Todd McShay 2021 NFL Mock Draft: Mac Jones to 49ers; Justin Fields to Patriots

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistApril 1, 2021

American Team quarterback Mac Jones of Alabama (10) walks the field during the end of NCAA Senior Bowl college football game in Mobile, Ala., Saturday, Jan. 30, 2021. (AP Photo/Matthew Hinton)
Matthew Hinton/Associated Press

No one knows which quarterback the San Francisco 49ers sacrificed three first-round picks to acquire with the third pick in the 2021 NFL draft. 

ESPN's Todd McShay believes it's Mac Jones.

The draft expert sent Jones to San Francisco in his mock draft released Thursday, with quarterbacks now virtual locks to go with the first three selections. Trevor Lawrence has been locked into the Jacksonville Jaguars at No. 1 for months, and it's looking increasingly like Zach Wilson will be taken by the New York Jets at No. 2.

McShay mocked two trades for the two remaining first-round quarterbacks, with Trey Lance going to the Carolina Panthers at No. 7 (via trade with the Detroit Lions) and Justin Fields going No. 11 to the New England Patriots (via trade with the New York Giants).

The 49ers have not tipped their hand on who they plan on taking with the third pick. Coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch were present for Jones' pro day at Alabama on Tuesday, forgoing a pro day held at the same time by Fields. While that may give a slight hint toward their leanings, Fields is set to have a second pro day this month, whereas this was the 49ers' last chance to see Jones throw.

"We felt pretty strongly we were gonna get left at the altar sitting there at 12," Shanahan told reporters of the decision to trade up. "There are five guys that are kind of at this party a little bit, and people are talking about them going everywhere. They're all over in the first round. Our feeling is these guys were going to go a lot higher than people realize."

Fields and Lance are still in play for the 49ers at No. 3, and it will be interesting to see how the rest of the first round plays out after they make their decision. A team that has a higher value on the quarterback the 49ers don't take will almost certainly begin working the phones with the Atlanta Falcons at No. 4. It's possible we wind up seeing four straight quarterbacks taken the first night of the draft.

Fields lasting all the way to No. 11 would be a win of the Patriots, who are set to bring back Cam Newton as their starter. Newton struggled as a passer in 2020, and Bill Belichick would likely prefer to bring in a long-term solution under center.