49ers NFL Draft: Odds favor Justin Fields, not Mac Jones now
By Peter Panacy
While Mac Jones was long the odds favorite to go No. 3 overall to the 49ers, it appears as if Justin Fields is now taking over that spot.
Perhaps fueled by a sizable chunk of the national media, the San Francisco 49ers‘ longtime odds-on favorite to be selected at No. 3 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft was Alabama quarterback Mac Jones.
Not so much anymore.
It appears as if Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields is now taking over that top-odds spot, at least according to Fanduel Sportsbook, which lists Fields as minus-160 to be selected with the No. 3 overall pick.
Jones, meanwhile, has odds of plus-120 with North Dakota State quarterback Trey Lance coming in at plus-1100. BYU quarterback Zach Wilson, widely anticipated to be selected by the No. 2-drafting New York Jets, is at plus-2400 to go to the Niners.
Good news for San Francisco fans who were wanting to see Fields, not Jones be head coach Kyle Shanahan’s preferred choice after the 49ers aggressively traded up to the No. 3 overall spot from the 12th pick.
49ers attending Justin Fields’ pro day, other media speculation likely fueled odds change
How odds are created and fluctuate can be a difficult thing to assess unless you work in that field, but there are more than a few bits of evidence why Fields is now the favorite over Jones.
For starters, there still isn’t a shortage of top NFL Draft media types and former players who feel Shanahan and the Niners wouldn’t have given up so many draft assets to land a player like Jones, who could very well have been available at No. 12 overall anyway. Former NFL wide receiver Torrey Smith wasn’t buying it, and former running back and current NFL Network analyst Maurice Jones-Drew also felt Fields was much better a fit for San Francisco.
But it was Fields’ second pro day, which Shanahan and members of the 49ers were in attendance, that also likely had some serious effect on the odds.
Perhaps even solely based on one photo with Fields and Shanahan:
There have been plenty of other bits of evidence, too, much of it supporting the idea Fields will be San Francisco’s top choice come April 29.
Of course, Jones could still be on the 49ers’ radar, particularly if the Jets shake things up at No. 2 overall and grab Fields instead, which is entirely possible. Yet that would open up the door for Wilson, of course, to be the selection.
The Niners have also attended pro days for both Jones and Wilson anyway, and it’s more than likely they’ve ranked out which players would be their preference already by now. But while there has been plenty of speculation about which player San Francisco ultimately prefers, Shanahan and the 49ers front office has kept quiet about it.
Although the oddsmakers seem to be buying into the notion it’ll be Fields at No. 3.
The 2021 NFL Draft will kick off on Thursday, April 29, and that’ll be the moment where everyone’s guesswork will be proven right or wrong.