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2021 NFL mock draft roundup: Pundits are leaning towards Jones being 49ers’ pick

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We are less than two weeks away from the 2021 NFL Draft. All eyes are on the San Francisco 49ers, who hold the No. 3 overall pick.

General manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan will continue doing their homework on the available QB prospects and will attend Trey Lance’s second pro day on Monday.

The three quarterbacks that will likely be available are Lance, Justin Fields and Mac Jones. Lynch and Shanahan have already seen both Fields and Jones in person as they try and secure their quarterback of the future.

San Francisco’s brass still has 10 days left to make its decision. Here is who some of the major media outlets have the Niners taking with the third pick in their latest mock drafts.

The Athletic has the 49ers taking Jones

The uncertainty of the 2021 draft starts at No. 3. We know it will be a quarterback, but which one? Coach Kyle Shanahan and the 49ers have seen or are scheduled to see Jones, Justin Fields and Trey Lance throw in person as the organization does due diligence on the top available passers. My initial reaction after San Francisco traded up to No. 3 was Lance, but most of the buzz points to Jones. Ultimately, any of the three quarterbacks could be the pick here and it wouldn’t be a surprise. - Dane Brugler


Pro Football Focus has the 49ers taking Fields

The draft unofficially starts at No. 3 overall, with the 49ers making one of the most impactful decisions of the past several seasons. Having traded with Miami to move up this far, the team is essentially betting three first-round picks that the quarterback they select is not only a franchise player, but a significant enough upgrade over Jimmy Garoppolo to be worth that kind of investment.

I previously wrote that I could easily imagine Alabama’s Mac Jones succeeding or even thriving in spite of limited physical tools, but I couldn’t bring myself to gamble three first-round picks on it. At that point, I think Justin Fields is just the best bet to make. He was one of the most accurate passers we have ever seen in college, put together three straight seasons of elite PFF grades and provided a rushing threat at the position that Kyle Shanahan hasn’t had since Robert Griffin III‘s rookie year in Washington. - Sam Monson


ESPN has the 49ers taking Jones

It’s hard to ignore the Jones-to-San Francisco buzz within the league. Every sign two weeks out from the draft points to general manager John Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan being infatuated with Jones. I think he’s the quarterback they traded up nine spots to take. Is he the perfect fit for Shanahan’s offense? Only time will tell. Jones is my fourth-ranked quarterback and is No. 12 on my Big Board, and I’m not sure I see a superstar when I watch him on tape. He’s solid — and extremely accurate — but not spectacular. Lynch and Shanahan are obviously taking the long view here, and this decision is going to be discussed and debated for years. - Mel Kiper Jr.


NFL.com has the 49ers taking Jones

The Alabama signal-caller is the Niners’ choice over the other top QBs remaining, Ohio State’s Justin Fields and North Dakota State’s Trey Lance. - Charles Davis


CBS Sports has the 49ers taking Jones

There’s been a recent surge for Justin Fields coming off the board in this spot, but I’m still leaning toward Kyle Shanahan going with Jones here. - Tyler Sullivan


Pro Football Network has the 49ers taking Fields

The San Francisco 49ers traded with the Miami Dolphins to move up from the 12th spot with securing their face of the franchise in mind. Who that face may be has become one of the great debates of the 2021 NFL Draft. For a solid week, Mac Jones seemed — unbelievably — to genuinely be the quarterback that the 49ers mortgaged their future for.

I choose the word unbelievably because, well, it was unbelievable — inconceivable — to me that Jones would be the No. 3 overall player, let alone quarterback in this class. Teams reach for quarterbacks all the time. That’s the nature of the business. However, reaching for a quarterback when there is a better quarterback available seems just UNBELIEVABLE!

That’s why the 49ers use the third overall pick in this 4-Round 2021 NFL Mock Draft to select Justin Fields. As far as I’m concerned, the Ohio State quarterback is the second-best quarterback in the class. I’ll go one step further and say I honestly believe he’s the third-best overall player in this class.

That’s how much I believe in Fields. He’s a quarterback who’s accurate, intelligent, and can drive a ball downfield while possessing incredible athleticism to be able to extend plays when everything starts to break down. Add in an existing relationship with 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan, and it feels like a match made in heaven. - Oliver Hodgkinson


A majority of draft pundits believe San Francisco will go with Jones, although he has his fair share of detractors as well. The Alabama product doesn’t have the raw athletic ability of Fields and Lance, but some believe his intangibles will make him a successful NFL QB.

Lynch and Shanahan have done a great job of not tipping their hand. The Niners’ selection will set the tone for the remainder of the first round. Many organizations are looking to select one of the available signal-callers, and we could see a team like the New England Patriots try and trade up into the top five to nab their preferred prospect.

The good news is that we don’t have to wait too much longer to find out who will be the face of the 49ers for the long term.