NFL Network’s draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah had a conference call on Wednesday and took questions for over 90 minutes. Jeremiah may have been asked about Alabama’s Mac Jones on 20 separate occasions.
Here are the questions Jeremiah was asked about the 49ers from yours truly, Jennifer Lee Chan, Keiana Martin, Chris Biderman, and I believe Matt Maiocco snuck one in as well.
Q. You talked about Mac Jones and his fit with the 49ers and how he could succeed there, but given Kyle Shanahan’s ability to handpick his own quarterback, what’re your thoughts on the 49ers being able to look for that perfect fit for their offense compared to maybe what we’ve seen with the Chiefs and Patrick Mahomes being able to adjust your offense to the quarterback?
A: Yeah, I think that’s a great question. I think that’s the decision that they have to make. The thing that’s interesting is Kyle has that recent history of saying, I’ve been in two Super Bowls, probably should have won two Super Bowls, running this offense and operating it with this style of quarterback, and if not for — if Garoppolo doesn’t miss a throw, if Matt Ryan doesn’t take a sack, then maybe he’s got two Super Bowl rings to verify that this is the right type of guy, the right type of player to run this offense and I think we can win the ultimate prize.
I think with Andy Reid, Andy had had so much success and hadn’t been able to finish the deal, and the one Super Bowl experience he did have was with Favre, so I think in the back of his mind, as good as this offense is with an efficient, accurate quarterback, man, if I can get somebody with that next level of ability, this can go to a whole new level. So I always thought the Favre thing was in the back of Andy’s mind, and he found that, obviously, maybe more with Patrick Mahomes.
That’s why I’m intrigued to see what Kyle could do with somebody like a Trey Lance or a Justin Fields, but he’s had so much recent success and come so close to winning Super Bowls with his regular style of quarterback that Mac Jones fits into that perfectly. That to me is the decision; do you want to try and believe in what you’ve always done and continue down that path, or do you want to try and see where this can go from here, which does come with some risk, but that’s the ultimate decision they have to make.
The 49ers didn’t lose Super Bowl LIV because of one throw. That narrative needs to die. Jeremiah gives a bit of a non-answer here, so I’m going to push back. I can’t get on board with saying that Jones fits perfectly. In today’s game, it’s imperative to have a dynamic QB. Look at the conference championship games. I’d consider Tom Brady dynamic when he’s in the pocket. If you don’t, he’s an outlier because Brady is a Hall of Fame QB.
When the play breaks down for Jones, the results compared to the four other first-round quarterbacks are night and day. We spoke about that here.
Jeremiah has Jones ranked as his 32nd prospect. He was asked about the disparity between his feeling on Jones and why the 49ers might be so high on Jones. So, again, we’re in full conjecture mode and assuming the 49ers are high on Jones.
Here are the highlights from Jeremiah’s answer:
The challenge that I have is that I’m not scouting for a team. I don’t have coaches coming in and saying, This is what we value, this is what we — if we could tailor our team to what we really want to do here, this is going to help us rank our board. So I’m scouting for a generic team that doesn’t exist. So I’m going to be a little more inclined to take the guys with more upside that I think fits in more places that can do more things.
I don’t think Mac Jones fits all 32 teams. I don’t think he fits all the teams that are in the quarterback market. But I understand why the 49ers value what he does, because this is really an opportunity for San Francisco to duplicate what Mac Jones had at Alabama, which is you have a really good offensive line, you’ve got guys that can win one-on-one match-ups all over the field, and you’ve got a very creative play caller that’s going to find those match-ups and then rely on an accurate, efficient quarterback to function in that system.
Look, if he goes to the 49ers, he’s going to play well, he’s going to be a really good player there. To me I just have him behind those other quarterbacks when I rank them in terms of their ability. Personally I always like to interject there, this is what I think is going to happen, it looks like it points towards Mac Jones, but if I was there even with knowing how much they value the things that Mac is good at, I would still take Trey Lance because I think Trey is going to eventually get to the point where he can deliver all the things that Mac can deliver in terms of being able to process very quickly, make great decisions, and you’re going to be able to do more with him in terms of getting him on the move.
Accuracy-wise he trails Mac Jones, but I think there are some mechanical things you can fix with him, much like we saw with Josh Allen, and I think you could see Trey Lance get to that level. So that’s what I would do, but what I believe they will do is Mac Jones.
There was a lot of energy and time invested in Michael McCorkle on this call. Ask yourself, if we weren’t talking about him going No. 3 overall, where would Jones land? Exactly. Critical thinking, friends.
This next question is far more interesting when talking about Jones. Jeremiah was asked if Jones going No. 3 overall is Shanahan’s arrogance and stubbornness getting in the way and whether he just needs someone to do what he says under center. Here is Jeremiah’s answer:
No, look, I think if you talk to some people around the league, they would say if they take Mac Jones, that’s an arrogant decision, that’s just believing so much in your system that it is — I’ve used the line, you always hear it’s about the Jimmies and Joes, not the Xs and Os. It is I believe so much in the Xs and Os, I need somebody that can just see the game through my eyes and make those decisions. I don’t call it arrogance because I don’t know how you argue with them.
You watch the tape every week of these teams and Kyle gets guys more open than anybody else in the league and there’s a reason why so many teams are picking off guys from his tree to run that offense, because it’s the best offense there is. My thing that — I didn’t mention this earlier, and I give my move to 6, Bucky Brooks, a lot of credit on this because he’s brought up the fact that if you take Mac Jones for the Niners, and we agree he’s going to be a fit and play well there, but I don’t know you can make a case that you don’t have the fourth-best quarterback in that division and it’s going to be that way for the foreseeable future.
But I just look at it and say, Man, Trey Lance or Justin Fields could do what we saw — when Aaron Rodgers and you saw him plugged into that system and you saw him and go, Okay, Aaron has always been good, but now we have a great offense with an elite player at that position.
OK, that’s enough QB talk.
Jeremiah was asked about the 49ers second overall selection. Here’s who he thinks would be available at defensive back at No. 43:
For the 49ers at 43, some of the different areas I looked at for them — let’s see here, what did I have for the Niners? Yeah, you’re looking at corners, any type of D-linemen, to me when you’re looking agent corners in the second round, you’re going to see both the Georgia cornerbacks come off the board right around then. That’s kind of the sweet spot for them. When you talk about Tyson Campbell and Eric Stokes, I think both those guys kind of fit what they do in terms of their size and length and play making ability.
So those would be two that I would keep an eye on at that position. When you’re looking at defensive linemen, again, I don’t think it’s a great interior group, so when you’re looking at some of the edge rushers, Payton Turner, Ronnie Perkins, those guys kind of in that mix. We’ll see if one of those bigger guys were to slide. I don’t think they would get all the way down there, but Tryon, Payton Turner, Ronnie Perkins, those would be kind of three names I would keep an eye on.
I’m a little surprised that there is so much love for Stokes. He’s a fine player, but, to me, he’s more of a late third-round guy that you don’t want starting. Campbell is superior to him in every way, despite the result of a few 50/50 catches.
Tryon is a stud. If he’s anywhere near No. 43, San Francisco should strongly consider trading up for him:
Joe Tryon vs. Utah=dominant. EDGE2.— KP (@KP_Show) April 20, 2021
- wins with an inside counter/arm over from a wide-9
- next play: sack
- gladiator technique to take on pulling OL
- inside arm over for a sack
- forcing the QB off his spot
- setting the edge. good pad level/flat back
- beats RT with a hesi pic.twitter.com/gp8mOmWXcq
He’s precisely what the Niners are looking for in every aspect. Turner lacks the strength. Perkins wouldn’t be bad, but he wouldn’t be Tryon.
Speaking of Tryon, Jeremiah answered if a couple of players who opted-out would slide in the draft. He was asked if the league would punish these players or if they’d go higher than we think:
I mean, gosh, we’re going to have several opt-out guys go in the top 10. When you look at Ja’Marr Chase and the two tackles, those guys are all going. I haven’t heard anybody that’s really been overly punished for that in draft meetings. Teams haven’t viewed it — it’s obviously a unique situation. They understand it. They get it. I don’t think it has any impact.
I think the majority of them showed up at their pro days and worked out extremely well, so yeah, teams that I’ve talked to have been very comfortable with the opt-out situation. Adebo I would have just selfishly liked to have seen because he was up and down inconsistent at Stanford that last year. Everybody points to the UCF game; Gabriel Davis got him pretty good in that game. He would have been one I think could have helped himself by getting another year if we could have seen more of him, but I don’t think he’s going to fall anywhere below what he put on tape his last year.
Jeremiah was great for someone who had to sit there and give answers for over an hour and a half about every team in the NFL. Kudos to him for taking the time and giving insightful answers.