- Alabama quarterback Mac Jones is now the +125 favorite to be the third player chosen in the 2021 NFL Draft
- Last week, the San Francisco 49ers traded with the Miami Dolphins to acquire the third overall pick
- NBC NFL analyst and QB guru Chris Simms believes the Niners did so to get Jones
If you’ve been keeping up with the 2021 NFL Draft update, you know that the stock of Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Mac Jones is rising rapidly. Moreover, the San Francisco 49ers just traded up for the third overall pick.
He’s not exactly #1 with a bullet, but if the NFL Draft were the Olympics, Jones would be in line for a podium finish. The latest projections in the NFL Draft odds are establishing Jones as the favorite to be the third player chosen on draft day. Jones is listed at +125 to be selected third overall.
Get these odds at DraftKings.
2021 NFL Draft Third Overall Pick Odds
|Player||Odds at DraftKings|
Odds as of Mar 29.
Not so long ago, there was a prop on when the Alabama QB would be picked. The total bar at the time was set at 18.5.
Niners Are Picking a QB
First of all, let’s be clear – the 49ers are intent on selecting a QB with the third overall selection. A team isn’t trading up three picks in the draft to get to #3 in order to draft a tackle or a tight end. They’re looking for a guy to build their future around.
All indications are that the guy they are targeting is Jones. According to NBC’s Peter King, either 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan or GM John Lynch will be attending Jones’ second pro day on Tuesday. At the same time, the Niners will be sending assistant GM Adam Peters to Tuesday’s pro day being conducted by Ohio State QB Justin Fields.
Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch are skipping Justin Fields' pro day on Tuesday to go to Mac Jones' instead, per @peter_king.
There seems to be a little bit more smoke to this speculation of Jones going 3rd overall with each passing day. pic.twitter.com/dCt5DmK97Z
— Brett Kollmann (@BrettKollmann) March 29, 2021
Then again, the San Fran brass is known to be masters of misdirection when it comes to NFL drafting. In 2017, Shanahan was in attendance for Mitch Trubisky’s pro day, but the team ended up opting to pass on Trubisky.
Two years later, the team was telling people that they felt Quinnen Williams was the better defensive lineman than Nick Bosa, but it was the latter that the Niners took with their first-round selection.
This type of gamesmanship runs in the Shanahan family. In 2006, when the Denver Broncos held the first overall pick in the draft, Shanahan’s father Mike, then Denver’s head coach, never once mentioned QB Jay Cutler. Yet when the Broncos stepped up to the podium on draft night, it was Cutler’s name that they called.
Simms a Mac Man
Considered one of the finest assessors of QBs among the current NFL media, NBC’s Chris Simms, himself a former NFL QB, believes that Mac Jones is the best fit for the 49ers system. He’s convinced that’s why San Francisco traded up to ensure they’d be landing the Alabama QB.
Kyle Shanahan gets the most out of QBs who trust his system and make the right reads:
Matt Schaub 2009 passing champ
Kirk Cousins w Wash
Matt Ryan 2016 MVP
Mac Jones is an ideal QB for that mold, more on par with Ryan
— Chris Simms (@CSimmsQB) March 29, 2021
Simms points out that Shanahan traditionally gets the most out of QBs who are trusting in his system and are capable of making the right reads. As examples, he’s citing 2009 NFL passing champion Matt Schaub 2009, Kirk Cousins during his time with Washington, and Matt Ryan’s 2016 MVP campaign with Atlanta.
He’s certain that among this year’s crop of college QBs, Jones is the QB best suited to this role. It’s also worth noting that Simms and Shanahan are close friends.
Jones On Mac Jones
Another QB guru in the Mac Jones’ corner is his namesake, longtime NFL coach June Jones. He’s convinced that the Alabama signal caller is the QB in this year’s draft, who will make the best NFL starter.
Coach June Jones said Mac Jones’ accuracy down the field is as good as any quarterback he has seen in 50 years of being involved with football
— Ryan C. Fowler (@RyanCFowler) February 18, 2021
June Jones thinks that Mac Jones’ vertical throws are as accurate as many current NFL QBs.
Who Should You Believe?
Former NFL QB Sage Rosenfels, another QB mentor, is among the grup who are certain that all this Jones to SF talk is a smokescreen.
It’s let’s-all-convince-each-other-Mac-Jones-is-a-star time of the draft season. Sheep follow sheep
— Pete Prisco (@PriscoCBS) March 29, 2021
Then again, after watching the Dwayne Haskins fiasco in Washington, is a team really trading up to get Fields? Unless the Niners know that the New York Jets aren’t taking BYU QB Zach Wilson at #2, then it has to be Mac Jones.
Pick: Mac Jones (+125)