After an exchange that shocked the entire football world, the 49ers drop from 12th to 3rd place in the first round. The 49ers are trying to bounce back from a disappointing 6-10 season that was marred by numerous injuries to key players. After paying off the No. 3 pick, the 49ers reportedly targeted the quarterback.

This is where the team thinks Alabama QB Mac Jones will end up.

Acquisition

Mack Jones is considered the highest ranked quarterback in the NFL, not Trevor Lawrence or Zach Wilson. Unfortunately for the 49ers, both quarterbacks will likely play on the 29th. April won’t be there anymore. That leaves Alabama as the third choice.

That year, Jones had a breakthrough with the Alabama Crimson Tide, winning the national championship from Ohio State. Jones threw for 4,500 yards, 41 touchdowns and just four interceptions. Yes, you read that right. It also achieved 77.4% of its pass rates in 2020.

Jones throws a good ball, has plenty of decision making, and just looks like an NFL quarterback. Of course, just because Alabama has a pro-style offense doesn’t mean he doesn’t have experience in a system similar to what he’ll see in the NFL. He also has above average arm strength and excels at contact throwing.

Nonetheless, Jones’ critique is worth noting.

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Low side

Unfortunately for Jones, there are many questions about his skills and professional background. Jones’ first pro day was not very impressive, he missed a lot of throws and was no more than an average quarterback. His second practice was much better, redeeming himself and reminding teams what he is capable of.

However, Jones’ ability to succeed in the NFL has been the subject of much criticism. He had elite receivers at Alabama and a dominant offensive line and running game to back him up. Still, he led Alabama to the second-best offense in the FBS last season, but many are still betting on Jones because of his talent.

It certainly doesn’t help Jones that Alabama quarterbacks rarely become NFL stars. Tua Tagovailoa has a chance to be a good starter in the NFL, but few names besides him come to mind lately. Jaylen Hurts’ transfer to Oklahoma was probably the best option in the draft, as he did not excel in Alabama’s offense. The story is not on Jones’ side, but it is more than that.

The final group of problems with the Alabama product concerns his size and athletic ability. Daniel Jeremiah of NFL Network expressed concern about Jones’ undersized size and lack of athletic ability at the position. Sure, undersized quarterbacks have excelled in the NFL, like Drew Brees, but the athleticism is worth watching. The NFL is changing, there’s no doubt about that. Even quarterbacks who are considered pocket passers are still mobile enough to avoid pressure and gain time. Based on Jeremiah’s scouting report, Jones may not have the mobility that becomes so important at the quarterback position.

Final thoughts

Mack Jones could be a good starting quarterback in the NFL, but everything will fall into place. A good example is what the Chicago Bears went through with Mitchell Trubisky. If Deshaun Watson or Patrick Mahomes had ended up in Chicago, they probably wouldn’t have been as successful as they were elsewhere, especially Mahomes. Great players aren’t always ready to become stars right away. Sometimes they need to develop in a system that works for them and have a good coach who can get them where they need to be.

In Jones’ case, there is no better situation at the top of this draft than San Francisco. Kyle Shanahan is a quarterback and offensive guru who can train Jones into a quality NFL starter. They also have an excellent defense (unfortunately decimated by injuries last season) and a solid running game to support their young quarterback. If the 49ers add some playmakers around Jones, he could have quick success with the 49ers.

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*Certainly valid for players 21 years of age and older in Illinois and Iowa.

frequently asked questions

How many picks will the 49ers have in 2021?

The 49ers received two compensatory picks Wednesday, giving San Francisco a total of nine selections in the 2021 NFL Draft.

What are the options for the 49ers in 2021?

The San Francisco 49ers got a big surprise late last week when they announced they had acquired the third pick in this year’s draft from the Miami Dolphins in exchange for the 12th pick in 2021, the first and third picks in 2022 and the first pick in 2023.

Who has the first pick in the 2021 draft?

The order of the 32 first-round selections in the NFL2021 draft has been determined: Jacksonville Jaguar picking No. 1 and New York Jet picking No. 2 2. Can both teams come up with a quarterback with their picks?

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