We are about to be overwhelmed with information, news, and nuggets as Thursday gets closer and closer. We’ve been so wrapped up in who the 49ers would select at No. 3 overall that we’ve forgotten about the elephant in the room.
In his latest FMIA, Peter King had some fascinating tidbits. King spoke to one general manager who said the Niners ruined the market by trading up. That means the cost to move up will be pricy, so don’t expect any other trades into the top 10, per King.
He also had this to say about the current 49ers starter:
It won’t surprise me if the Niners make Jimmy Garoppolo more available than he’s been. In other words, instead of trying to get a first-round pick for him, maybe considering taking a two for him. I wonder if the Patriots would deal the 46th pick in the draft, or their second-rounder in 2022, for their old friend.
Here’s how I read that: the 49ers shopped Jimmy for a first-rounder and didn’t get any bites. After getting a better feel for Garoppolo’s market, the Niners realize that a second-round pick for Jimmy G might be the best offer.
Considering the time Jimmy has missed, that’d be a trade you take every day of the week. Once you factor in Garoppolo isn’t a part of the teams’ plans moving forward, and it’s a no-brainer. That pick could be valuable, no matter if it’s for this year or next.
We saw Patriots head coach Bill Belichick speaking with the 49ers’ brass at Mac Jones’ pro day. Both parties were at Trey Lance and Justin Fields’ pro day, too. You are kidding yourself if you think these two haven’t discussed business. Whether that’s for a rookie QB — Belichick likely wanted to get an idea of who the Niners were selecting to see if he could trade up for the QB San Francisco doesn’t take — or Garoppolo.
King also mocked Mac Jones to the 49ers, saying he hears it’s a two-horse race, too. If you’re wondering if John Lynch and company care what outsiders think, here’s a blurb from King’s mock:
Hearing it’s a two-horse race with Trey Lance. Quite a few of the experts will faint if this pick happens, and then outrage will ensue, and how-could-they-pass-on-Fields-and-Lance hot takes will flood the earth. GM John Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan—with contracts that run through 2024 and 2025, respectively—do not care. They have not cared about public sentiment since taking these jobs, and this is their fifth draft. In their first, 2017, I was in the room as it happened, and these were the top three players on the board: 1 Myles Garrett, 2 Solomon Thomas, 3 Reuben Foster. With the third pick, they were sure to get one of those. But Foster? Really? No one had him that high. Lynch: “Had Solomon been gone, we’d have taken Foster. And been happy.” My point: Shanahan and Lynch won’t care what order the draftniks have the quarterbacks, or any position.
Shanahan believes Jones is the accurate coach-on-the-field type he craves. As one coach in QB-prospecting mode told me this spring: “Jones has elite NFL traits. He’s a natural thrower, is technically very sound, very accurate and throws a catchable ball. His base and mechanics are excellent.” He’s not the athlete a Lance or Fields is, but he doesn’t have feet of stone. I’ll be fascinated—we all will—if Jones is the pick. And I can see it happening.
Taking a linebacker at No. 3 overall is certainly a choice. I’d still be shocked if Jones was the selection at No. 3. Despite everything we’re being told, I don’t believe it’ll happen. If it’s Lance, he’d be the most exciting pick.
King doubled-down on Garoppolo in his Patriots blurb, saying, “Bill Belichick trading a gold mine to move up eight or 11 spots to get the quarterback of the future. I think he’s much more likely to deal for Jimmy Garoppolo (but not with a first-round pick).”
What we’re going to hear all week is that “NFL teams know better than you” or “you can’t question them because blah blah.” To that, I say, look around. Yes, it’s easy for us to do judge from afar without our jobs on the line. The NFL makes boneheaded decisions weekly. When it comes to the draft, they’ve proven each year they struggle to evaluate talent.
It’s ok to criticize or be a little wary of your favorite teams’ decisions. In the Niners’ case, whether the pick is Jones, Lance, or Fields, we might not know if either is good for another two years. That’s generally for the “good” quarterbacks. If the quarterback is a great one, especially with his surrounding parts, we’ll have an idea in the first month of the season if he’s a star.
I can’t wait.