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McShay: Shanahan wants Jones, 49ers’ scouting department pushing for Lance

ESPN’s NFL Draft insider also adds that it appears likely that Jones will be the No. 3 pick.

CFP National Championship Presented by AT&T - Ohio State v Alabama Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images

The 2021 NFL Draft is just two days away, which is when we finally get our answer to which quarterback the San Francisco 49ers will take at No. 3.

The selection has been at the forefront of the football world since general manager John Lynch completed a trade with the Miami Dolphins to move up from No. 12 to third overall. We know the pick will be a quarterback and will likely be one of Mac Jones, Trey Lance or Justin Fields.

Jones has been getting the most buzz from NFL insiders to be the Niners’ pick. Lance continues to be discussed as the potential selection, while Fields is getting less hype by the day.

ESPN’s draft expert Todd McShay had an interesting tidbit in his latest piece about Thursday’s draft.

The 49ers moved up from No. 12 to No. 3 with a massive trade at the end of March, which all but locked them into a QB in Round 1. Teams don’t salvage their futures and jump nine spots into the top five to do anything else. But which quarterback will it be?

I’m told that many in the 49ers’ personnel department have pushed for North Dakota State QB Trey Lance but that coach Kyle Shanahan wants to draft Alabama’s Mac Jones. One person I spoke to even heard that Shanahan might “acquiesce” to the scouting department on the selection, but others have said that seems unlikely. At this time of year, there is a lot of seed planting in the rumor mill, and it could certainly be the case here.

What we do know is the first three picks will be quarterbacks, and it appears more than likely that Jones will be that No. 3 selection.

During Monday’s pre-draft media availability, Shanahan said, “You want to find Drew Brees that can move like Lamar Jackson.”

Some in the football world, including Peter Schrager, Jim Mora Jr. and Charlie Weis, have said Jones has similar traits to Brees. While at 6’4, 228 pounds, Lance has shown how good he is making plays with his feet during his collegiate career.

If McShay’s sources are correct about the difference of opinion between the scouting department and Shanahan, it will be fascinating to see which route the 49ers will elect to go. Lynch touched on the decision-making process during Monday’s presser and had an eye-catching quote about who will make the final decision.

“The draft is mine, but I told Kyle from the beginning that this is, he and I are doing this together. When it comes to quarterbacks, I’d be foolish, I believe, we have a head coach who’s also our offensive play caller. I will always defer to him.”

NFL analyst — and Shanahan’s good friend — Chris Simms believes Jones is the type of QB San Francisco’s head coach covets. We have seen numerous league insiders say all along that they guess that the Alabama product will be the third overall pick.

But Lance is a very intriguing prospect who has all of the physical tools to be a successful NFL quarterback.

It has been interesting to see that Fields isn’t getting as much attention in recent days. The NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported that the Niners had narrowed it down to either Fields or Lance on Sunday. ESPN’s Adam Schefter had this to say about Fields during his recent podcast.

“I would say Justin Fields has a 85, 90 percent chance of being there at Pick 6 or 7. Maybe 95 percent.”

All of the speculations will finally come to an end on Thursday.