The San Francisco 49ers are the most interesting team in football (for now) after trading all the way up to the No. 3 spot in the 2021 NFL Draft. The general public has a pretty good idea of how the first two picks will go: Trevor Lawrence to the Jaguars and Zach Wilson to the Jets. When the Niners are on the clock, nobody knows what they’ll do, although we can narrow it down slightly. San Fran only makes this move to pick a quarterback, so while we are unsure which it will be, a signal-caller will go off the board for the third pick.
Monday morning brought a rush of rumors suggesting that Mac Jones would be the quarterback selected by Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch. This came as a surprise because Jones is widely ranked below the top-four of Lawrence, Wilson, Justin Fields, and Trey Lance in just about every ranking of the QB prospect pool this year. Chris Simms over at NBC Sports took this doubt as his cue to chime in that Jones is actually the perfect prospect for Shanahan’s system and we shouldn’t be surprised if San Francisco gave up all it did just for the privilege of selecting Jones.
He had previously said as much when the trade went down on Friday.
Shanahan spoke to reporters today for the first time since the trade. The topic of the day was obviously what the Niners were going to do with their shiny new high draft pick, and Shanahan was appropriately vague in his responses. No tip-off about which direction he or his team was leaning. He was then asked if Simms knew what Shanahan was going to do.
Suffice to say, Shanahan did not tell Simms what the team is planning.
Normally, this would be a silly question to ask an NFL head coach. Of course Shanahan isn’t tipping his hand to a media member, and even if he was he certainly would not admit to it in a public forum. That’s what I thought before I learned that Simms and Shanahan, who played together in college at Texas, have tattoos of each other’s initials!
But college camaraderie does not make for an information pipeline from the 49ers building to the NBC studios. It is worth noting (or perhaps not) that Shanahan has, in fact, talked to Simms more recently than “a couple years.” Shanahan was a guest on Simms’ Unbuttoned podcast in July 2020. In Shanahan’s defense we can all agree that the last 12 months have felt more like 12 years.