They’re not sure who it’s going to be, but the draft gurus at ESPN certainly believe the 49ers will be drafting a quarterback in the first round come April.
Mel Kiper mocked the 49ers to make a trade with the Lions and their old friend Robert Saleh to move up to No. 7 and select Ohio State’s Justin Fields. To do so, Kiper believed the 49ers would have to give up their second rounder this year, and possibly their first rounder next year to do so.
In Todd McShay’s latest mock, he has the 49ers giving up about the same haul to move up to the No. 9 spot in a trade with Denver, this time to select Alabama quarterback Mac Jones. Jones is an interesting selection for the 49ers, primarily because his upside is seen as a rich man’s Jimmy Garoppolo. Jones excels in the short-to-intermediate passing game, a cornerstone of the Kyle Shanahan offense. It’s conceivable that because of their similar styles, Jones would sit behind and learn from Garoppolo for at least the 2021 season, something that might also motivate and elevate the play of Garoppolo.
While No. 9 might seem high for Jones, McShay believes that the first four picks in the draft will all be quarterbacks, leaving Jones as the best player available at that spot. Here’s his breakdown:
Five quarterbacks in the opening nine picks would beat the previous record of five in the first 12 selections (1999). Jones doesn’t have the rushing ability of the other four QBs, but he processes quickly, has excellent ball placement on short-to-intermediate throws and shows the ability to anticipate. He’d mesh nicely with the Niners’ quick game and could bring more balance to an offense that has run on the sixth-highest percentage of plays in the NFL since coach Kyle Shanahan took over in 2017.