‘I think they like all three’: Schefter says 49ers keeping an open mind on QB draft prospects

Apr 11, 2021 at 8:56 AM--

Right now, if he were forced to make a guess, Adam Schefter is in the camp of those who would tell you that the San Francisco 49ers are drafting quarterback Mac Jones of Alabama with the No. 3 overall pick. However, there are still 18 days until the start of the 2021 NFL Draft, things are fluid, and things might change.

Head coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch attended Jones' second pro day on March 30, picking that event over former Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields' workout, which took place on the same day. That, of course, led to massive speculation that San Francisco prefers the Alabama quarterback to the former Buckeye or even Trey Lance of North Dakota State.

Shanahan and Lynch are expected to be in attendance for the second pro days of the other two quarterbacks, though. Fields' will be on April 14, while Lance's will be five days later.

"Now, if you're asking me today who I would guess, I would guess Mac Jones today," Schefter told Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area on the latest 49ers Talk podcast. "But we're also three weeks away from the draft. There's going to be a lot of meetings. There's going to be a lot of discussions. They're going to be attending workouts.

"So what happens between now and then? I don't know. We'll see. We'll find out what enters their thought process, what gets brought up in the discussion, and what factors push them ultimately to the quarterback they decide to take."

Like some others, Schefter doesn't believe the 49ers have solidified their decision on who to draft. All three quarterbacks remain a possibility.

"I think they have an open mind right now," Schefter said. "I think they go into this looking at three quarterbacks who will be there. They're obviously going to watch Justin Fields go work out again. I think they have a high opinion of Trey Lance, and I think they have a high opinion of Mac Jones. So I think they like all three."

All of the Jones-to-49ers talk seems to be based more on speculation and Shanahan's history with other quarterbacks like Matt Ryan, Kirk Cousins, and Jimmy Garoppolo. Jones fits into that mold nicely. However, the NFL landscape is changing, and more dynamic and athletic passers are becoming the preference. It would be naive to assume Shanahan isn't considering prospects like Fields or Lance.

"I think that Trey Lance has a big ceiling," Schefter shared. "Justin Fields has a big ceiling. Mac Jones might not have the same ceiling, but again, he offers different attributes. And so, that's up for them to make that decision and to ultimately decide. But again, I still think they have to come to their final decision, and I think they have three weeks to do that."

Schefter feels that anything could happen at these next pro days, and Fields or Lance could wow the 49ers brain trust. It will be Shanahan and Lynch's first opportunity to see him in person.

"That could happen," Schefter added. "They're going because that's the right and responsible thing to do when you have the third overall pick, and you've given up as much as you have to get it. And there are enough people who like Justin Fields and believe in his future. You owe that to the process to see what he has and what he's about before you make your pick.

"And that's exactly what I'm talking about. We have, between now and the draft, three weeks to continue to gather as much information as they can on these other prospects."

You can listen to the entire discussion below.

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