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Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

Todd McShay has 49ers trading up for Alabama QB Mac Jones in latest mock draft

Mar 5, 2021 at 6:10 AM--

ESPN analyst Todd McShay had the San Francisco 49ers selecting cornerback Caleb Farley of Virginia Tech with the No. 12 overall pick in his January mock draft. In February, he had the Niners trading down to the No. 20 spot and selecting safety Trevon Moehrig out of TCU.

McShay released his pre-free-agency mock draft, acknowledging that needs will change after the start of the new league year. Once again, he has the 49ers trading out of their No. 12 spot. However, this time he has the team moving up to No. 9 to acquire a quarterback.

Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, Justin Fields, and Trey Lance all come off the board in this mock draft's first four picks. McShay has San Francisco surrendering the No. 12 overall pick and perhaps adding its second-rounder and 2022 first- or second-rounder to move up three spots. That would be quite a haul for the Denver Broncos, who currently sit at No. 9.

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The 49ers use the selection to add quarterback Mac Jones of Alabama.

"Five quarterbacks in the opening nine picks would beat the previous record of five in the first 12 selections (1999)," wrote McShay. "Jones doesn't have the rushing ability of the other four QBs, but he processes quickly, has excellent ball placement on short-to-intermediate throws and shows the ability to anticipate. He'd mesh nicely with the Niners' quick game and could bring more balance to an offense that has run on the sixth-highest percentage of plays in the NFL since coach Kyle Shanahan took over in 2017."

Jones (6-3, 214) helped guide the Crimson Tide to a National Championship this past collegiate season. He was 36-of-45 for 464 yards with five touchdowns in the 52-24 rout of Ohio State.

Jones completed 77.4 percent of his passes for 4,500 yards with 41 touchdowns and four interceptions through 13 games in 2020, earning 2020 Consensus All-America honors and becoming the recipient of both the Davey O'Brien and Johnny Unitas Golden Arm awards.

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Jones' arrival would not automatically mean the end of Jimmy Garoppolo's time in San Francisco. Although, Jones might have to pick another jersey number to start off his NFL career.

"Jones would likely arrive as the understudy to incumbent Jimmy Garoppolo," wrote ESPN's 49ers beat writer, Nick Wagoner. "I expect a setup similar to what the Chiefs did when they had Alex Smith and drafted Patrick Mahomes in 2017. The goal would be to allow Jones to learn and develop for at least a season while Garoppolo continues to start and bolsters his value back to a point where the 49ers would have a difficult decision to make after the 2021 season."

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