Coach Kyle Shanahan is not a big fan of pro days or staged workouts.
But four days after the 49ers traded up for the No. 3 overall pick, Shanahan and 49ers general manager John Lynch were in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, to watch quarterback Mac Jones and his many NFL-caliber teammate showcase their skills at a second pro day.
The top 49ers’ decision-makers opted to watch Jones, whom appears to be the leading candidate for the 49ers to select with the No. 3 overall pick.
On that same day, Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields was being paced through an impressive pro day in Columbus, Ohio. Shanahan and Lynch could catch up with Fields as early as next week to see him in person.
Shanahan and Lynch could catch up with Fields as early as next week to see him in person.
Fieds, Jones and Trey Lance appear to be the 49ers’ options with the No. 3 overall pick to eventually replace Jimmy Garoppolo as the team’s starting quarterback. Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson appear ticketed to Jacksonville and the New York Jets, respectively, with the first two picks in the draft.
On Monday, we took a look at Fields, with the input from three long-time NFL scouts. Those same three scouts share their opinions today of Jones.
Michael McCorkle “Mac” Jones started 17 games in his Alabama career and was the Davey O’Brien Award winner last season while setting the NCAA record for completion percentage. Here is his scouting report:
Height: 6-foot-3 Weight: 217 pounds
In 13 games in 2020, Jones completed 311 of 402 pass attempts (77.4 percent) for 4,500 yards with 41 touchdowns and four interceptions.
First round: From No. 3 to No. 10
WHY HE FITS WITH 49ERS
Jones possesses two attributes that Shanahan most values in a quarterback: Anticipation and accuracy.
Shanahan draws up the offense, and he expects his quarterback to be automatic when it comes to executing a certain play against a particular defense.
Moreover, Jones was the best among this class of quarterbacks under pressure and when being blitzed, according to ESPN Stats & Info. The 49ers strive for big yards after the catch from their receivers and tight ends, and Jones can put the ball on his target without that player breaking stride.
The biggest thing, however, might be Jones’ feel for unloading passes to receivers as they are getting open instead of after they’ve already broken into the clear.
There is no such thing as an NFL-ready rookie quarterback, but Jones’ learning curve appears less steep than some of the others. While not considered an elite athlete, he is good in the pocket at stepping up or sliding to one side or another to create room to throw.
WHY HE DOES NOT FIT WITH 49ERS
If the 49ers are looking for a player with a cannon for an arm or the mobility to break outside the pocket and make big plays with his arm or legs, Jones is not the guy.
Jones is a traditional pocket passer at a time when such quarterbacks as Patrick Mahomes, Deshaun Watson and Josh Allen seem to be en vogue around the NFL.
Jones is not the kind of player who can take a team on his back and lead it to victory when the rest of the club is playing at a sub-par level.
He is a facilitator who will not be able to make something out of nothing unlike, perhaps, some of the other quarterbacks who will be available with the No. 3 overall pick. The 49ers also will have to spend some time looking into a DUI arrest from 2017, when he was a freshman in college.
WHAT SCOUTS ARE SAYING
“He’s a system guy. He had NFL players at running back, offensive line and wide receiver at Alabama.”
“Nice player. Doesn’t have the strongest arm. Smart. Accurate. Game manager.”
“Kyle Shanahan wants this kind of guy.”
“Everything lines up for the 49ers.”
“Players love him. Coaches love him.”
“He protects the ball and does all the right things at the right times.”
“He understands his strengths and weaknesses and plays to them.”
“His arm is below average. He pushes the ball.”
“From what I see, he is a long-term NFL backup.”
“If your team is not right on that day, you’re not going to go ahead and win the game with him at quarterback.”
“He’ll put you in situations to not get yourself beat. And that’s a great feeling for a head coach.”
“He is prototypical. He’s going to control the game and make a lot more positive plays than negative plays.”
“How long is it going to take him to come back from injuries? Guys who are built like him, it takes extra time.”
“If the 49ers are leaning on Mac Jones being the guy, they understand how important everyone around him has to be to have success. He’s not John Elway. He’s not Brett Favre.”
“Mac Jones will come in and know that offense inside and out.”