Mac Jones is perfectly alright, but the 49ers might be better off spending the No. 3 pick on someone else.
A week removed from their move up from No. 12 to No. 3 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft, the San Francisco 49ers clearly have a quarterback on their mind. The signs point to Mac Jones being that quarterback, including head coach Kyle Shanahan and GM John Lynch being at Alabama’s pro day this week while assistant GM Adam Peters was at Ohio State to watch Justin Fields.
If the 49ers end up keeping Jimmy Garoppolo, the theoretical urgency to have a rookie quarterback step right in is diminished. At least until Garoppolo suffers his next injury. That opens the door to a quarterback other than the “pro-ready” Jones at No. 3, or they could take someone at another position entirely if they think they can circle back to a quarterback of their liking in Round 2.
Apart from any notion he’s an ideal fit for the 49ers, some draft analysts consider Jones to a real reach at No. 3. And according to Dan Patrick, the 49ers may themselves be divided on Jones. So here are three guys they should take instead.
3 players the 49ers should draft instead of Mac Jones
With George Kittle in place as one of NFL’s best tight ends, this would be quite to shocking pivot for the 49ers. But as great as he is, Kittle also gets banged up a lot and San Francisco’s passing game suffers greatly for his absence.
Some think Pitts belongs among the best pass catchers in this draft, and the idea he’ll be a top-5 pick backs it up. He can line up all over the field, creating mismatch nightmares for defensive coordinators based on his size/speed combo. Shanahan would surely love to have a piece like that in his offense. Getting a quarterback of the future may just have to wait.