For the past week, ESPN’s Adam Schefter has doubled and tripled down on Mac Jones going to the San Francisco 49ers at No. 3 overall. On ESPN Radio Tuesday morning, Schefter quadrupled down, saying that he’d be shocked, again, if Mac Jones wasn’t the pick at No. 3.
The betting odds on Fox and Fan Duel would suggest that Jones is the selection, but those same odds had Matthew Stafford as a lock to go the Niners the night before he was traded to the Rams. Plus, Schefter and all of the national media and beat writers have been in the dark about the Niners’ moves.
Schefter has said this offseason that he’d be shocked if Sam Darnold wasn’t the starter in New York next year. He also said the Jets would receive at least a first-round pick for Darnold. All that is to say, these guys are not 100% when it comes to their predictions.
Mac Jones, QB, Alabama
I see Jones as very similar to Matt Ryan, whom Kyle Shanahan had a lot of success within his Atlanta days. He is an accurate thrower and processes quickly, and I think he’s a better mover than most give him credit. And I love his closing statement on the 2020 season, throwing 14 touchdowns over his last three games en route to a national title. North Dakota State’s Trey Lance was also in the mix, but it’s too risky for my blood to trade all those picks to move up this high to invest in a quarterback who played just one game since 2019 and zero in his career against FBS competition.
One thing to know: In 2020, Jones led the FBS with 4,500 passing yards and set the NCAA all-time mark for completion percentage (77.4%).
Pick 3 San Francisco 49ers
Alabama · QB
I’m not surprised San Francisco traded up to No. 3. I am surprised that everything you hear points toward Jones being the Niners’ pick at No. 3.
Mac Jones, QB, Alabama
The Niners sacrificed first-rounders over the next two years and then some to skip the line. Which player did they do it for? Coach Kyle Shanahan surely has his guy in mind already, and it’s going to be a QB — teams don’t make these types of massive early deals for non-QBs. I’m hearing a lot of noise about Jones being the 49ers’ preference. He is accurate and reads the field so well, which helps assuage mobility concerns. Plus, he excels when passing in the pocket or off play-action, two staples of Shanahan’s system. San Francisco paid a hefty price, but quarterback was in need of an upgrade. Now it just has to hope it selects the right one.
The Mac Jones rumors are scorching hot, which doesn’t appear to be slowing down any time soon. Everyone believes the 49ers have one of the strongest rosters in the NFL and are built to “win now.” Since, in their minds, Jones is the most “pro-ready” quarterback, that means the Niners are selecting Jones.
It’s all conjecture. We can’t argue one week that there are no leaks in the organization and then the next week get riled up because everyone with a microphone believes Jones is the pick at No. 3. They’re going based on what they think the 49ers would do, and because they believe Jones is pro-ready, then Shanahan must think the same.
We do this every April with a particular QB. Last year, Jordan Love was rumored to go as high as No. 5 overall but fell to the Packers at the end of the first round. In the case of Jones, I think everyone realizes that he’s a good player. That Jones going high in the draft is a foregone conclusion.
If he is the pick, it wouldn’t be a bad one for the 49ers. Jones would throw at least 20 touchdowns as a rookie and execute at a high level. In any other draft, he doesn’t feel like the type of player you take third overall. In a draft with generational talents, you have to overlook a lot to conclude that Jones is the best option at No. 3.
Shanahan has seen firsthand what a special quarterback can do to his defense. Jones isn’t far off from the type of quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is. If Kyle has evolved his thinking as he said he has, I don’t see how the pick is Jones.