Why Wilson, Jones best draft QB fits for 49ers, per Simms


If 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan and the front office elect to pursue a quarterback in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft, which of the handful of prospects would be the best fit for San Francisco's scheme?

NBC Sports NFL analyst Chris Simms, a former college teammate and longtime friend of Shanahan's, identified two first-round talents who would best suit the 49ers' offense under Shanahan and coordinator Mike McDaniel.

"I think Zach Wilson is the guy he'd like the most, that's the guy for that system," Simms told Mike Florio on "Pro Football Talk Live." "The movement, the crazy deliveries, the power in the arm, all of those things."

Wilson saw dramatic improvement in his numbers during his final season at BYU, throwing for over 300 yards a game and amassing 43 total touchdowns compared to just three interceptions, all while completing 73.5 percent of his passes. He also earned a 95.5 overall grade from Pro Football Focus in 2020, the highest grade ever handed out to a quarterback in a single season.

The former Cougar is a sure-fire first-round pick, and doesn't seem likely to be available to the 49ers if they don't move up beyond the No. 12 overall selection.

Simms' other ideal fit for the Shanahan scheme is a player without many parallels to Wilson, in former Alabama signal-caller Mac Jones.

"But I also think like a Mac Jones, could fit a la a better version of Kirk Cousins in ways coming out of the draft, and could be that guy in that system too," Simms continued. "Coming out of the draft and everything like that, Mac Jones is a better thrower, a better arm than Kirk Cousins, his size is a little bit better.


"Mac Jones has this tennis background, his feet are unreal. Other than Zach Wilson, he has the best feet in the pocket to move and slide and shuffle and do all of those things within it, so those would be two guys that I think fit the way Kyle Shanahan would want to play football."

RELATED: Cousins likely off market for 49ers as Vikings double down on QB

Jones just led Alabama to a national title in January and has drawn multiple comparisons to seven-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady as a draft prospect.

As Simms alluded to, Jones' father played college tennis, and the QB can hold his own on the court.

It's becoming increasingly likely that Jimmy Garoppolo will return as the 49ers' starting quarterback in 2021, as general manager John Lynch recently reiterated his intention of keeping the 29-year-old in that role.

Addressing the secondary might be a more primary need for the 49ers in the first round of April's draft, especially if Jason Verrett and/or K'Waun Williams depart in free agency.

But some healthy competition for Garoppolo certainly wouldn't stand to hurt, and either Jones or Wilson would provide plenty of that.

Download and subscribe to the 49ers Talk Podcast