Why 49ers target Jones not first-round talent for Bucky Brooks


As the 49ers continue to do due diligence on the top quarterbacks from this year's draft class, the name Mac Jones has been surfacing more and more as the potential preference for the front office with the No. 3 overall pick.

Coach Kyle Shanahan attended Jones' second pro day at Alabama in person last week, and reportedly "loves" the Heisman finalist. Rumors around Jones being the 49ers' ideal choice at No. 3 have been intensifying, but not everyone is as high on the signal-caller as the 49ers' front office reportedly is.

NFL Media's Bucky Brooks, a former player and scout in the league, wrote this week that he doesn't understand the hype around Jones, and isn't including him among the QB prospects he believes should be first-round selections.

"The 6-foot-3, 217-pounder doesn't display A-grade arm talent or athleticism between the lines," Brooks writes. "Jones lacks the speed, quickness and running ability to extend plays or create big gains outside of structure. Moreover, he is confined to the pocket as a statuesque signal-caller built to throw traditional dropback passes behind a fortress."

"Comparing Jones' skills to those of Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, Justin Fields and Trey Lance, there is a drastic difference between the Alabama standout and those other projected first-rounders. Jones is nowhere near the athlete of Fields or Lance, and he lacks the magical arm talent to compete with the quartet in a game of H-O-R-S-E. Although football isn't the Olympic decathlon, the modern NFL's elite quarterbacks are able to deliver "wow" plays with their arm talent and athleticism."

"If we hold Jones to that standard when it comes to quarterback play at the NFL level, the Alabama standout falls short. Far short. He is incapable of winning a shootout as a gunslinger forced to play sandlot football. With those concerns in mind, I don't know why Jones is being viewed as a first-round prospect, much less a potential top-five pick. The top of the draft should be reserved for superheroes; Jones' lack of superpowers should keep him out of that range."

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Todd McShay's latest mock draft has the 49ers selecting Jones at No. 3, and ESPN's Adam Schefter said on his podcast last week he wouldn't be surprised if the 49ers selected Jones.

Jones shot up draft boards during the 2020 season, as he led the Alabama Crimson Tide to a national championship. He threw for 4,500 yards with 41 touchdowns and four interceptions, finishing third in Heisman Trophy voting, with teammate Devonta Smith bringing home the honor.

The immense amount of NFL talent around him at Alabama has raised some questions in the draft evaluation process.

There will be plenty of misdirection from pundits and insiders through anonymous sources over the next few weeks leading up to draft day, so even if Jones is the presumptive pick one day, he might not be the next.

No one outside of the draft room truly will know for sure until the first round begins on April 29.

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