John Lynch has no illusions about the monumental choice that lays ahead for the 49ers in the 2021 NFL Draft.
He and Kyle Shanahan traded future first-round picks in 2022 and 2023, along with a third-round selection in '22, to move up nine spots to No. 3 overall to select their next franchise quarterback.
Drafting normally would fall under Lynch's purview as the GM. But he and Shanahan are tied together. Given Shanahan's reputation as a quarterback guru, Lynch is willing to take a back season as it pertains to the decision that will define the duo's tenure with the 49ers.
"Ultimately someone's got to be charged with making a decision, and in this case, it's the both of us," Lynch told reporters Monday. "Everyone has in their contract 'you do this.' The draft is mine. But I told Kyle from the beginning that he and I are doing this together and when it comes to quarterbacks, I'd be foolish, I believe ... we have a head coach who's also our offensive play-caller. I will always defer to him."
From almost the minute the 49ers' made their blockbuster trade, Alabama's Mac Jones has been floated as the likely target for Shanahan and Lynch.
The 49ers' power brokers said they saw three QBs in the class with true starting potential when they made the deal, but that number has since gone up after getting looks at Jones, Trey Lance and Justin Fields over the past month.
"We think there's five guys and if one came to us at 12, I think that could've looked really good and you don't have to worry about that stuff and everyone thinks you did it right," Shanahan told reporters Monday. "But we made a decision in this process that we felt that we needed a good starting quarterback this year and add that to our team. When we sat there at 12, way back in the day, we wanted to dictate it. We also were worried maybe the one we ended up wanting doesn't fall to 12. Why don't we move up there to the spot where we could take the best look at everyone? We know we'll get one. … We feel we're gonna get the one that's best for us."
The idea of the 49ers drafting Jones, who was seen as a top-10 or top-15 pick before San Francisco moved up, has the fan base ready to throw an online tantrum come Thursday.
Shanahan understands the anxiety that comes with the excitement of the decision that lays before the 49ers. But he wants fans to do exercise something that doesn't normally apply to those who live and die with a football team: Patience.
"So, I'm happy we're going to get one that we like, that we've done it right and I hope the fans are happy with it, but the key is, ultimately, they're going to be happy based off how we do in the future, not how they feel that night, whether they won the arguments with their friends or things like that," Shanahan said.
"I hope it's the one you want, but we'll see. Basically, whoever you want that day, make that judgment later. Let's see how they help our team out," the 49ers coach later added.
With two days to go, the 49ers continue to play the process close to the vest, not wanting to let the rest of the league know who they are planning on selecting.
That tactic, if it is one, begs the question: Do they know who they plan to bet their legacy on?
"Do we know exactly who we want?" Shanahan asked rhetorically. "Maybe, probably, maybe not."