The Mac Jones to the 49ers buzz got another boost on Thursday morning.
ESPN NFL Draft guru Todd McShay released his latest mock draft, and has the 49ers selecting the Alabama quarterback with the recently acquired third overall pick.
"I'm hearing a lot of noise about Jones being the 49ers' preference," McShay writes. "He is accurate and reads the field so well, which helps assuage mobility concerns. Plus, he excels when passing in the pocket or off play-action, two staples of Shanahan's system."
Once the 49ers traded a trio of first-round picks to move up to the No. 3 pick, it became clear that the front office was eyeing a QB. Coach Kyle Shanahan attended Jones' Pro Day at Alabama in person earlier this week, and McShay isn't the first draft insider to link the Heisman finalist to the 49ers.
NFL Media's Ian Rapoport said this week that coaches and general managers around the league project NFL longevity for Jones, seeing him as a potential "10-year starter."
Outside of sure-fire No. 1 pick Trevor Lawrence, the 49ers will be doing their due diligence on each of the four QBs expected to go in the top half of the first round: BYU's Zach Wilson, Ohio State's Justin Fields, North Dakota State's Trey Lance and Jones. Recent consensus has pointed to Wilson being the Jets' ideal choice at No. 2 overall, but plenty could change over the next month until the first round begins on April 29.
ESPN's Dominique Foxworth refuses to believe that the 49ers' preference is Jones, arguing that the potential pairing of Fields with Shanahan's offense and skill players is too tantalizing to pass up.
"I imagine in my mind a Kyle Shanahan offense with Justin Fields, Brandon Aiyuk, (Raheem) Mostert, Kittle, and that dominant offensive line and I have to imagine that Kyle Shanahan sees that and gets excited. Imagine Justin Fields on the edge with George Kittle in man coverage against a linebacker," Foxworth said on "Get Up."
McShay's mock draft had two rounds on Thursday, and he sees the 49ers addressing their other most critical position of need at No. 43 overall, selecting former Kentucky cornerback Kelvin Joseph.
"San Francisco got its QB, and now it gets its cornerback," McShay writes. "I love Joseph's instinctive play and the way he can start and stop on a dime. He could slide into Richard Sherman's vacant spot."
The 49ers appeared likely to select a cornerback with the No. 12 pick before last week's blockbuster trade, so this is about as well as the first two rounds could go for general manager John Lynch and the 49ers' front office.
The smoke continues to mount around Jones being a future 49er, but plenty could change over the next four weeks.