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Jeremiah: Majority of the NFL believes 49ers trade was for Mac Jones

Mar 29, 2021 at 4:18 PM--

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It sounds like the majority of the NFL believes that the San Francisco 49ers trading up last week from No. 12 to No. 3 overall was to secure the right to draft quarterback Mac Jones of Alabama, not Justin Fields of Ohio State or Trey Lance of North Dakota State. Of course, maybe that's exactly what the 49ers want the league to believe. There are so many smokescreens headed into the draft that it is difficult to predict what might happen. That is part of the appeal.

Still, NFL Media draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah revealed what many people around the league are hearing—that head coach Kyle Shanahan and San Francisco covet Jones, who most feel might be the fifth-best quarterback in this year's draft class.

"Well, I think the majority of people around the league believe this is for Mac Jones," Jeremiah said on the Football Show podcast for The Athletic.

What was the reaction by the podcast host, Robert Mays? It was one word—"Wow."

"And so, shock, that what you just said is probably the overwhelming reaction that I've received, which is 'wow,'" Jeremiah continued. "It's what you hear from a lot of people. I would say this: Of the people that you would want to believe, and you put your faith in, the overwhelming majority of them believe this is going to be Mac Jones with that pick. So, that's what's so shocking."

Mac Jones at No. 12 may have been more palatable to 49ers fans. But the idea of surrendering multiple first-round picks and a third-rounder to move up to No. 3 to grab him while leaving prospects with potentially higher ceilings in Fields and Lance on the board has many scratching their heads.

Jeremiah reiterated the belief during an interview on The Rich Eisen Show.

"[You] talk to people in the know around the league, Rich, and they're like, 'I'm telling you, this is for the Bama quarterback. This is not Trey Lance or Justin Fields. This is for Mac Jones,'" Jeremiah told Eisen. "And I heard it from a lot of people.

"Look, when you see Chris Simms as well — it's easy to connect the dots with him and Kyle, and their friendship — that he kind of hopped aboard that train, that's kind of where we are."

It is worth noting that Shanahan did comment on his relationship with Simms on Monday.

"Trust me, Chris talks about everything," Shanahan told reporters. "Therefore, I haven't been able to talk to him in a couple of years. Anyone who you're friends with who speaks in the media, and people think you're friends with them, that means you're not allowed to tell them anything."

In the end, the only opinions that matter are those inside the 49ers facility. The team will continue to evaluate its options over the next month. Shanahan and general manager John Lynch plan to attend Alabama's pro day on Tuesday, while assistant general manager Adam Peters and a small 49ers delegation will attend Ohio State's.

The move from No. 12 to No. 3 puts the 49ers in an excellent spot. They control their destiny and won't have to depend as much on things falling their way.

"This is a risk we were willing to take," Shanahan added. "We looked at how our four years have gone. We looked at how we want the next four years to go. We looked where we're at in the draft and the options that are there. That's why sitting there looking at this stuff since January and going all the way through the process, we felt pretty strongly we were going to get left at the altar sitting there at 12."

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