Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Todd McShay defends his projection of Mac Jones to 49ers in latest mock draft

Mar 6, 2021 at 9:31 AM--

Do you want to divide the San Francisco 49ers fanbase? Just start a topic involving the future of the quarterback position.

Todd McShay created some social-media chatter with his latest mock draft, which had San Francisco trading up to select former Alabama quarterback Mac Jones with the No. 9 overall pick. The selection comes after the perceived top four quarterback prospects—Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, Justin Fields, and Trey Lance—are all taken with the first four selections.

McShay can't envision the 49ers sitting back and watching potentially a fifth signal-caller come off the board before their current selection at No. 12.

"If there's a run on four quarterbacks early, then you know what team's going to end up moving up," McShay said on Friday during a segment on ESPN's NFL Live. "We'll see how it all plays out."

While the selection of Jones itself might be enough to create some criticism among some of the Niner Faithful, the proposal that San Francisco moves up in the first round, surrendering multiple picks in the process, to do so is controversial. Of course, it does create some interesting back-and-forth among fans.

As for Jones himself, McShay defends the selection and thinks highly of the quarterback. Jones took over for Tua Tagovailoa even when some assumed that Bryce Young might succeed the No. 5 overall pick from a year ago.

Jones completed 77.4 percent of his passes for 4,500 yards with 41 touchdowns and four interceptions through 13 games in 2020, on his way to a National Championship.

"I love his competitiveness, his toughness, and most importantly, his accuracy," explained McShay. "If you watch him inside the pocket, throwing the ball, he is so accurate, especially on the deep ball, in the perimeter. It's fun to watch, and he had a Joe Burrow-like season. But for some reason, he's not the No. 1 overall pick, right?"

Marcus Spears noted that he doesn't feel any of the quarterbacks in the draft offer a significant upgrade over the 49ers' current starting quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo. At least, not right now. The upside in this rookie quarterback class may be better, though.

Spears did say that Jones' film looks better than the quarterbacks expected to be drafted ahead of him and wonders why the Crimson Tide passer isn't being touted as a better prospect. McShay feels it may have to do with the talent Jones had around him this past season.

"You've got Mac Jones, who's got three offensive linemen who are going to get drafted, probably in the first three or four rounds," McShay said, "a running back in Najee Harris, who is going to be a first-round pick, in my estimation, and two wide receivers that are going to be first-round picks as well. So, it's tough to evaluate when the circumstances are so different (than the other quarterbacks)."

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