With four days to go until the 2021 NFL Draft, the Mac Jones-to-49ers noise now is deafening.
Most reporters, experts and draft analysts have come around to the idea that the 49ers very well could choose Jones over Lance and Justin Fields. NBC Sports' Peter King is the latest to believe Jones will be heading from Tuscaloosa, Ala., to the Bay.
"Shanahan believes Jones is the accurate coach-on-the-field type he craves," King wrote in his "Football Morning In America" column. "As one coach in QB-prospecting mode told me this spring: 'Jones has elite NFL traits. He’s a natural thrower, is technically very sound, very accurate and throws a catchable ball. His base and mechanics are excellent.' He’s not the athlete a Lance or Fields is, but he doesn’t have feet of stone. I’ll be fascinated—we all will—if Jones is the pick. And I can see it happening."
King also noted that while the public, and 49ers fans in particular, won't be crazy about the Jones pick, Shanahan and general manager John Lynch have always been a duo that trusted their process and ignored any outside demands and criticism. As King noted, you need only look back to the 2017 NFL Draft, Shanahan and Lynch's first with the 49ers, to see how set in their ways the 49ers' power brokers are.
The 49ers, who owned the No. 2 pick, could have drafted Patrick Mahomes or Deshaun Watson, but instead traded down to No. 3 and selected Solomon Thomas. The top three players on the 49ers' board were Myles Garrett, Thomas and Reuben Foster.
The 49ers have such a belief in their scouting process that even if Thomas had been off the board, they would not have altered course at No. 3 and taken Watson.
“Had Solomon been gone, we’d have taken Foster. And been happy," Lynch told King.
The 49ers later selected Foster with the No. 31 pick in the first round.
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The 49ers face a franchise-defining decision. Sixteen months ago, Jimmy Garoppolo had led them to a Super Bowl and was 10 minutes away from possibly being named MVP.
Now, Shanahan has decided he had to go all-in to find a quarterback he believes can be truly great and can elevate his offense to new heights. Shanahan wants to win Super Bowls. Plural. He doesn't want to go to war with a good quarterback that he is tasked with making great.
He wants a partner who can become an All-Pro and maybe even a Hall of Famer. One who will be linked with him the way Bill Belichick and Tom Brady will forever be mentioned in the same sentence.
It will be Shanahan's choice and his alone. If he wants Mac Jones, then that is all that matters.