The Chicago Bears quarterback question is going to dominate every offseason discussion until a resolution is reached. Fans are left waiting with nothing to do but speculate. Who is it going to be? Deshaun Watson, Dak Prescott, Derek Carr are unrealistic. Sam Darnold, Marcus Mariota, and Jameis Winston are significant risks. Going back to Mitch Trubisky feels unlikely. This is why conversations about the draft have picked up with Alabama’s Mac Jones looking like their most realistic. This isn’t popular among a lot of people. His favorite receiver DeVonta Smith might make you reconsider.
Keep this in mind. Football players are trained early on to keep their comments to the media as carefully as possible. Nobody wants to incite scandal or controversy. So when a player steps out of that safety zone? It’s worth talking about. That is what Smith did at the Senior Bowl according to Albert Breer of the MMQB when he put Jones over huge.
“One team asked Smith, point blank: Tua Tagovailoa or Jones? The question was barely finished before Smith answered: Mac Jones. He was bold and definitive about it, as I heard it. And of course, it’s logical to some degree. Jones was Smith’s quarterback for his historic, 117-catch, 1,856-yard, 23-touchdown season. But to me, it’s notable because it feels almost like Jones is going to have to answer for Tagovailoa’s so-so rookie year, in that both guys had an obscene amount of talent (headlined by a better receiver group than probably a handful of NFL teams) around them.”
Understand that this sort of thing is rare.
Usually, a receiver would sidestep such a question, indicating his love for both players. Remember that Smith caught passes from Tagovailoa for two seasons in 2018 and 2019. So for him to say with such conviction that he prefers Jones? That is a testament to his confidence in the quarterback. Another reminder of why some people might be underestimating how high the Alabama standout could go.
Primary concerns about Jones center on his overall ceiling. In terms of size, arm strength, and mobility? There is nothing special about him. He can best be classified as “fine” across the board. His special traits seem to center around intangibles. He’s intelligent, sees the field well, makes good decisions, and throws a consistently accurate ball. Is that enough to justify a 1st round pick? Depends on who you ask.
DeVonta Smith is biased but his words still carry weight
It’s no secret he doesn’t win the Heisman Trophy in 2020 without the special bond he shared with Jones. They dominated defenses together and finished winning a national championship. Showing favoritism is fine. Yet to come right out and basically say Jones is better than Tagovailoa who just went 5th overall in the draft last year? That is difficult to ignore.
When thinking about Jones as a prospect, he doesn’t blow you away. At the same time, his positives align perfectly with what Bears head coach Matt Nagy seems to prioritize at the quarterback position. He wants somebody with football intelligence, can diagnose defenses and can throw the ball on time and with accuracy. Something Trubisky just never seemed to grasp.
Maybe it’s time to try the other side of the spectrum.
Then again it’s not like the Bears have a choice. Jones may be the only realistic quarterback they can get in this draft and he may go in the top 10 along with the other four popular names. This means they still have to trade up for him. Are they prepared to do that? DeVonta Smith seems to think they should be. The risk is worth the reward in his mind.