The 2021 NFL Draft is a three-day event from April 29th to May 1st that will be hosted in Cleveland, Ohio. A select number of draft prospects will be invited to Cleveland to walk across the stage and shake hands with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. The NFL Draft will also feature draft prospects participating remotely across the country.
Last month, the 49ers arguably made their most aggressive move since trading Joe Montana, as they gave up multiple picks to jump from No. 12 to No. 3 in this year’s NFL Draft. The first Mock Draft Roundup featured primarily defensive players but NFL pundits have now shifted their 49ers mock drafts to the quarterback position. Last week’s Mock Draft Roundup was a pick your poison scenario, in which experts weighed Trey Lance of North Dakota State, Mac Jones of Alabama, or Justin Field of Ohio State as the 49ers’ future quarterback. Heading into today, it seems like the chatter has shifted towards Jones as the consensus pick. As shown in its recent Quarterback Roundtable discussion, the 49ers’ Webzone Staff remains heavily in favor of Fields.
Below is a mock draft roundup with three weeks remaining until the actual NFL Draft. Each week, I’ll pull up several recent mock drafts from various outlets and will give an analysis on the pick along with my personal take.
Todd McShay, ESPN
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.
Daniel Jeremiah, NFL Network
Mac Jones, QB, Alabama
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.
We can all agree that the trade-up now puts the 49ers in a position to draft a quarterback. ESPN’s Todd McShay and NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah are some of the more respected draft experts in the industry, which only amplifies the media chatter about Jones being the pick. If McShay and Jeremiah are now indicating that Jones will be the 49ers’ future quarterback…it does make you wonder. As the saying goes, “where there’s smoke, there’s fire.” Then again, when have the 49ers started leaking news like this? Instead of an actual fire, could it be an NFL Draft smokescreen?
The trade for third overall. Joe Staley’s imminent retirement, spurring the Trent Williams trade. Emmanuel Sanders. Dee Ford. Jimmy Garoppolo. All moves made in secret.
Now we’re supposed to believe everyone and their mom knows the #49ers are taking Mac Jones? I have my doubts.
— Rob Lowder (@Rob_Lowder) April 6, 2021
Ben Standig, The Athletic
The pick: Mac Jones, QB, Alabama
Ideal pick: Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State
Based on the reporting and reaction following the 49ers’ recent blockbuster trade up to No. 3, the sense is 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan covets Jones’ anticipation in the passing game and his apparent NFL readiness. Others can see Lance working in Shanahan’s system and being a player with the requisite high ceiling to justify the hefty trade price. Logically, the 2019 NFC champions are aiming to contend again following an injury-ravaged season, which means letting any rookie quarterback watch and learn. That’s in play with Jimmy Garoppolo on the team. Although Garoppolo and Lance make for a sharp short- and long-term pairing, the 49ers’ interest in Jones seems sincere.
Ryan Wilson, CBS Sports
Mac Jones, QB, Alabama
Could the 49ers be targeting Trey Lance or Justin Fields here? Absolutely. But Mac Jones also fits what Kyle Shanahan looks for in a QB. And while Jones has a higher floor than the other available QBs, he’s also just started 17 career games, which means he has plenty of room for improvement.
These takes by CBS Sports’ Ryan Wilson and The Athletic’s Ben Standig resonate with many 49ers fans. The constant media chatter is pointing towards Jones as the pick–even if the actual preference would be another prospect like Lance or Fields. I’ve already gone on at length with my own personal preference of Fields over Jones, as, overall, I’d rather have a prospect with a higher ceiling for growth versus a high floor candidate. With the same number of career starts as Jones, I’d rather have the more athletic prospect in Lance. It would be a confusing narrative to trade so aggressively into the No. 3 spot only to choose the safer prospect–while the other quarterbacks have the potential for stardom.
Mike Tannenbaum, Former NFL General Manager
Mac Jones, QB, Alabama
I see Jones as very similar to Matt Ryan, whom Kyle Shanahan had a lot of success with in 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%).
Mike Tannenbaum is a long-time NFL executive who served as the New York Jets general manager from 2006-2012. He sees Jones as the Shanahan quarterback archetype, and thus the 49ers’ pick at No. 3 because Jones compares well to Matt Ryan. My counter-argument? What exactly is the “Shanahan quarterback”? The most successful pocket quarterbacks picked early, including Ryan and Rams’ Matthew Stafford, who went in the top-five of the 2008 and 2009 NFL Drafts, respectively, were selected over a decade ago. The 49ers play the likes of the Cardinals’ Kyler Murray and the Seahawks’ Russell Wilson twice a year and have seen firsthand what the new-age quarterbacks look like in the Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes and the Bills’ Josh Allen.
Ben Linsey, Pro Football Focus
Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
Unlike New York’s decision with the second overall pick, I think there is a “right” selection here, assuming Lawrence and Wilson come off the board with the first two picks.
Fields’ game has been put under the microscope over the past several weeks to the point where there are people — including NFL executives — looking for faults that aren’t there. Fields earned a 90.0-plus PFF grade in each of the past two years as Ohio State’s starter and an 85.0-plus grade in each of the Buckeyes’ two playoff games this past season. That production comes along with high-end athletic traits, accuracy and arm talent.
That’s the profile of a quarterback that teams should trade multiple first-round picks to move up and secure.
Out of this week’s round of mock drafts, Pro Football Focus’ Ben Linsey is the only one who remains strong on Fields being the pick for the San Francisco 49ers. NFL executives have gone so far as to question Fields’ work ethic in recent weeks. However, in terms of the PFF grade metrics, Fields has been a superior talent year-over-year during his time at Ohio State University. In terms of potential, if Jones offers the highest floor while Lance offers the highest ceiling, a blend of the two elements can be found in Fields. Rest assured, we still have plenty of time to mull over every move the 49ers’ office front office will make in anticipation of the 2021 NFL Draft. With Fields scheduled for a second pro day on April 14th, that date might be another important one for 49ers fans to clamor towards…
Per Justin Fields’ agent, the plan right now is for Fields to throw again when Ohio State holds pro day No. 2 on April 14. Kyle Shanahan has signaled that the 49ers will be on hand.
— Matt Barrows (@mattbarrows) April 7, 2021
- Justin Wong
Justin Wong has been writing for the 49ers Webzone since 2017 while also running an NFC West blog and podcast called Just The West. Feel free to follow him, or direct any inquiries to @JustTheWest on Twitter.
The views within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.
Everyone is trying to figure out what the San Francisco 49ers will do with the No. 3 overall draft pick. Last week, they moved into that slot via a blockbuster and draft-altering trade with the Miami Dolphins.
ESPN analyst Todd McShay released his latest mock draft, this one of the two-round variety, and has quarterbacks Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson going to the Jacksonville Jaguars and New York Jets, respectively, with the first two selections.
San Francisco is also expected to select its quarterback of the future and will likely have its choice of Justin Fields, Trey Lance,
Yet another mock draft has the San Francisco 49ers selecting former Alabama quarterback Mac Jones with the No. 3 overall pick. This one from ESPN’s Mike Tannenbaum is a bit different, though. While some analysts feel that Jones-to-49ers is the most likely scenario, many feel that the selection would be a reach, especially with potentially higher-ceiling prospects Justin Fields and Trey Lance likely to still be on the board.
The latest ESPN mock draft has Tannenbaum, a former NFL executive, playing the role of general manager for all 32 teams and choosing the players he feels are the best fit for
Justin Wong just released his latest Mock Draft Roundup. The overwhelming favorite projection for the San Francisco 49ers at the No. 3 overall pick is the selection of quarterback Mac Jones of Alabama.
Add NFL Network’s Peter Schrager to the list of those following that narrative.
The Good Morning Football host released his own mock draft on Thursday morning, and like most others, it has Trevor Lawrence of Clemson and Zach Wilson of BYU coming off the board with the top two selections. Those predictions seem like
The argument for Mac Jones over some other quarterback prospects at No. 3 overall is that the former Alabama player might be among the most ready to step in and play. Some feel that Justin Fields of Ohio State or Trey Lance of North Dakota State could benefit from sitting and learning for a year. Much of that has to do with the system within which Jones played last year.
Fields and Lance are viewed as having higher ceilings than Jones, though. They may be better long-term prospects.
ESPN’s Todd McShay released his latest mock draft and has the San Francisco 49ers selecting Jones with their top pick. That