Just recently, Jones has been getting some play within the top 10. Earlier in the pre-draft process, he was seen as a tier below the likes of Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, Justin Fields and Trey Lance.
More than anything, the 49ers being linked to Jones is a guessing game on the part of the media. In his weekly Football Morning in America article, NBC Sports’ Peter King pretty much doubled down on that belief.
“Much was made of the Niners trading up to number three in the draft, and favoring Alabama’s Mac Jones with that third overall pick,” King noted. “I’ve been told the team has not made a decision who to take—I’m still guessing Jones—and the next eight days will be crucial in fact-finding.”
The operative word here being “guessing.” Previous suggestions from the national media provided a near ironclad guarantee that Jones would be the third pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
At this point, only two people know that answer to that question. This list involves only head coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch.
A lot was made of the 49ers’ attending Jones’ Alabama Pro Day over watching Justin Fields work out in Columbus late last month. What this narrative didn’t include was the fact that San Francisco sent its top player personnel guy in vice president Adam Peters to watch Fields.
Now, the 49ers are prepared to go see Fields do his thing during a second Ohio State Pro Day. Those making the trip include Shanahan and Lynch. The duo will also watch North Dakota State quarterback Trey Lance leading up to the draft later this month.
The rumors linking these San Francisco 49ers to Jones have been bandied about primarily due to the quarterbacks Shanahan has worked with in the past. That list includes Matt Ryan and Kirk Cousins, two prototypical signal callers. The 6-foot-3 Jones fits into this category while Fields and Lance are more mobile quarterbacks.
Even then, Shanahan made it clear during the 49ers’ post-trade press conference that he’s not looking for a specific type of quarterback. The head coach pointed to Patrick Mahomes’ success with the Kansas City Chiefs as a primary example.
As for who the 49ers are picking, no one outside of Shanahan and Lynch know what direction they are going. This organization cleaned up the leaks that defined the Jim Harbaugh era when Shanahan and Lynch were brought on back in 2017.
They are not going to leak something as important as who San Francisco will select at three after the team moved three first-round picks and an additional mid-round selection to find a franchise quarterback.
It really is a guessing game at this point.