We now have less than a month until the 2021 NFL Draft begins, and the drama really starts when you get down to the No. 3 pick. The San Francisco 49ers made a massive trade up to that spot, with most figuring they are taking a quarterback from the group of Justin Fields, Trey Lance, and Mac Jones.
All three players have their supporters for that pick. The one who may have the most momentum right now, though, is Jones. Coming off of his incredible 2020 season, he’s been steadily climbing draft boards, and some believe he can be the Matt Ryan or Kirk Cousins type in 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan’s offense. Fields and Lance are the more dynamic athletes and playmakers.
It all depends on how Shanahan wants his offense to look. Jones is a true pocket passer, who thrived behind an incredible offensive line, with some of the best weapons in college football last year. DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle are both potential Top 10 picks at wide receiver, and Najee Harris may be the top running back off the board.
Todd McShay is now aboard the Mac Jones-train though. In his latest ESPN mock draft, he has the 49ers taking the Alabama quarterback.
— Get Up (@GetUpESPN) April 1, 2021
McShay says that he’s “hearing a lot of noise” about the team preferring Jones at that spot. The 49ers sent their top personnel to Alabama, and not Ohio State, which had its Pro Day at the same time, which felt pretty telling. The team says it will see Justin Fields during the process, but it is hard to ignore all of the Mac Jones talk out there right now.
McShay’s colleague, Domonique Foxworth, says he won’t believe that Jones is the pick until it happens. He went on quite the rant during this morning’s Get Up after McShay’s new mock draft dropped.
“I have imagined in my mind a Kyle Shanahan offense with Justin Fields, Brandon Aiyuk, (Raheem) Mostert, (George) Kittle, and that dominant offensive line. And I have to imagine Kyle Shanahan sees that and gets excited. Imagine Justin Fields on the edge with George Kittle in man coverage against a linebacker.
“No disrespect to Mac Jones, but he’s not scaring people in that way… Criticism of Justin Fields is about his ability to process, I’m not sure how much processing Mac Jones had to do. When you showed that top 10, there were three names in there from Alabama that were not Mac Jones!”
Only the 49ers know which way they’re looking for sure. There will be no shortage on debate about these quarterbacks leading up to the first round of the NFL Draft on April 29.