Happy draft week. Get ready to read a lot of reports like the one you’re about to read. ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler was on SportsCenter Sunday morning and said the San Francisco 49ers have concluded their pre-draft meetings and have decided who they are taking with the No. 3 overall pick:
“I’m told the work is done in Santa Clara. They have wrapped up their draft meetings officially. They’re ready to make this pick, but it’s in the hands of Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch. They’re probably not telling anybody. Nobody in that building knows and doesn’t expect to know until Thursday. But the coaches broke down Mac Jones, Justin Fields and Trey Lance this week together in a neutral process. I’m told they’ve kept an open mind with Justin Fields and Trey Lance winning them over. They had a good process, but there’s still a decent amount of buzz league-wide about Mac Jones.”
There are numerous ways to interpret what Fowler said. Some of you will get hung up on Fowler’s last couple of sentences. He’s painting the picture as if Mac Jones is a lock at No. 3.
The part we need to focus on is where Fowler said, “nobody in that building knows.” If nobody in the 49ers organization knows outside of a handful of people, then how in the world do reporters know? It’s not making sense.
Fowler’s report doesn’t tell us anything that we haven’t already known or have heard before this week. His report reinforces that Jones could be the pick, but the Niners aren’t ruling out Fields or Lance.
I’ll believe it’s Jones when Roger Goodell announces the pick.
Here is why it’s important to pay attention to other teams. On Friday, NFL Network’s/Atlanta Falcons beat writer Steve Wyche reported on NBC Sports’ Washington Football Team’s channel that many teams don’t have a high grade on Jones and believes he could slide in the draft.
Here’s Fowler’s segment:
Draft notes from @SportsCenter with @JayHarrisESPN— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) April 25, 2021
*49ers wrapping up draft meetings, QB legwork done (now up to Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch)
*Why Carolina could be tempted if Justin Fields there at 8
*Sneaky team to watch for Penei Sewell. pic.twitter.com/5A3w2WzqAt
The Carolina part stood out to me when Fowler was discussing Fields. Yes, he mentioned that teams believe the Panthers are posturing, and they’re not buying them as a serious contender for a QB.
The Panthers brass reportedly loved Fields. Then, San Francisco traded up to No. 3. Then, a week later, Carolina trades for Sam Darnold. The clues have been there all along, yet we keep falling for the smokescreens.
We heard about QB tutor John Beck working with Lance after Shanahan asked him to and made a big deal out of that — and rightfully so. Yet, we ignore that Beck has worked with Fields throughout the entire draft process? This comes after it was reported that Beck and Shanahan speak often.
Here’s a podcast I did with Josh Norris, formerly of NBC Sports’, explaining why I believe Fields is the pick and everything else is noise. Then again, it’s ignorant to rule out Lance. If I were to guess, I’d say it’s 70% Fields and 30% Lance.