49ers news: Mac Jones still dominating many mock NFL Drafts

Alabama quarterback Mac Jones (10) Mandatory Credit: Mickey Welsh/The Montgomery Advertiser via USA TODAY Sports
Alabama quarterback Mac Jones (10) Mandatory Credit: Mickey Welsh/The Montgomery Advertiser via USA TODAY Sports /

Despite some pushback and odds favoring the 49ers getting Justin Fields at No. 3 overall in the NFL Draft, many an expert mock still has Mac Jones.

Not long ago, particularly after they attended his second pro day, odds shifted to the San Francisco 49ers selecting Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields at No. 3 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft instead of Alabama quarterback Mac Jones, who was previously the bigger odds favorite after the Niners engineered their trade up with the Miami Dolphins from No. 12 overall.

Exactly how much betting odds factor into experts’ mock drafts is anyone’s guess. Perhaps some use it, while others heed it no attention. At any point, it doesn’t matter too much anyway, as mock-draft analysts tend to look at other points and X-factors.

And in many a case still, despite the recent shift in odds towards Fields, Jones is still dominating a significant chunk of the latest mock drafts from the experts.

Niner Noise takes a look at what some of those experts are saying in their most recent mock drafts for San Francisco at No. 3 overall.

Peter Schrager, NFL.com: QB Mac Jones, Alabama

"We’re less than two weeks away and I’m still feeling Mac Jones is the guy. I’m told the 49ers still have not made a decision and continue to do their work on all three quarterback prospects who would be available: Jones, Justin Fields and Trey Lance. Jones had one of the greatest college football seasons we’ve seen in recent years, and pro scouts like him a lot — even if the pundits do not."

Mel Kiper Jr. & Todd McShay, ESPN: QB Justin Fields, Ohio State

"Kiper: You should know by now how much I like Fields. He has all the tools to be a superstar, and he’d thrive in Kyle Shanahan’s offense."

Ryan Wilson, CBS Sports: QB Mac Jones, Alabama

"We have no idea what happens here but Kyle Shanahan was at his best when he was calling plays for Matt Ryan. That doesn’t mean he isn’t having visions of doing even more with a talent like Justin Fields, we just don’t know because the 49ers have been tight-lipped about their intentions."

Nate Davis, USA Today Sports: QB Justin Fields, Ohio State

"[Maybe] Jones could run this offense better than incumbent Jimmy Garoppolo and on par with former Kyle Shanahan disciples like Matt Schaub, Kirk Cousins and 2016 league MVP Matt Ryan. But who’s trading three Round 1 selections for those guys, none consistently able to excel outside the framework of this offense? Fields, who completed better than 68% of his collegiate throws (including 70.2% in 2020), could provide the precision Shanahan’s scheme demands while adding mobility that could take it to another level."

Randy Gurzi, NFL Spin Zone: QB Mac Jones, Alabama

"Now Jones did have a lot of success with the Crimson Tide and it seems as though he could be a decent NFL quarterback.Having said that, it’s hard to say he’s better than Justin Fields or Trey Lance — but the Niners seem set. There is a school of thought that Kyle Shanahan likes the way Jones fits into his system better than the other two, but that still feels odd."

Will 49ers do what NFL Draft experts think?

Well, one group is going to be right while the others are wrong once the Niners’ number is called on April 29.

A key difference to admit when formulating a mock draft is between “what I’d do” versus “what I think San Francisco will do,” and it’s OK to admit a challenge there. It’s essentially what Gurzi did with his mock, questioning why the 49ers would give up so many assets to select a quarterback who, at least in terms of playmaking potential, is nowhere close to the likes of Fields or NDSU quarterback Trey Lance.

In Jones’ defense, he arguably has the highest floor out of the three and the least total-bust potential. And while Shanahan has had success with Jones-like quarterbacks before, namely Ryan back with Atlanta in 2016, it’s also important to note Shanahan helped develop a much more dynamic quarterback back in 2012 with Washington, then-rookie Robert Griffin III, only to see Griffin’s career stumble in the wake of multiple injuries.

Plus, Shanahan has recently seen firsthand what a dynamic playmaking-type quarterback can do against his own team, namely the Kansas City Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes back in Super Bowl LIV and the Buffalo Bills’ Josh Allen last year during the regular season.

Jones, while an understandable fit within the structure of the Niners offense, is far from viewed as someone who can improvise on the fly, which is becoming more and more necessary for sustained offensive success in today’s NFL.

Either way, San Francisco has kept any full intentions closely guarded, meaning essentially all of the NFL Draft pundits’ assessments and mocks are purely speculative, little more.

Next. 49ers 7-round mock draft featuring only Big Ten players. dark