Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

GM offers an interesting assessment of potential 49ers draft target Mac Jones

Apr 26, 2021 at 4:06 PM--

Much of the San Francisco 49ers-related draft discussion between now and Thursday will involve Mac Jones of Alabama. Monday's press conference with general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan has left many fans feeling that Jones is the likely pick at No. 3. While that may be disheartening for much of the fanbase, the decision ultimately comes down to what Shanahan wants for his offense.

If the coach feels Jones being at the helm gives the 49ers the best chance to win future championships, that will be the pick. No amount of fan pushback will change that.

Maybe Shanahan and Lynch are pulling off the ultimate bluff and setting fans up for a draft-day surprise. Or maybe it is indeed Jones.

Jones could be successful. He may not be the exciting prospect that the fanbase is clamoring for, but that doesn't mean he won't find success in the NFL. Whether it is successful enough to warrant surrendering multiple future first-round picks and a third-rounder will be determined.

Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated spoke with one NFL general manager — probably not named "Lynch" — about Jones. The executive had some good things to say about the former Crimson Tide quarterback.

"We've discounted the pocket passer, and we're discounting him, because there are so many unique athletes that play the position now," the general manager told Breer. "But this guy's good. He's deadly accurate. He doesn't have a powerful arm, but it's plenty good enough. He needs players around him, he needs really good players, and he was driving a Cadillac at Bama. But he can play."

Jones is seen as the most pro-ready of the three quarterback prospects likely to be available at No. 3, including Justin Fields of Ohio State and Trey Lance of North Dakota State. Fields and Lance, however, are seen as having higher ceilings. While Fields and Lance may struggle at first, teams could be happy with each's long-term outlook.

Breer's conversation with the unnamed general manager left him feeling the opposite might be true of Jones.

"So when I add all this up, really, what I come away with is that Jones will probably make a team happy in Years 2 and 3," wrote Breer, "but I'd be a little worried that in Year 5 or 6, he might leave them wanting more from the position."

That's the concern that has The Faithful anxious about the potential selection.

Breer also commented on the level of secrecy the 49ers have been maintaining when it comes to their top selection, especially considering the two picks ahead of them may be the worst-kept secrets in the NFL. It may not all be Shanahan and Lynch's fault, though.

"The league office has routinely warned teams at the top over the years about killing the drama of draft night by letting the cat out of the bag," wrote Breer. "I think that's a little dumb, given that we've known Lawrence was going to be the first pick in the 2021 draft for more than two years now. But doing things like protecting their TV shows is one reason why they print money in that corner of midtown Manhattan, so good for them, I guess."

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