Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Breer: Don’t buy the pre-draft hype; 49ers keeping QB evaluations ‘close to the vest’

Apr 5, 2021 at 9:44 AM--

Mac Jones to the San Francisco 49ers is a done deal, right? That's what every analyst and evaluator would have you believe. Much of that originated from NBC Sports analyst Chris Simms, a close friend of head coach Kyle Shanahan, stating that he believes the 49ers traded up to the No. 3 spot to draft Jones.

Shanahan debunked that last week. Not the idea that Jones might be the pick, but that Simms might have some insight into the team's plans.

"Trust me, Chris talks about everything," Shanahan said. "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. That's why he doesn't even ask me stuff. Because if he does ask me something, and I tell him, then he can't say it."

Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated is convinced that nobody really knows what the 49ers plan to do at the No. 3 spot and that much of the speculation might just be pre-draft hype and guesswork.

"When Kyle Shanahan went to assistant coaches Mike McDaniel, Rich Scangarello and Bobby Slowik, among others, for assessments on the quarterback class in January and February, as he and John Lynch mulled a big move up the draft board, he didn't share his own evaluation with those guys," wrote Breer in his latest Monday Morning Quarterback feature.

That narrative would certainly match up with reports that there is a difference of opinion internally on who San Francisco should draft with the No. 3 overall pick. Maybe it's because the assistant coaches didn't initially know which direction Shanahan was leaning as he sought their input. It certainly seems like a good strategy if you want your scouts and evaluators to offer objective analysis without the head coach's preference clouding their reports.

Breer doesn't buy into the idea that anyone outside of the 49ers' building knows what the team will do on April 29. Maybe it is Jones. Maybe it's potentially higher-ceiling players like Fields or Lance.

"And I don't want anyone to take that as discrediting what anyone who's close to Shanahan, like Chris Simms, says, because Simms, for one, has a really good read on what Shanahan wants in a quarterback," Breer added. "I just know the Niners have efforted to keep this one very close to the vest, even though they don't necessarily have to anymore."

Who does the Sports Illustrated writer feel San Francisco will target at No. 3? Will it be Jones, Fields, or Lance?

"If you're asking me, Mac Jones might make the most sense for Year 1," wrote Breer. "Trey Lance for Year 4 and Fields as the player with the most talent of the three for Shanahan to mine. But that's just me."

H/t to Patrick Tulini for the find.

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