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.
Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch are skipping Justin Fields' pro day on Tuesday to go to Mac Jones' instead, per @peter_king.
There seems to be a little bit more smoke to this speculation of Jones going 3rd overall with each passing day. pic.twitter.com/dCt5DmK97Z
— Brett Kollmann (@BrettKollmann) March 29, 2021
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.