After trading up into the top three, the San Francisco 49ers might have allowed fans to know who they’re drafting.
For four seasons, Kyle Shanahan’s quarterback was assigned by the team. In 2021, he’ll make the call on which signal-caller best fits his system.
Last week, the Miami Dolphins traded the No. 3 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft to the San Francisco 49ers in exchange for three first-round picks and their third-round selection in 2021. Moving that far up doesn’t mean the Jimmy Garoppolo-led offense will be adding one of the top pass-catchers in the country.
Shanahan will finally be getting his quarterback. Who is it? On Monday, he might have hinted what direction they are leaning.
As reported by Albert Breer of the MMQB, Shanahan will be headed to Tuscaloosa, Alabama to watch Crimson Tide gunslinger Mac Jones at his second Pro Day. Why is this a big deal? Ohio State’s Justin Fields will also be throwing around the same time.
When speaking to reporters, Shanahan said they no longer “had to hide who they are interested in.”
Is Jones the right fit for Shanahan’s system?
As the biggest riser in the draft class for 2021, Jones now enters serious conversation to be a top-three selection. Most consider him as the fifth-best quarterback in the class, but a look at Shanahan’s past quarterbacks could indicate why he would lean in that direction.
San Francisco still could be interested in going after Fields, the two-year starter who faced Jones and the Crimson Tide last January in Miami for the national title. Assistant GM Adam Peters will go to Columbus to watch the former Buckeye strut his stuff.
The 49ers also could look at North Dakota State’s Trey Lance, who has been mocked recently to the team following his Pro Day earlier this month.
Jones is coming off a highlight season in which he passed for 4,500 yards and 41 touchdowns against four interceptions. Against the Buckeyes, he threw for 464 passing yards and five touchdowns on the way to victory and the school’s 18th title.
Jones is an extremely accurate pocket passer who fits Shanahan’s ideal fit under center. However, as the league becomes more mobile, Shanahan might be looking for someone who can maneuver outside the pocket. And with Garoppolo expected to be “the guy” for 2021, drafting a younger name to learn from him could benefit San Francisco.
For now, Shanahan’s past makes it look like Jones will be the future in the bay. Expect mock drafts to be changing up in the next few weeks to a consensus at No. 3.