49ers NFL Draft: Did we all just fall for a massive smokescreen?

The NFL Draft process is one full of lies and misdirection, did the 49ers just fool everybody?

One hallmark of the NFL Draft is that teams try to misdirect others as to their intentions, and the San Francisco 49ers are certainly no exception to that.

There’s a lot of reasons for this of course. One major consideration for those drafting is to lessen their interest in a player and instead try to make it seem they’re interested in someone they don’t want so teams won’t be tempted to try to squeeze picks out of them.

The Niners were able to once exploit this in 2017 when they traded down one spot with the Chicago Bears for them to take quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, a player San Francisco never had any intention of drafting.

The 49ers are in the middle of playing a very similar game right now but for a very different reason. Quarterback Trevor Lawrence is all but going No. 1 overall to the Jacksonville Jaguars, and there’s no chance of this not happening, short of some major misfortune befalling Lawrence between now and the draft.

Quarterback Zach Wilson is the heavy favorite, but not 100-percent certain, to go to the New York Jets at No. 2 after the team recently moved quarterback Sam Darnold to the Carolina Panthers.

And right there is the kicker. Wilson is not set in stone and happens to be the perfect prospect for the Niners.

Now bear with me as we get into draft conspiracy theory territory here. Most of you will no doubt have seen this tweet:

We won’t get into why Alabama quarterback Mac Jones would be worth trading a bounty up to No. 3 overall for, not in this article at least, but it’s very telling that the two quarterbacks named in this were Jones and North Dakota State’s Trey Lance, who are both considered lesser prospects than either Wilson or Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields.

Why would San Francisco do this?

Well, the more intrigue the 49ers can bring up among the prospects, the more they might make the Jets reconsider their pick if indeed they’re currently locked in on Wilson.

Such a ploy is unlikely to succeed (teams aren’t likely to change their minds just based on some NFL chatter), but you miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.

Right now, the more likely scenario comes from this tweet:

Two tweets from the same source, but providing a completely different scenario to the fans.

That’s the reality of this time of the year: We simply don’t know.

What we do know is Jones isn’t even the third best quarterback prospect for just about everybody, let alone a viable candidate for No. 3 overall, and we also know this doesn’t matter if a team falls in love with him.

It’s all a smokescreen. This isn’t to say Jones won’t be the pick, but this is saying that the idea the pick is locked in and set in stone for the world to know is absolute nonsense. This is not Lawrence we’re talking about.

Add in the fact Fields had a vastly superior pro day to Jones, who had a pro day (while not awful overall) did make head coach Kyle Shanahan look like this when Jones overthrew a deep pass.

It’s safe to say, right now, the idea Jones is locked in at No. 3 is nothing more than a smokescreen. It could still happen, but it’s not definitely going to happen.

Wilson. Fields. Lance. Jones. Pick your poison. It could still yet be any of those four prospects wearing red and gold next season.

But until the draft begins and we hear the name read out loud, I can guarantee nobody, save the people in that war room, will have any idea who it is.