Kyle Shanahan finds humor in the fact that people thought he wanted Mac Jones

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The 49ers crafted a gratuitous mystery when they moved from No. 12 to No. 3 in the 2021 draft, given that they knew they ran the board after Trevor Lawrence inevitably went to the Jaguars and Zach Wilson inevitably went to the Jets.

More than a month later, coach Kyle Shanahan finds humor in the fact that they successfully caused people to believe that they made the move to get Mac Jones, not Trey Lance.

I do laugh at . . . that everyone thinks that they know exactly what I want at quarterback because I thought we had a chance to get [Kirk Cousins], the number one free agent quarterback who was going to be on the market in our second year,” Shanahan told Tim Kawakami of, via NBC Sports Bay Area. “And since we did, people just assume that’s how I would draw it up, which if you draw it up, obviously you’re going to give the guy everything. I do believe that you have to be able to win from the pocket in this league as a quarterback or it will catch up to you. But holy cow, if you can run, it makes playing from the pocket a lot easier because those defenses are going to change and stuff.”

He’s right. And he could have had a guy like that in Patrick Mahomes, with the second pick in the 2017 draft. But Shanahan was so hell bent on signing cousins in 2018 that he ignored both Mahomes and Deshaun Watson.

Personally (and at the risk of Kyle finding this annoying), I think the 49ers have freaked out a little bit (or a lot) after whiffing on Mahomes in 2017 and Tom Brady (who wanted badly to play for his hometown team) in 2020. They decided they can’t trust Jimmy Garoppolo to stay healthy, so they ultimately invested three first-round picks and a third-round pick in the ability to select Jones or Justin Fields or Lance. The fact that knowledgeable people (including Chris Simms, a former college teammate and close friend of Shanahan’s) believed it definitely was Jones means it definitely could have been Jones before Shanahan was persuaded by others in the organization to go all in with Lance.

Right or wrong, the ill-advised guessing game when there was no risk of being leapfrogged invites speculation that it was Jones before it was Lance — especially since the team did nothing to push back on the perception that it was Jones once people like Simms started saying it was Jones. Shanahan may have thought (as he’s said) that it all was an interesting case study in human dynamics. That may be the case, but it was also a piss-poor exercise by the franchise in crafting fan and media expectations.

THERE WAS NO NEED TO BE SECRETIVE, unless they traded up without truly knowing which player they planned to take. And if that’s the truth, then they did allow the Mahomes and Brady misadventures to cloud their judgment, because they could have stayed put at No. 12 and gotten Lance or Jones — especially since no one would have expected them to take either guy.

I know that this take will prompt 49ers fans to say I hate their team, just as the fans of every other team I ever criticize will say. And that’s fine. But it sure feels like the 49ers have f–ked this up, and it feels like (given the likelihood that Garoppolo will be the Week One starter for the 49er and given the very real possibility he’ll stay healthy all year like he did in 2019), they may f–k it up some more.

27 responses to “Kyle Shanahan finds humor in the fact that people thought he wanted Mac Jones

  1. Wooh! This is why I started reading this site many years ago! Less pontificating, more coach quarrels!

  2. I find it very disrespectful for him to come out and say this. He his is implying Jones was not worthy of pick no.3 and things like this can come back to hunt an organization for years to come if Lance is unable to hack it.

  3. Methinks the line about “close personal friend” to Chris Simms may not necessarily be as applicable after this article

  4. “they could have stayed put at No. 12 and gotten Lance or Jones — especially since no one would have expected them to take either guy.“


    Bingo. Kyle Shanahan isn’t the greatest.. he’s known for blowing it..

    Who woulda hired John Lynch to be their GM with zero experience..


  5. This guy is very arrogant. He’s 29-35 as a head coach at SF. This better work out fir him because he may not be there very long.

  6. “ it definitely could have been Jones before Shanahan was persuaded by others in the organization to go all in with Lance.”. So this is a set up, if Lance turns out great, Shannahan takes all the credit. If Lance turns out bad, he blames the personnel department.

  7. The entire NFC West — maybe the entire NFC — is going to wish like crap he’d drafted someone else when Trey Lance gets turned loose. Might even win one with Jimmy G first.

  8. I don’t really buy the 49ers’ excuse for not picking Mahomes or Watson because they were convinced they were going to get Kirk Cousins. I think they misjudged Mahomes and Watson like a lot of teams did and they’re using Cousins as their excuse. To me, it’s not a very good excuse anyway, because no team should expect they’re going to sign any particular free agent and not thoroughly investigate the quarterbacks in the draft. Especially when they have the 3rd pick.

  9. Shanahan, and Lynch for that matter, has to put some wins where his mouth is. That franchise continues to flounder under him. He’s overrated, simple as that.

  10. His win loss coaching record is 29-35. He has ONE winning season as the 49ers head coach. I find that funny. He better hope he chose correctly at QB. That’s a lot to give up for a kid who might not play for 2 seasons. That 2 seasons could be 3, he didn’t play his final college season either.

  11. therealraider says:
    June 13, 2021 at 8:30 pm
    He should have.. who trades 3 first round picks for a project like Lance

    46 31 Rate This


    A guy with a massive ego along with his GM who are not held accountable, paying a possible back up 25 mil

    Can’t be made up.

  12. Nobody was expecting the 49ers to take Trey Lance because the guy is more like a fourth or fifth round gamble. I’m glad Kyle finds humor. Hopefully Jed York will think it’s hilarious when the kid turns out to be a bust.

  13. 1. Kyle Shanahan knows just a little bit about QB’ing.
    2. 31 teams whiffed on Mahomes.
    3. It’s not the 49ers job to craft media expectations. And the NFL ratings were pretty darn happy about the trade and the intrigue of which QB.
    4. No, Lance would not have been there at 12. Lance was on the table for ATL, CAR, and DEN and whoever might have traded up to DET’s spot or #3 49ers weren’t interested in Jones.
    5. ‘Knowledgeable people’ who thought it was Jones were just wrong. There were a few media who got it correct, from their own sources and even before the trade.
    6. It’s ludicrous to suggest that one of the best playcallers in football who has literally lived offense his entire life would defer his QB decision to some scout. Kyle wasn’t going to give away the decision that could get him fired to somebody else.
    7. The Super Bowl is why they don’t trust Jimmy.
    8. Remember back when everybody thought RG3 was the truth. It was Kyle who saw it in Cousins. And he was right about that.
    9. There’s probably 15 teams that hope he got it wrong. So they might get a shot at hiring him.

  14. I truly hope his disrespectful comment toward Mac comes back to haunt him for YEARS to come…..

  15. The most notorious score in football—probably ever—is 28 to 3. Kyle Shanahan is the man most responsible for that embarrassment. Enough said.

  16. Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch have whiffed A LOT. Kyle shouldn’t have as much say in personnel as he does and John Lynch shouldn’t have his job at all.

  17. Kyle is one stubborn and arrogant guy. His trade for Trey Lance defines his legacy as Ditka defined his with Ricky Williams. Kyles record without Jimmy G is putrid. This was a huge gamble and as fans we hope Trey Lance is the next Mahomes. The pressure is on the kid.

  18. They could have had Mac Jones at 12, that we know for sure. But how do you know for sure that someone wouldn’t have made a move up for Trey Lance if he was still on the board before their pick?

  19. After his team got roasted by Josh Allen, Kyle Shanahan knew he had to get a quarterback with a similar skill set. Trey Lance has that mobility and athleticism with a decent arm. It all comes down to whether he is coachable to a pro style offense.

  20. Goes to show why he and lynch will be gone if they blow it with lance.
    Like they blew it with mahomes.

  21. Lighten up on Kyle, guys. He didn’t even know if Mac Jones would still be alive to take in the draft, after all.

  22. “This guy is very arrogant. He’s 29-35 as a head coach at SF. This better work out fir him because he may not be there very long.”

    He certainly doesn’t talk like a guy who blew two Super Bowls with his poor 4th quarter coaching, that’s for sure. In his mind both those losses were some fluke of bad luck where he was making all the perfect moves. Guys who don’t learn from their mistakes will just keep making them.

  23. LOL – What has Kyle Shanahan done in the NFL, and why does he get treated like he’s one of the best coaches in the league? As a head coach he’s had just one winning season and he should be known for is blowing leads in the Super Bowl twice — once as an offensive coordinator and once as a head coach.

  24. The thing is with the Lance selection, both Lynch and Shanahan have ensured their tenure for at least 2 more years while their “project QB” develops. I couldn’t tell right now if they are a good GM/coach combo or not, but if they are not, the 49ers will not only be stuck with them for several years, they will have given up their draft future to do so.

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