— Sunday Night Football on NBC (@SNFonNBC) March 29, 2021
One month, folks. That’s all that remains between now and the NFL Draft, which begins on April 29. The San Francisco 49ers are drafting their quarterback of the future with the No. 3 overall pick, meaning Jimmy Garoppolo, whether now, or at some point in the future, will be gone.
What’s happened since the 49ers have traded up is that a debate over the three potential draft candidates has erupted. It’s either Justin Fields, Trey Lance or Mac Jones (unless the Jets pass on Zach Wilson). In Fields and Lance you have massive athletic potential, elite arm talent, and intangible traits that aren’t easy to find. In Jones, you’ve got a guy who delivers the ball on time, can move through progressions well, and possesses subpar athleticism. He’s an old school pocket passer.
In an era in which the dominant quarterbacks are quickly becoming the dual-threat ones, who can at least get outside of the pocket and extend plays, with vision and arm talent to create outside of the structure of the offense, why would you trade up for a Jake Delhomme-type in Mac Jones? Chris Simms, good friend of Kyle Shanahan, explained why he thinks the 49ers will draft Jones, and it essentially boils down to him being NFL ready.
His thesis is based on the here-and-now, not long-term upside, saying that Jones is great at “reading NFL defenses and being able to do NFL offense type of of stuff,” whatever that entails.
“I think it’s Mac Jones, I do,” Simms said. “don’t know that, but just knowing my friend, knowing his history, knowing his school of thought to make that type of move, that’s the one that makes sense to me. I think he makes sense to him because I think after Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson… he’s the most NFL-ready.
“Mac Jones is NFL-ready right now. And I think that’s the kind of guy you trade up to number three to get. You don’t trade up to a Trey Lance, well, he’s got great talent but we’re not sure, it’s a little bit of a gamble. There’s some things that we got to help him out with and grow his technique and figure those types of things out, and I think that goes with Justin Fields, too, that it’s a little bit more of a project.
“I don’t think you trade up to a number three pick for that kind of guy. I think you trade up for a number three pick where you go, no, I kind of think this guy if I had to, could start and play this year, ready to go, Week 1, and that to me smells Mac Jones.”
Simms continued to liken Jones to Matt Ryan, saying that he believe Shanahan views him as a quarterback he can quickly win a Super Bowl with.
“I think he’s sitting there going, ‘I think this guy’s just like that,'” Simms said. “He’s talented like Matt Ryan, and he can dice you up with his arm and his brain, his decision making. And the athleticism is enough for him to do the boots and play-action for my offense. And if you give me a crack of more than two years with a quarterback like that, I think he thinks, ‘I’m going to win a Super Bowl.’ And I think that’s ultimately why he makes that type of decision. And I like I said, I will be shocked if it’s not Mac Jones at No. 3. I really would be.”
What’s great about the next month is you’ll only have more and more people providing takes on why it has to be Jones, why it has to be Fields, why it has to be Lance. That should tell you that at this point, no one really knows who the 49ers are taking.