Mel Kiper 2021 NFL Mock Draft: Mac Jones to 49ers; Dolphins Trade to 4 for Kyle Pitts

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVApril 13, 2021

MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA - JANUARY 11: Mac Jones #10 of the Alabama Crimson Tide smiles after the College Football Playoff National Championship football game against the Ohio State Buckeyes at Hard Rock Stadium on January 11, 2021 in Miami Gardens, Florida. The Alabama Crimson Tide defeated the Ohio State Buckeyes 52-24. (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images)
Alika Jenner/Getty Images

ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. predicted the San Francisco 49ers will select Alabama quarterback Mac Jones after making a trade with the Miami Dolphins last month to acquire the No. 3 overall pick in the 2021 NFL draft.

Kiper released his latest mock draft Tuesday morning with the top three selections being quarterbacks followed by the Dolphins moving back up in the order to target Florida tight end Kyle Pitts. Here's a look at the top five choices:

1. Jacksonville Jaguars: Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson

2. New York Jets: Zach Wilson, QB, BYU

3. San Francisco 49ers: Mac Jones, QB, Alabama

4. Miami Dolphins: Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida (mock trade)

5. Cincinnati Bengals: Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon

The Niners' selection is probably the one that's going to attract most of the attention leading up to the draft, which kicks off April 29. The Jaguars are locked into Lawrence, and all signs point toward the Jets taking Wilson with the second choice.

So San Francisco, which likely wouldn't have made the bold move up the order unless it wanted a quarterback, will have its choice of the remaining options. The other three consensus first-round signal-callers are Jones, Ohio State's Justin Fields and North Dakota State's Trey Lance.

Although the speculation has pointed toward Jones heading to the 49ers, not everyone is convinced.

"I don't buy it," an AFC executive told CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora on Monday. "I think it's Fields at three."

An NFC executive added: "I don't know one way or the other, but I have a hard time seeing Mac Jones as the third player in this draft."

Niners head coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch attended Jones' Pro Day workout in late March, and the quarterback expressed interest in joining the 2019 NFC champs.

"I'm really happy that they came," Jones told reporters. "The trade is the trade. Hopefully, I impressed them. I would love to get a chance to play anywhere in the NFL, but obviously with a great franchise like that."

Jones completed 77.4 percent of his throws for 4,500 yards with 41 touchdowns and just four interceptions while helping lead Alabama to the national title in his final college season.

Meanwhile, Pitts is also coming off a standout 2020 campaign with 12 touchdowns in eight appearances for the Gators. It wouldn't be a surprise to see him become the first non-quarterback off the board.

"You didn't see this one coming, did you? All along we've talked about the Dolphins adding weapons for Tua Tagovailoa, and Pitts is the ultimate weapon in this class," Kiper wrote. "Why couldn't they take him?"

Kiper predicted the Dolphins would send the Falcons a pair of 2022 draft picks, second- and third-rounders, to move up the two picks necessary to land the Florida tight end.

Pitts joining fellow tight end Mike Gesicki and a wide receiver group led by DeVante Parker, Will Fuller V and Preston Williams would give them no shortage of weapons to improve on their 22nd-ranked offense from 2020.

The burden would still fall on Tagovailoa to take a major step forward in his second NFL season, though.