Mac Jones is expected to be the No. 3 overall pick to the San Francisco 49ers on Thursday night. If that happens, it will be the second consecutive NFL draft in which an Alabama quarterback goes in the top 5.
Right now, there are also two NFL starting QBs who can trace their roots back to Alabama: Jalen Hurts and Tua Tagovailoa.
Jalen Hurts earned a second-round draft selection after finishing his career at Oklahoma. Prior to his short, one-year stint in Norman, the Texas native spent three seasons with the Crimson Tide, two of them as the starter.
However, he lost his starting gig to freshman sensation Tagovailoa in the 2018 National Championship game. Tagovailoa had a solid career at Alabama, but a severe hip injury forced him to miss most of his final season in Tuscaloosa.
So which of these three former Alabama signal-callers ends up having the best NFL career?
Jonathan Hutton, one of the co-hosts for OutKick 360, posed this question to Clay Travis this morning on OutKick the Coverage. Since all three quarterbacks could start in 2021, we may have our answer sooner rather than later.
Here was Clay’s response:
“I think you have to go Mac Jones,” he said. “I think the uncertainty of how he might do relative to what we saw from Jalen Hurts and from Tua makes me more optimistic in Mac Jones because I’m just not super optimistic based on what we saw in their first seasons.
“So I think if you were having to make a wager on which of those three is going to have the more productive NFL career, I would go with Mac Jones right now.”
It’s an interesting debate.
Situation matters, and Jones will certainly find himself in a good situation if he lands in San Francisco. It’s extremely rare for a player to go in the top 3 and land with a team that’s already set up for immediate success.
First off, the offensive line is one of the best in the NFL. Re-signing Trent Williams and adding Alex Mack bolstered the unit, and it should be able to keep a pocket-passer such as Jones adequately protected.
They also have weapons in the passing game. George Kittle, Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk can all create after the catch, giving Jones plenty of opportunities to turn short, safe passes into big gains early in his career.
Plus Coach Kyle Shanahan has a top offensive mind, as well as a formidable complementary defense set up to help a young quarterback out. In other words, there’s a lot to like about the 49ers and Jones’ potential for immediate and long-term success there.
Hurts doesn’t have that luxury with the Philadelphia Eagles right now, but Tagovailoa and Miami have at least some hope. Though Tua didn’t have an adequate supporting cast in his first season, the Dolphins signed Will Fuller V, Matt Skura in the offseason and plan to use their abundant draft capital to add more pieces.
But for now, Clay is absolutely right.
The unknown with Jones is key, especially when you think about his potential success if he does end up going No. 3 overall. It doesn’t mean he’s guaranteed to be the most successful of the three, but he is the safest option at this point in time.
Make sure to check out the podcast of that interview that will be posted later today.
Follow Clint Lamb on Twitter @ClintRLamb.
OutKick and FanDuel have teamed up to offer free money on the NFL Draft. The rules are simple: if new users bet $5 on Trevor Lawrence to go first overall, and he “does,” they will win back $100. By “does,” we mean “when he does.”