Photo courtesy of the San Francisco 49ers

Photo courtesy of the San Francisco 49ers

Ex-scout says 49ers selecting Mac Jones would be ‘one of the most arrogant picks’ in NFL history

Apr 14, 2021 at 7:03 AM--

On March 26, the San Francisco 49ers shocked the NFL world by executing a blockbuster trade, moving up nine spots in the upcoming draft to No. 3 overall. After quarterbacks Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson are likely taken off the draft board with the top two selections, the Niners will have their choice of three prospects — Justin Fields of Ohio State, Trey Lance of North Dakota State, or the less popular choice among fans, Mac Jones of Alabama.

Fields and Lance are seen as more athletic, and analysts feel both are the better long-term prospects when compared to Jones. Of course, the most important evaluation will come from head coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch, with the former likely having the most influence in the decision.

Most mock drafts have San Francisco selecting Jones, who is seen as having the higher floor, but also the lower ceiling. One former NFL scout, John Middlekauff, who discusses the team regularly in his popular podcast with Guy Haberman, was blunt in his opinion surrounding a Jones-to-49ers scenario.

"I think it would be one of the most arrogant picks in the history of the league," Middlekauff recently told Colin Cowherd on The Colin Cowherd Podcast (h/t to Larry Brown of YardBarker).

While most of the speculation and national narrative points to San Francisco selecting Jones at No. 3, there remains a possibility that Shanahan and company go with Fields or Lance. Shanahan and Lynch will watch Fields throw in Columbus, Ohio, today, and then travel to Fargo, North Dakota, on Monday to work out Lance.

"If you just rank the physical skillset of the top five guys, he's (at) the bottom, and I don't think it's really close," Middlekauff added in his analysis of Jones. "I actually think, Colin, they're going to take Trey Lance. I talked to an NFL exec this week, who thought when you watch Trey Lance, the things he does well, throw on the move, physically, what Kyle's talked about, are big, high-end athletes, if you had your choice..."

"... I would say Mac Jones, every single year, there are Mac Jones in the second and third round. And if you've got Kyle Shanahan, wouldn't you just use that value to do that? They did try to do that three or four years ago with C.J. Beathard, a plug-and-play pro-style quarterback from Iowa, high floor. Colin, he was terrible.

"So to me, the more I talk to people in the league, if you listen to what Kyle has actually said ... to me, Trey Lance ... is only 20 years old, who is just this raw product, you have a lot to work with. If you are going to keep Jimmy (Garoppolo) ... wouldn't Trey Lance be the guy that you kind of work with, keep behind Jimmy for a year, see how it goes?"

Middlekauff adds that Jones, with the higher floor, would have to start right away. With Lance, keeping Garoppolo as the starter for at least the upcoming season makes more sense. It would give the young quarterback time to sit and learn.

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