Mac Jones Could Actually Be The Target For 49ers At No. 3

The San Francisco 49ers made a bold draft move over the weekend, going from No. 12 all the way up to No. 3. They had to give up a ton of draft capital, including a third-round pick this year and first-round picks in 2022 and 2023, to do it too.

As OutKick founder Clay Travis pointed out this morning on OutKick the Coverage, you don’t make a bold move like that without a specific quarterback in mind.

“You don’t make that move unless you’re in love,” Clay said. “Kyle Shanahan has found his guy. I don’t buy into the argument, which some people will make, that the 49ers just want to draft any quarterback this year. No, when you trade up like that, they know exactly who they are taking.”

So who is San Francisco taking?

The Jaguars are obviously taking Trevor Lawrence of Clemson with the first pick, and there’s a growing belief that the Jets are targeting BYU quarterback Zach Wilson at No. 2 overall. That leaves three quarterbacks: Justin Fields of Ohio State, Trey Lance of North Dakota State and Mac Jones of Alabama.

Look, I’ve been all over Lance heading to the West Coast. The level of competition is somewhat of a concern, but he’d be a perfect fit in Shanahan’s offense. He also has an incredibly high ceiling, so he seems like a guy worth trading up for.

The one guy on that list whom most have disregarded though is Jones, but he just might surprise people.

NFL draft analyst Brett Kollmann tweeted out an interesting nugget from Peter King on Sunday night. Jones and Fields both have Pro Day workouts on Tuesday, and the 49ers are attending both of them.

Fields is getting the assistant general manager (Adam Peters), while Jones is getting the general manager (John Lynch) and head coach (Shanahan) combination. Could that be a ploy? Maybe, but I doubt it. As Kollmann points out, there is some smoke to the Jones-San Francisco speculation.

A lot of fans I’ve seen on social media are against the 49ers taking Jones. The Alabama product may not be as flashy as some of the modern quarterbacks available, but he’d be a great fit in Shanahan’s system. He ran something similar under Steve Sarkisian in Tuscaloosa, and San Fransisco has playmakers — Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk and George Kittle — who can create yardage after the catch.

Plus, the offensive line returns Trent Williams and Daniel Brunskill and adds Alex Mack. It’s not the best unit in the league, but it’s more than good enough to allow Jones to function within the pocket.

Would I prefer Lance if I were Shanahan? Sure, but Jones would fit the Kirk Cousins/Matt Ryan/Jimmy Garoppolo style that the young coach seems to prefer. Whether they like it or not, it sounds like fans need to prepare for the possibility.

Follow Clint Lamb on Twitter @ClintRLamb.

Written by Clint Lamb

Clint Lamb is a College Football Writer for OutKick. Managing Editor for Roll Tide Wire. Sports radio host for The Bullpen on 730/103.9 The UMP. Co-host for The 'Bama Beat podcast through The Tuscaloosa News and TideSports.com.

5 Comments

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  1. Hey Clint,
    “Athleticism” goes a long way in the NFL, but not necessarily at the QB position if you look at the all-timers; pocket presence and completion percentage get the job done more than happy feet. A higher ceiling than Mac Jones? Another way of saying he’s more of a raw talent.
    You point out the level of competition as being a concern as regards Trey Lance. For sure…he played 2 games as a freshman and 16 games as a sophomore. Junior season was all screwed up with covid, and NDSU played only 6 games.
    NFL playbook? Running the offense? There are guys that have been in the NFL for 5 years or more who still can’t grasp the playbook or run an offense for more than a couple of drives.
    Don’t even need to compare strength of schedules lol. Okay, we’ll look: Wins vs. Cent. Ark., Youngstown St., So. Ill. (L), and Wins vs. Mizzou St., Ill. St., and No. Dakota.
    Mac Jones threw for 4,500 yds and 41 TDs vs. 4 INTs playing in the SEC in 2020 as a junior.
    Well, you say if you were Kyle Shanahan you’d prefer Lance over Jones. Jones isn’t flashy, you say. Okay then.

    • Carson Wentz played 4 years at NDSU, and his best was his junior year throwing for 3,111 yds with 25/10 TD/INT. He was thought to be fairly raw also, especially the quality of competition in the Missouri Valley Conference vs. the major conferences.
      Jury’s still out on Wentz, but the trend is not his friend right now.

    • Course not, Michael, I’m comparing QB A and QB B and their conferences, their competition, and the length of time each played college ball. I’m not talking about “the draft day board” that all the teams have going on right now. I surely wouldn’t have rejected any of those three guys, but I’m not looking for a RB, a WR, or a LB.

      Jack Lambert was the #46 pick (R2) in the 1974 NFL draft, but a good comparison with the Mac Jones/Trey Lance situation. In 1974 the Chicago Bears picked a LB #3 outta Tennessee State – Raymond Bryant – ever heard of him; can’t say I have. A lot of really top talent LBs were ignored by the Bears, including Randy Gradishar (OSU), Ed O’Neill (PSU), and Fred McNeill (UCLA), and they went with the young man outta Tennessee State. Those other guys had really good careers.
      The Steelers took Lambert in Round 2 because they took Lynn Swann (USC – pretty good pro career) in the first round. The Steelers whole draft in 1974 went pretty damn well.

      There’s no point in listing 3 of the NFL greats (2 first rounders and a second rounder) and claiming that I would have rejected them. Not even apples and oranges, and we all know that kids come outta more than 1,000 colleges every year in all the player positions besides QB. Of course there’s gonna be a lot of gems in that collection of players who make the grade.
      But with Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson going #1 and #2, the story line is San Fran taking a QB at #3…not a RB or a WR or a LB. That’s what I’m addressing; I’m not rejecting anybody. Thanks, Michael…all the best!

      • And Carson Wentz is an example of a NDSU who had better numbers than Lance and played a full 3 years worth of games and still is struggling to run an NFL offense. Gotta say something about the quality of the competition.

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