? Have your say in the comments section below:

Edited by Prem Deshpande
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