Count Tagovailoa as the Latest to Compare Mac Jones to Tom Brady
It's nothing new for Crimson Tide NFL draft prospects to be polarizing. "Bama Fatigue" is real, and it's set into the minds of many a draft nerd. Understandable as it may be to those who watch the Crimson Tide the closest, it's never a popular opinion to compare incoming rookies to Hall of Fame caliber players.
It wasn't for Tua Tagovailoa with comparisons to Drew Brees and Russell Wilson following him into the 2020 NFL Draft.
It hasn't been for Mac Jones with comparisons to Tom Brady this go around.
Tagovailoa himself is the latest to compare Jones to the seven-time Super Bowl champion.
“I would say he’s a sly kind of athletic person,” Tagovailoa said on a Yahoo! Sports podcast. “He’s a more mobile Tom Brady. He’s very athletic I would say, he's very smart too.”
Tagovailoa went on to praise Jones's personality and leadership skills.
No doubt, I and many other Crimson Tide fans agree with the comparison. I contend that I was one of the first to make the comparison during the 2020 Heisman Trophy finalist campaign of the most accurate quarterback in Crimson Tide history, though I was, and still am, hesitant to do so.
Regardless, it's become difficult not to compare Jones to Brady. They both have average arm strength but display pin point accuracy all over the field. Neither is particularly lethal as a scrambler but stand tall and confident in the pocket with smart feet to buy just enough time from rushing defenders.
The comparison problems reside from the pressure Jones would be under to achieve the same levels of success as Brady, which isn't fair or feasible. Regardless of anyone's opinions of Brady, he's the most accomplished player in NFL history.
Tagovailoa joins ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr., as the latest to make the comparison.
“I hate to say, but he kind of has a little bit of Brady in him,” Kiper said, via Mike Reiss of ESPN. “I’m not saying he’s ever going to be Tom Brady. He wouldn’t be close, probably. But he has that competitiveness, and he’s so smart — he picked that offense up [at the Senior Bowl] like it was nothing. Other quarterbacks were struggling with the verbiage and — ‘boom!’ — he was in and out of the huddle quicker than anybody I’ve ever seen.
“Then he sees the field. He’s tremendously accurate to all levels. He doesn’t have the ‘wow’ arm, like Brady didn’t either coming into the league. And like Brady, he’s not real mobile, not a runner. But biding time, slipping and sliding, he did it in the championship game. So there are some similarities there.”
One thing Jones is quite different from Brady is his NFL draft status. While Brady will always be remembered for being the 199th pick in the 2000 NFL Draft, Jones is a sure-fire first-rounder at this point.
In each of their respective and most recent mock drafts, the top NFL draft analysts have Jones in the first round.
- Mel Kiper Jr.: 8th Overall to the Carolina Panthers
- Todd McShay: 12th Overall to the Chicago Bears
- Daniel Jeremiah: 28th Overall to the New Orleans Saints
- Matt Miller: 21st Overall to the Indianapolis Colts (before the Carson Wentz trade)
It's one thing to be compared to the greatest of all time, it's another situation entirely when that style of play is being phased out of the league.
The NFL has been trending toward more athletic quarterbacks with stronger arms to out maneuver the blazing fast defenses of today's game.
Still, Tom Brady may be one of the last of his kind, he's still the most recent Super Bowl champion and MVP of the game. Who knows, maybe the trends have it wrong, and Jones can be the one to take the torch from Brady.
After all, in a league where none of the 22 first-round quarterbacks taken between 2009 and 2016 remain with the team that drafted them and only one first rounder drafted since 2009 has won a Super Bowl (Patrick Mahomes,) the league itself hasn't fully figured this draft thing out.