Adam Schefter Says Mac Jones Will Be 49ers' Pick at No. 3 in 2021 NFL Draft

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistApril 6, 2021

Alabama quarterback Mac Jones (10) talks with head coach Nick Saban during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Auburn, Saturday, Nov. 30, 2019, in Auburn, Ala. Auburn won 48-45. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)
Butch Dill/Associated Press

The San Francisco 49ers will reportedly select Alabama quarterback Mac Jones with the third pick in the 2021 NFL draft April 29.

"It'll be Mac Jones," ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Tuesday on DiPietro, Canty and Rothenberg. "... I believe that in the end they will pick Mac Jones at three, that'll be the pick, and they will keep Jimmy Garoppolo this year."

The Niners traded with the Miami Dolphins to acquire the No. 3 pick, a surefire sign they are looking to land a potential franchise quarterback.

With everything pointing toward the Jacksonville Jaguars' taking Clemson's Trevor Lawrence first and the New York Jets choosing BYU's Zach Wilson second, the 49ers would then have their choice of the remaining options from the highly touted group.

Jones, Ohio State's Justin Fields and North Dakota State's Trey Lance would be in play.

While Schefter suggested San Francisco is leaning toward Jones, the team's brass didn't tip its hand during a recent visit to watch the 2020 Davey O'Brien Award winner throw during Alabama's pro day.

Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban said Tuesday neither Niners head coach Kyle Shanahan nor general manager John Lynch asked about Jones during the showcase last week.

"[Shanahan] didn't ask me a thing. I stood right next to him," Saban said Tuesday on The Dan Patrick Show. "I said hi to him. John Lynch too. They didn't ask me a thing. Maybe they thought they weren't allowed to."

Jones took over the offense late in the 2019 season following Tua Tagovailoa's injury, and he parlayed that into a monster junior campaign in 2020.

He completed 77.4 percent of his throws for 4,500 yards with 41 touchdowns and just four interceptions in 13 games as Bama went undefeated en route to winning the national title.

If he does land with San Francisco and it also keeps Garoppolo, the key question will become whether there will be a competition in training camp or if the Niners plan to let Jones watch from the sideline as a rookie.

That said, it's become increasingly rare for quarterbacks drafted early—especially those selected inside the top 10—to remain in backup roles for long. So Jones would likely take the reins at some point in 2021, even if it doesn't happen before Week 1.