Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Kiper explains why he’d be ‘very surprised’ if the 49ers didn’t draft Mac Jones

Apr 13, 2021 at 9:45 AM--

ESPN's Mel Kiper isn't among the segment of national writers who are backing off a bit from the narrative that former Alabama quarterback Mac Jones to the San Francisco 49ers at No. 3 is a near-lock. The analyst had Jones going to the Niners in his latest mock draft and later joined ESPN's Get Up! to discuss the projection.

With Trevor Lawrence expected to land with the Jacksonville Jaguars, Zach Wilson with the New York Jets, and Jones anticipated to join San Francisco, Get Up! host Mike Greenberg asked Kiper if he considers the first three selections in this year's draft to be a lock.

"I think they are a lock, right now," Kiper responded. "And when you look at Mac Jones, I think what you're trying to figure out if you're Kyle Shanahan, John Lynch -- is there another quarterback that maybe could be in the discussion or see another quarterback to say, 'OK, I've got the exclamation point that Mac Jones is my guy.'

"You keep looking. You keep evaluating. But I think the decision has already been made, and I think that cerebral approach, the incredible accuracy is the reason why Mac Jones makes sense to the 49ers."

Kiper adds that the team probably wouldn't be looking to replace Jimmy Garoppolo if the veteran quarterback could stay healthy. Garoppolo has missed 23 games over the past three seasons and was unavailable for 10 games during last season's six-win campaign.

While Justin Fields of Ohio State and Trey Lance of North Dakota State remain possibilities, Kiper said he would be shocked to see San Francisco select a prospect other than Jones.

"(I would be) very surprised," Kiper said. "Just talking to people in the league, I think it's Mac Jones. And I think, for everything we're talking about, when you [trade up to No. 3], you better feel strongly about a guy. You're not going up there, still debating it. You better have a guy that you're locked into. You better lock into that guy if you're going to move up from that twelve spot to that three spot, and they had that guy.

"And if it is Mac Jones, and that's where everything was trending, that's what all the talk is, that it's Mac Jones, for all the reasons we discussed, I think that's why the 49ers would make him that pick."

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