Ohio State's Justin Fields and BYU's Zach Wilson had games cancelled this weekend, but there was plenty of encouraging quarterback play in their absence. Two SEC quarterbacks continued their surprisingly efficient and effective seasons while Trevor Lawrence took another step towards becoming the No. 1 overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Here are some of the notable performances from the quarterback position this weekend:
Mac Jones, Alabama
Jones is a successful passer in the structure that has been provided to him. Alabama is flush with talent at every position. The Crimson Tide have an advantage within each position group, but it was the same for Tua Tagovailoa. Tagovailoa has found some early success in the NFL so the same luxury should not be held against Jones.
Jones rarely has to work off his first read. The Florida native's footwork in the pocket can improve, but he does a good job of sensing pressure and climbing the pocket. One of his five touchdown passes was relatively easy considering Devonta Smith had about a dozen yard cushion but also made some spectacular throws like this one:
Jones dropped it perfectly in the bucket down the boundary to wide receiver John Metchie III from 26-yards out. The quarterback finished the Iron Bowl having completed 18-of-26 passes for 302 yards, five touchdowns and zero interceptions.
Trevor Lawrence, Clemson
Even with Jaylen Twyman opting out before the start of the season, Pittsburgh has some talent along the defensive line. Panthers defensive coordinator Randy Bates was diverse with his blitzes, but it never phased Lawrence. He stood in the face of pressure and delivered quick, accurate passes at every level of the field. Although it was called back, Lawrence delivered a dime down the right sideline to diving wide receiver Amari Rodgers, who has made one big play after another for the Tigers.
He completed 26-of-37 passes for 403 yards and two touchdowns. The Georgia native could have been the No. 1 overall selection without attempting another pass this season. His play is elevating those around him and that could lead to millions of dollars for wide receivers Cornell Powell and Rodgers.
As things stand, the Jets hold the No. 1 overall selection. It would be a surprise if they did not make him the top pick in April. At 6-foot-6, 220 pounds, Lawrence has surprising mobility that enables him to extend plays and drives.
Kellen Mond, Texas A&M
Mond is a player who had started to alter the narrative surrounding a career of inconsistent play. The senior from Texas has good mobility and had displayed improved play in 2020. The Aggies are ranked No. 5 in the nation following a 6-1 start. Texas A&M survived against LSU, 20-7, but it was a challenging performance from Mond.
The quarterback completed 32% of his passes for 105 yards. The list of second tier quarterback prospects has expanded in recent months and Mond had an opportunity to distinguish himself among that group because of his athleticism. Saturday's performance created more questions than answers.
Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh
Pickett is a pocket passer first with the ability to get a few yards on the ground when the pocket breaks down. He has average mobility for the position. The Clemson defense is an unsurmountable mountain for a team that cannot match up physically. There are four interceptions on Pickett's record from this game, but not all were created equally. One pass was deflected into the air at the line of scrimmage and one pass went through the hands of his wide receiver. On the flea flicker interception, Pickett was trying too hard to make a play. There was no play there to be made in double coverage. Despite all of the hits that the senior received, he kept getting back up and taking the next snap.
There is a lot to like about his game. He completed 22-of-39 passes for 209 yards, two touchdowns and four interceptions in a 17-52 defeat.
Kyle Trask, Florida
Trask was facing a favorable matchup against a depleted Kentucky team this weekend. The Gators had just one score before Kadarius Toney returned a punt for a touchdown in the final minute. The Trask to Kyle Pitts connection was alive and well, however. All three of the senior quarterback's touchdowns went to the tight end. Trask does a great job of throwing with touch and he gives his skill players a chance to make plays. There were a few throws into tight coverage, but Pitts made the catch for his quarterback. Trask completed 21-of-27 passes for 256 yards and zero interceptions.
Nearly one-quarter of Trask's pass attempts have been on Go routes this season and he has performed well above average on those plays, according to truMedia Stats. In fact, the quarterback has been average or above average on every route with the exception of intermediate and deep throws to the boundary.
Some projections have included Trask in the first round. With limited mobility, it is difficult envisioning a scenario where he is taken earlier than late Day 1.