Why Shanahan believes Jones shouldn't make 49ers fans anxious

/ by Josh Schrock
Presented By Big O Tires
Mac Jones

Whoever the 49ers pick at No. 3 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft will have their share of supporters and detractors. Believers and haters.

With four days to go until Decision Day, Alabama's Mac Jones does not have the support of the 49ers fan base that populates the always positive and rational Twitter. Fans are ringing their hands and screaming at the sky as they think about passing on the likes of Trey Lance or Justin Fields for a prototypical pocket passer who is viewed by many as a dinosaur.

But coach Kyle Shanahan doesn't think anxiety should be the feeling of the week as it pertains to Jones or any quarterback atop the loaded 2021 draft.

"There's five quarterbacks. Everyone should be excited to draft a quarterback," Shanahan told reporters Monday when asked why fans shouldn't be worried about Jones being the selection, if he is. "If you were excited about one of these guys at 12 then you should be excited at three. It's about whether you can get one. So let us go through the process and we are going to get a good one. I wish I could take that anxiety away from people, but that's because people get excited. ... If you were excited about 12, be excited about three. We're going to add a quarterback to our team this year. I think given the way our years have gone in the past, especially when Jimmy has gotten hurt, I think our fan base agrees with that and be happy that we are going to solve that problem this year. 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."


Jones is coming off a historic season in which he completed 77.4 percent of his passes while throwing 41 touchdowns and only four interceptions. He's an accurate passer who throws with timing and anticipation. He has a high football IQ and excels at diagnosing defenses pre-snap and moving through his reads quickly and efficiently.

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Jones doesn't have the athletic gifts or overall upside of Lance and Fields. But the NFL's move toward bigger, more athletic quarterbacks won't impact Shanahan's decision.

"But do you see five guys capable of being a starting quarterback and I do," Shanahan said. "I see them all a little differently, and you have to decide which way you want to play that and it goes off studying what they showed on tape, which is all you have to go off. If you don't do it there, then you have to go off the person and talking to them and what you think they can bring to the table. There will never be an exact answer to that. Quarterbacks can come in whatever way you want them to. Just like receivers. But there aren't 32 people in this world who can play quarterback at an acceptable level for a fan base, for a coaching staff, for a GM, there's not. So when you find a guy who can play at that level then you compare him to the next guy and see which one you want more. And you roll with it."

It seems very likely that Shanahan will roll with Jones at No. 3, forever tying his legacy to the Alabama quarterback believing he has the necessary skills to elevate the 49ers' offense to new heights and bring multiple Lombardi Trophies back to Santa Clara.

If that's the case and Shanahan is proven correct, the anxiety will subside in time and Mac Jones 49ers jerseys will become prevalent across the Bay Area from San Jose to Petaluma.

But if he's wrong, his reputation as a quarterback guru will take a massive hit and his career will be sent into a spiral.

No pressure.

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