Weeks after trading up, the 49ers apparently still don’t know what they’re doing at No. 3

San Francisco 49ers Practice
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The first big mystery of the draft comes at No. 3, when the 49ers will choose between Alabama quarterback Mac Jones and quarterback Trey Lance. There’s another mystery that may linger for months if not years thereafter.

When and how was the pick between Jones and Lance made? Was Jones the initial target, with Lance emerging later? Did coach Kyle Shanahan want Jones, and was he outnumbered and/or outmaneuvered by others in the organization for Lance?

In 2017, Shanahan didn’t take a close look at the incoming quarterback class (which featured Patrick Mahomes) because Shanahan believed the 49ers would sign Kirk Cousins the next year in free agency. Something caused Shanahan — who initially was “in mourning” over the implosion of the Cousins plan — to accept a Garoppolo trade.

Most believe Shanahan calls the shots in San Francisco. But Shanahan also is smart enough to realize the value of keeping the peace, and of listening to those around him. He relented on Garoppolo, who took the 49ers to a Super Bowl. Will Shanahan relent on Lance, if it’s true that Shanahan wants Jones and others in the building want Lance?

It’s also possible that some in the 49ers organization are staking out a future game of I told you so, in the event Jones bombs with the 49ers and Lance becomes a star elsewhere. When it comes to Jones, plenty of people around the league don’t get it. But there’s a difference between being a great quarterback and being a great quarterback in Shanahan’s offense. Jones ostensibly is the latter.

If the pro-Lance forces win, things could get very interesting for Jones, who’d likely slide at least to No. 8 (Panthers), unless someone trades up for him, like the Patriots. If the pro-Jones movement prevails, an apples-to-apples comparison to Lance will be made until we know which, if either, pans out.

Regardless, the 49ers still need to resolve a question most assumed they’d answered before they gave up so much to get in position to use the third overall pick in the draft. Three days from now, they need to choose one or the other. Then, they’ll spend the next three years or longer wondering whether they made the right choice.

19 responses to “Weeks after trading up, the 49ers apparently still don’t know what they’re doing at No. 3

  1. Now it all makes sense why Shanahan so obviously dissed Garoppolo in the playoffs two years ago. Or why he decided to run out the clock in the first half of the Super Bowl. He never wanted the guy in the first place. The way he has coached has sure made it look like he doesn’t believe in him. If it’s true that not all is rosy behind closed doors in SF, I’m not surprised. At this level of huge egos, I’m not sure how Shanahan could forgive and forget Lynch’s obvious displeasure on national TV with Shanahan’s decision to run out the clock in the first of the SB. That’s getting shown up and, truthfully, Lynch should have known better with cameras all over the stadium. Shanahan may have his own issues, but he’s probably a better coach than Lynch is a GM and maybe the Garoppolo decision shows that. If there is a power struggle going on, SF would be better off with Shanahan winning.

  2. Maybe there are drafting Penei Sewell at No. 3? Wasn’t there a report that the 49ers tried to trade into 4-6 before finding a taker at 3?

  3. So if Shanahan was forced to accept Jimmy G as QB because the team blew the draft and couldn’t sign the guy they wanted in Free Agency, why should anyone believe that the team is going to keep Jimmy this year to “win now”? If Shanahan didn’t trust Jimmy enough to win the Super Bowl in the season he stayed on the field, odds are that Shanahan is going to want to get his rookie on the field as soon as possible. He and his daddy already went through the experience of having the QB they wanted on the field and the QB that management said they had to put out there in Washington. It went poorly and I don’t think he wants to go through that again.

  4. 1. They cannot know what they will do if they do not know who the Jaguara sna Jets may pick.
    2. They have time to study film of all the available draftees so they can take the time.
    3. Even if they have decided to target a particular quarterback, they are not going to tell anybody about it because they do not want to have to defend their choice in public and by doing so, tip the hands of teams in front of them. If Lynch or Shanahan say they decided on Mac Jones for example, Robert Saleh may tell his GM he wants Mac Jones instead of Zach Wilson.

  5. Absolutely insane if true. Committing 3 first round picks to a single guy and not having a bulletproof locked in pick who you absolutely KNOW is going to a star? Because for that kind of investment it can’t be just a good player. It would need to be a great player who you thought could be a generational type of talent.

  6. I saw film on Mac Jones and he’s going to be the pick. Mac Jones is impressive as a prospect overall. He has good tape, he has good intangibles, but it takes a high IQ and the pattern recognition skills to see why QBs flop in the NFL. Things like being drafted after ONE season good football, lack of elite arm talent, hitting their ceiling in college, etc etc etc.

    At best we’re looking at Matt Schaub, if that’s what Kyle and John are looking for in a franchise QB. Hey, have it. Good luck coming out of the NFC West, and good luck trying to win the playoffs where QB play is paramount. Now if we have that 2019 defense you can win with a Mac Jones. That’s not happening, not without an interior pass rush. But I might be wrong. We’ll see.

  7. Does nobody understand that teams aren’t just going to honestly announce what they’re planning? It’s all a shell game. Why in the world would they spill the beans and risk someone jumping in front of them?

  8. Patrick Mahomes is the second coming, we get it. The thing you need to look at is the first year for 2 OTHER Qbs. Peyton Manning and John Elway. HOF long careers. RG3 was the rage, until he wasn’t.

  9. They know exactly who they want and did when they made the trade. You don’t make that trade and not know exactly who you are drafting.

  10. 28 days after trading to 3, Shanahan’s team isn’t sure what to do next.

    Why does this sound familar, I can’t quite put a finger on it…

  11. I just find it very hard to believe that neither Mac Jones, Trey Lance, nor Justin Fields would have been available at No. 12

    When was the last time 5 QBs were all taken in the top 11?

  12. No chance they didn’t have a plan while doing that. And no chance they will entrust that hugely talented team to a rookie unless it was Lawrence, whom they can’t get. They surely have a handshake agreement with Minnesota for Cousins for that pick.

  13. No way can they not have their player set in stone. They can’t possibly be that shortsighted.

  14. Draft history shows that the QB’s don’t always get drafted in the correct order. After Lawrence, Kyle Trask might end up being the best QB.

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