Alabama (6-0) vs. Auburn (5-2)
3:30 PM ET
True story: I’ve never seen Jones play. Not a single snap. So I’ll be interested look at him in this high pressure scenario. At this stage, should he declare for the NFL Draft, he’s profiling at the back end of the first round / top of the second round. In other words, he’s profiling as someone the Bears could be considering.
NFL Draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. appeared Saturday on SEC Nation and raved over Jones’ ability as a passer. However, the number of overall starts could be a factor within NFL circles, much like former Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins’ one-year wonder of a season two years ago which helped him go in the opening round to Washington.
“He’s spectacular, Laura (Rutledge), you think about 78.5%, 16 touchdowns, two picks. He’s got all of that talent around him, yes he does,” Kiper said. “But Jaylen Waddle is now hurt. He’s without that great receiver opposite DeVonta Smith. I think his deep-ball accuracy is phenomenal, his poise, his confidence right now directing that Alabama offense.
“Now, six-career starts this year, four last year, 10 total. You want that number higher than that. He’s going to end up with 16 after this year is over. Remember Mitchell Trubisky, 13, Mark Sanchez 16? That’s the issue. Career starts only around 16, will he go back to Alabama to try to get more of those, more experience? We’ll see.”
Several quarterbacks are expected to be selected ahead of Jones in the 2021 NFL Draft if he comes out as a junior, according to most mocks. But Jones is gaining ground, Kiper notes.
“Now he’s in that Top 25 in terms of the big board,” Kiper said. “Sixteen career starts is going to be something people will factor in , but if he keeps lighting it up, he’s right around 80% right now.
“If he keeps putting up the numbers he has been putting up, I think he’s in the late-first round discussion. Maybe a little higher than that.”