Who? Mac Jones.
The 49ers made waves last Friday, trading three first-round picks to the Dolphins to move up to No. 3 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft, presumably, to select a quarterback. But which quarterback?
Of the potential top-10 passers, Jones’ rise has been particularly intriguing, and now there’s an ample amount of smoke attaching the 49ers’ move-up to the Alabama QB.
NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah explained as much on Monday:
“The majority of people around the league believe this is for Mac Jones,” Jeremiah said on The Athletic’s Football Show podcast. “Of the people that you would want to believe and put your faith in, the overwhelming majority of them believe this is going to be Mac Jones with that pick. So that’s what’s so shocking.”
Jeremiah also said that the 49ers having gone through the pro days of Jones and Lance meant they were just about done in their evaluations of the two quarterbacks, leading to speculation that one of those two will be selected April 29.
He reaffirmed that on Monday’s “Rich Eisen Show”:
“Then you talk to the people in the know around the league, Rich, and they’re like, ‘I’m telling you, this is for the ‘Bama quarterback. This is not Trey Lance or Justin Fields, this is for Mac — this is for Mac Jones.'”
Adding to the intrigue, the 49ers’ top brass — head coach Kyle Shanahan GM John Lynch — are heading to Jones’ second pro day on Tuesday, rather than North Dakota State’s or BYU’s (this past Friday):
49ers coach Kyle Shanahan asked on going to Alabama Pro Day tomorrow, and not North Dakota State or BYU, says it was important for the team not to tip its hand before the trade was done.
“Now that you’re up at 3, you don’t have to hide as much.”
— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) March 29, 2021
NFL analyst Chris Simms (and best friend of Shanahan) also seems convinced that the Niners moved up for Jones, adding more fuel to the fire.
49ers-Dolphins…Kyle Shanahan trying to control his own fate. You trade up to 3 for a QB who is NFL-ready right now, not a project. And to me that says Mac Jones.
— Chris Simms (@CSimmsQB) March 26, 2021
There are as many as five — yes, five — top-10 passers this year: Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence, Ohio State’s Justin Fields, BYU’s Zach Wilson, North Dakota’s Trey Lance and Alabama’s Jones. Lawrence and Wilson are expected to go 1-2 to the Jaguars and Jets, respectively, leaving Jones, Lance and Fields on the board at No. 3.
Of those quarterbacks, some analysts consider Jones’ physical traits among the least desirable, with Lance and Fields the more gifted athletes altogether, leading to the surprise reports.
Still, it’s smokescreen season heading into the draft, so until Jones is holding up a San Francisco 49ers uniform, expect the rumors and conjecture to continue.