Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports


Kiper and McShay on what the 49ers do with the No. 3 draft pick

Apr 15, 2021 at 6:05 AM--


Mac Jones is not the third-best quarterback on Mel Kiper's big board. He's not the fourth-best either. According to the ESPN analyst, the former Alabama quarterback is the fifth-best quarterback, but he could be the third player to come off the draft board on April 29.

The 2021 NFL Draft is just two weeks away, and the San Francisco 49ers own the No. 3 overall pick. If Kiper had to put a percentage on the chances of each of the three quarterback prospects expected to be available at that spot landing with the Bay Area team, he would say 80 percent to Jones, 15 percent to Justin Lance of North Dakota State, and five percent to Justin Fields of Ohio State.

"All the buzz I've heard is that 49ers general manager John Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan traded up nine spots because they covet Jones," wrote Kiper in a recent mailbag for ESPN. "They see him as the perfect fit in Shanahan's system and the quarterback to put them over the top. This is the way it works sometimes with quarterbacks -- teams find their guy, and they pull out all the stops to get him."

While Jones is the favorite among most mock drafts, Fields and Lance are seen as having higher ceilings. They bring a level of athleticism to their play, something Jones lacks. Shanahan and Lynch were in Columbus on Wednesday to watch Fields throw, and they will be in Fargo on Monday to see Lance. The national narrative certainly could change before April 29.

Kiper's colleague, Todd McShay, also believes everything is trending toward Jones to the 49ers. However, there is something in the back of his head preventing him from considering the scenario a lock.

"Everything we're hearing right now indicates Shanahan is targeting Mac Jones at No. 3, and it makes sense in a lot of ways," McShay wrote in the same feature for ESPN. "I can't shake this feeling that it's just going to play out a different way, though, and I don't think he's as talented as Lance or Fields. There will be plenty of intrigue when the 49ers are on the clock."





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