Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

49ers reporter Matt Barrows reveals his latest guess for what will happen at pick three

Apr 23, 2021 at 2:37 PM--

When longtime 49ers beat reporter Matt Barrows of The Athletic makes a guess this close to the draft on which player the team will select at pick three, it's certainly worthy of attention.

But, in this case, Barrows might not know more than most people when it comes to what the 49ers will do, even though the draft is six days away.

Barrows made his most recent selection for the 49ers in a recent beat reporter mock draft published by The Athletic. His pick was quarterback Mac Jones of Alabama, which is not the result many 49ers fans are hoping to see. Barrows talked about his choice during an appearance on KNBR radio's Papa & Lund Podcast on Friday.

"I went with Mac Jones as number three," Barrows said. "I know that's entirely unpopular with everyone listening right now... people are pulling off the road just to hate-tweet me. That's who if I had to guess what Kyle Shanahan was thinking, that's who I'd probably settle on. Now, I vacillate. I change within the hour so call me back at 2 o'clock and I might have a different answer."

Barrows went on to say later in his radio appearance that he not only did not know for sure who the 49ers would take in Round 1 but that hardly anyone else seems to know either. While many NFL writers and analysts have projected the 49ers to take Jones or North Dakota State quarterback Trey Lance, Barrows said that while he was researching a mailbag feature, he spoke to four different people over the last couple of days who feel the pick will ultimately be Ohio State quarterback and 49ers fan favorite Justin Fields.

"At the end of the conversation, I would say 'Hey, who do think the 49ers are taking?' And all four of them said Justin Fields," Barrows said. "Prior to that in previous weeks, I was getting lots of Mac Jones and Trey Lance. I mean, it's been all over the place. So, there might be a few people who know, but most people, including me, have no clue what they're going to do with that pick."

In other words, Barrows more or less confirmed what has become obvious over the past few weeks, which is that the 49ers are doing a great job of keeping their intentions close to the vest. But perhaps a hint or two will surface on Monday, which is when 49ers general manager John Lynch is scheduled to hold a pre-draft press conference with the media (12:30 p.m. PT). Barrows said during his radio interview that he'd like to ask Lynch if the team knew who they were taking at pick three and if it's the same guy they had in mind when they made the trade to acquire the selection, assuming Trevor Lawrence of Clemson and Zach Wilson of BYU go in the top two. If Lynch answered in the affirmative, then that might provide a preview of what the team will do once the first round gets underway in Cleveland on Thursday night.

"If the answer was yes, I would be more inclined to think that it's Mac Jones," Barrows said. "To me, he was the easiest assessment for Kyle Shanahan because he's doing the things in that Alabama offense that Kyle Shanahan wants to see in his own offense. I still wouldn't be real confident about it, but I think if the answer were yes, that would be a real interesting answer."

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