49ers trade up, draft Mac Jones in McShay's latest mock

Mac Jones, Alabama

Expect quarterbacks to fly off the board in the first round of the NFL Draft on April 29.

ESPN’s Todd McShay shared his latest mock draft Thursday and said four signal-callers will go in the top four picks.

So, where does that leave the 49ers? Their quarterback situation remains a hot topic of discussion despite John Lynch’s recent public vote of confidence in Jimmy Garoppolo.

McShay predicts San Francisco will move up from its No. 12 selection to the No. 9 spot, currently owned by the Denver Broncos, who are looking for defensive players in this offense-heavy draft pool.

“The Broncos could add something along the lines of an extra second-rounder (No. 43) and perhaps a 2022 first- or second-rounder, in addition to that No. 12 pick this year,” McShay wrote. “It's tough to tell at this point just how eager the Niners will be for a quarterback.”

Would the 49ers pay that big a price? Considering the high trade market for veterans, sacrificing one high-impact draft pick for a potential franchise quarterback seems worth it.

Even if the 49ers draft Jones, it doesn’t necessarily mean they would have to cut ties with Garoppolo. San Francisco could afford Jones’ rookie deal while still grooming him and still paying Garoppolo to start in 2021. But it would get interesting in 2022 with Garoppolo both entering a contract year and being a candidate to be traded or released, and the second-year Jones toting some NFL experience.

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Jones is widely considered the fifth-best quarterback in the draft behind Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, Justin Fields and Trey Lance. He led Alabama to the national championship in January and seems like he would fit well as a traditional pocket-passer type in Kyle Shanahan’s creative scheme. Jones also showed the ability to throw a nice deep ball in college, though it helped to be able to throw to Heisman winner DeVonta Smith.

“Five quarterbacks in the opening nine picks would beat the previous record of five in the first 12 selections (1999),” McShay wrote. “Jones doesn't have the rushing ability of the other four QBs, but he processes quickly, has excellent ball placement on short-to-intermediate throws and shows the ability to anticipate. He'd mesh nicely with the Niners' quick game and could bring more balance to an offense that has run on the sixth-highest percentage of plays in the NFL since coach Kyle Shanahan took over in 2017.”

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