Report: 49ers implied to Mac Jones he was their target in first round


What would the New England Patriots roster, and more specifically, the quarterback position, look like without Mac Jones?

We'd be seeing that scenario unfold if the San Francisco 49ers had selected the Alabama quarterback with the No. 3 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.

The 49ers needed a quarterback and traded three first-round picks to the Miami Dolphins as part of a deal to move up from No. 12 to No. 3 in the first round. It was a significant price to pay, to say the least.

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There were plenty of rumors, speculation and debate over whether the 49ers would take Jones.

The Athletic's Jeff Howe provided some context in a story written Thursday.

"Meanwhile, 49ers decision-makers implied to Jones during pre-draft interviews that he was their target, according to sources," Howe writes. "The 49ers also did a heavy amount of background work on Jones, speaking to coaches as far back as his high school days in Jacksonville, Fla."

The 49ers ultimately opted for North Dakota State quarterback Trey Lance at No. 3 overall. Jones slid all the way to No. 15, where the Patriots took him off the board.

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Our Tom E. Curran recently caught up with former Patriots offensive coordinator Charlie Weis, who had an opinion on the Niners' pre-draft interest in Jones.

"I really thought (Jones) was going third. I really did. I thought San Francisco was taking him third," Weis told Curran. "I think they made that move to take him third. That's what I think. I think when they did all these workouts and got enamored with Trey Lance -- who might turn out to be a wonderful quarterback -- but I can't imagine they made that move with all that collateral, all that juice, to go get Trey Lance. I can't imagine that being the case."


Jones was named the starter in Patriots training camp, beating out veteran Cam Newton for the job. He's been very accurate in his first two starts, completing 73.9 percent of his pass attempts with zero turnovers.

The early results from Jones have been positive.

Lance, meanwhile, has not yet overtaken Jimmy Garoppolo on San Francisco's QB depth chart. He's thrown one pass through two games -- a 5-yard touchdown in Week 1

It's way too early to critique the 49ers' decision to draft Lance over Jones. But there's no question their careers will always be compared and contrasted after how the 2021 draft unfolded.