There’s been a lot of talk about the San Francisco 49ers taking Alabama quarterback Mac Jones No. 3 overall after they pulled off a blockbuster trade up the board last month.
With that said, we have absolutely no idea what San Francisco is thinking right now. It’s not leaking a thing to the media. Meanwhile, head coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch are slated to attend second pro day workouts for Justin Fields (Ohio State) and Trey Lance (North Dakota State).
If San Francisco does pass up on Mac Jones, there’s a couple of other teams incredibly high on the former Alabama quarterback leading up to the 2021 NFL Draft.
“I continue to hear the Patriots and Saints are two teams very high on Jones, and that if he did become the fifth quarterback off the board,” CBS Sports’ NFL insider Jason La Canfora reported recently.
New England could potentially move up from the 15th pick to acquire Mac Jones. The Atlanta Falcons are reportedly willing to listen to offers for the fourth selection. If the reigning Heisman finalist is available, it might make sense for Bill Belichick and Co. to pull off what would be a huge blockbuster.
As for the New Orleans Saints, they are slated to select 28th overall. Barring Jones either falling down the draft board or New Orleans pulling off a massive trade, it seems unlikely that the quarterback will land in the Bayou.
The 6-foot-3 Jones is coming off a 2020 campaign with the eventual national champion Alabama Crimson Tide that saw him record 4,500 passing yards with 41 touchdowns against four interceptions. He’s seen as a prototypical quarterback and someone who might be more pro ready than the likes of Fields and Lance. It’s with this as a backdrop, we look at the three ideal fits for Jones.
New England Patriots trade up for Mac Jones
At this rate, it’s highly unlikely that Jones will be available with the 15th pick. If he were to become the fifth quarterback off the board, New England could potentially move up to the bottom half of the top 10 to find their long-awaited heir apparent to the recently departed Tom Brady.
Jones makes absolutely perfect sense in offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels’ system. And while it appeared that Bill Belichick was not too pleased with the quarterback’s performance at the Alabama Pro Day, the head coach plays everything close to the vest. Potentially sending out next year’s first-round pick to move up with the Carolina Panthers at eight could make sense here.
San Francisco 49ers overdraft, land Mac Jones
There’s a reason why speculation has pointed in the direction of San Francisco targeting Jones after trading up to the third pick. Head coach Kyle Shanahan worked with fellow prototypical quarterbacks in that of Matt Ryan and Kirk Cousins in the past. While he’s changed his stance some, there’s certainly a fit in Shanahan’s version of the west coast offense.
As for Jones’ fit with the 49ers at three. Sure it would be an overdraft in pretty much every possible way. With that said, Jones is seen as more pro-ready than Lance of Fields. It could enable San Francisco to pull off a blockbuster trade of Jimmy Garoppolo, acquiring a first-round pick from a quarterback-needy team like the aforementioned New England Patriots.
Mac Jones lands with the Las Vegas Raiders
We know that the Raiders have been playing a public relations game with incumbent starter Derek Carr. They envision the three-time Pro Bowler as the long-term starter in Las Vegas. With that said, there’s a reason Carr has been linked in NFL trade rumors dating back to the 2020 NFL Scouting Combine. Head coach Jon Gruden is looking for an upgrade over the long-term.
Should Mac Jones land on the Raiders’ lap at 17, they might be forced to pull the trigger. He could sit behind Carr for a season while learning the nuances of the NFL. Meanwhile, Las Vegas would then be able to flip Carr for what would likely be a first-round pick in next year’s draft.