As the debate over the 49ers’ options with the third pick in the 2021 NFL Draft heats up, Chris Simms plants his flag.
Simms, an analyst at NBC Sports and a longtime friend of Kyle Shanahan, believes Mac Jones will be a more adaptable professional than Justin Fields.
“Justin Fields, it translates into the NFL game, but you’re going to have to play him a certain way,” Simms told NBC Sports’ Ahmed Fareed. “Mac Jones can play the position from any offense other than Lamar Jackson, and do whatever he wants and in and out of huddles and check plays, let alone make the right reading and hit one big pitch after another, and that. it’s the value in what people are seeing with Mac Jones. “
Jones was extremely accurate in his only full season as Alabama’s starting quarterback, leading Crimson Tide to a national championship last season while connecting 77.4 percent of his passes. He certainly got some help from Heisman Trophy-winning wide receiver Devonta Smith, not to mention two other expected first-round picks in wide receiver Jaylen Waddle and offensive lineman Landon Dickerson.
Jones and Crimson Tide defeated Fields and Ohio State Buckeyes in the national championship game. Fields came out of high school as the nation’s top double-threat quarterback, and he lived up to that college hype. He didn’t rush for less than 250 yards in each of his three seasons, even though he only started a full 12-game season just once.
Jimmy Garoppolo, a product of FCS and a second-round draft pick, has thrived when healthy on Shanahan’s 49ers offense. Given that, it’s not hard to imagine someone as talented as Jones or Fields succeeding with Shanahan.
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Jones has been linked to the 49ers in more and more mock drafts since they rose from No. 12 to No. 3. ESPN’s Adam Schefter said Tuesday that he believes the 49ers plan to select Jones, based on what he’s been hearing.
But as many 49ers experts and fans have pointed out, no one had any idea or suspicion that the team was putting together a trade for the third pick until Schefter broke the news on the morning of March 26.
This isn’t a leak-prone front office, so the rising smoke surrounding Jones as the 49ers’ preferred pick could be another prime example of smoke screen season.
Not a single person, not even Shanahan or 49ers general manager John Lynch, really knows which of these quarterbacks would do better in a Shanahan-designed offense. It’s all speculation and projection until the ball is thrown in the 2021 NFL season.
But with 23 days until the first round starts from Cleveland, there will be no shortage of opinions and anonymous sources on their televisions and timelines.
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