Alabama quarterback Mac Jones has gone from being the fifth Beatle to John Lennon. Well, maybe George Harrison. But he damn sure isn't Pete Best anymore.
Jones has enjoyed a sudden surge in draft hype over the last few days. It started with Alabama Heisman-winning wide receiver DeVonta Smith reportedly saying he would take Jones over Tua Tagovailoa to NFL teams and continued yesterday with former GM Mike Tannenbaum saying Jones would be drafted No. 8 overall. At worst.
That's in stark contrast to the initial draft projections for Jones. He was expected to be a first-round pick but was projected to go in the mid-teens and early-20s. Now he's a top-10 pick? At worst? Talk about draft momentum.
As a former GM, Tannenbaum's words hold weight. They also follow the trend of Jones' draft projections.
Todd McShay had Jones going No. 21 overall in his first mock draft right after the Super Bowl, but had him going No. 12 in his second mock in early February. Mel Kiper only has made one mock and had Jones going at the No. 15 overall pick in early February. More recently, Kiper said Jones, "helped himself Senior Bowl week."
While that's all interesting, Smith's comments raised eyebrows even more. Smith played with both quarterbacks, including catching the game-winning touchdown from Tagovailoa in overtime in the National Championship. Both were good for Smith's career. However, according to Albert Breer, "the question was barely finished before" Smith chose Jones over Tua when asked and Smith was, "bold and definitive about it." Tagovailoa was the No. 6 pick in last year's draft.
Jones remains firmly behind Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson in every draft grade and projection and will likely still be picked after Justin Fields and Trey Lance, too. But he's no longer the overlooked fifth quarterback on the board. He's moving up mock draft boards fast and is getting the support of former teammates and draft analysts alike. That will only increase as the draft nears and the buzz around Jones increases.