Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

Schefter weighs in on 49ers’ rookie QB choices, Jimmy Garoppolo’s future

Mar 31, 2021 at 8:22 AM--

Everyone seems to have an opinion on who the San Francisco 49ers will select with the No. 3 overall pick. Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson are widely expected to go at the No. 1 and 2 spots, leaving head coach Kyle Shanahan with his pick of Justin Fields, Trey Lance, or Mac Jones. The first two are considered the better prospects. Of course, there is a lot of chatter surrounding Jones. At least, there was before what some consider to be a less-than-stellar second pro day.

ESPN's Adam Schefter weighed in on San Francisco's options during his latest podcast and feels that the analysis from outside NFL buildings differs greatly from the thoughts inside those buildings. Whether or not that has changed since Tuesday is unknown.

"Let me say this: I think this is what [the 49ers] do," Schefter said. "I think they really like Mac Jones. I think they really like Trey Lance. I think they're intrigued by Justin Fields. And this is assuming, of course, that Trevor Lawrence goes one to the Jaguars and Zach Wilson goes two to the Jets. Hard to see the draft going any other way right now, than just that—Lawrence, Wilson, Niners on the clock.

"So if that is indeed how it goes, and the Niners are on the clock, they need to continue to access this draft class, the quarterbacks in it, and I've seen teams shift their opinions and change their minds over the course of weeks. It's happened every single year; many examples. And so the 49ers still could decide that they like one quarterback over another."

What if the draft were to occur today? Who would the NFL insider bet on the Niners selecting as their quarterback of the future?

"Today, if the pick were made today, I wouldn't be shocked if it were Mac Jones," Schefter responded. "And Mac Jones is a quarterback who, in talking to another NFC general manager this week, said to me that the media does not have as high of grades on Mac Jones as teams do. And I asked him what he meant by that. And he said, 'Mac Jones has elite-arm accuracy. He is an elite processor of seeing how the play is going to unfold. He is an elite leader.'

"And that was how a GM from a non-NFC West team—not San Francisco—described Mac Jones to me. He said to me that his athleticism is as good as Matthew Stafford. He said that this is a guy that would've gone higher than the media forecasted."

None of those comments are likely to please 49ers fans. The overwhelming favorites among the fanbase are Fields and Lance, by a significant margin. It's hard to imagine a team surrendering so much draft capital to move up for Jones.

A recent poll we conducted had 66.3 percent of 49ers fans desiring Fields, 27.2 percent hoping for Lance, and just 6.4 percent wanting Jones.

Schefter also added that he would not be shocked if the 49ers pivot from Jones to Lance, internally. There is still nearly a month until the draft, and this far out, it is difficult to take anything from NFL teams at face value.

So, where does all of this leave current starter Jimmy Garoppolo? Schefter weighed in on that, too. With a rookie quarterback coming in, there is no rush to part ways with Garoppolo, especially considering the 49ers are built to compete for a championship right now. The NFL insider sees parallels between San Francisco's situation and that of the Kansas City Chiefs with Alex Smith and Patrick Mahomes.

"And today, a month out, that's how I envision the 49ers' quarterback situation playing out with this team," Schefter said, "giving the job to Jimmy Garoppolo this year with the understanding that the quarterback they pick third overall next month will be the guy that is the 49ers' quarterback in the 2022 season.

"Could there be injuries that change that? Sure. Could there be a trade offer between now and then that changes it? Sure. But today, at the end of March, going into April, the 49ers' plan is to pick their quarterback of the future at three and have Jimmy Garoppolo be their starting quarterback for this season."

You can listen to the entire podcast below. The portion about the 49ers is at the beginning.

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