Mobility isn’t necessarily a requirement for NFL quarterbacks to succeed, but the trait certainly becomes more valuable in a league with faster, sportier defenses. While the 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan doesn’t have to have his Josh Allen or Lamar Jackson style quarterbacks, his offense is best when the quarterback operates on bootlegs and moves the bag to manipulate the defense.
Because of this, we may be able to rule out Alabama quarterback Mac Jones as the number 3 pick of the 49ers on this year’s draft.
NFL Wire’s Doug Farrar wrote a full breakdown of how Jones, along with Trey Lance, Zach Wilson, and Justin Fields, fit in with Shanahan and San Francisco. (Editor’s note: Read it. It’s good).
Not only did the breakdown prevent frequent comparison between Jones and Kirk Cousins, but it also explained that Jones’ lack of mobility could be a major catch in a possible 49ers-Jones marriage.
I’ve seen a lot of comparisons to Kirk Cousins, and with all due respect, I have absolutely no idea what Mac Jones band these people are watching. Last season, Cousins finished fourth in the NFL with 62 dropbacks in boot action with 61 tries and completed 38 passes for 472 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions. In 2020, Mac Jones ranked 23rd in the NCAA with 23 bootback dropbacks and completed 10 of 17 passes for 123 yards, a touchdown, and an interception.
As we said earlier, boat action is an integral part of Shanahan’s offense no matter where he is, and Jones doesn’t. He’s a pocket passport. A great pocket fit, but as I wrote in my analysis of Jones in February, “It also limits Jones’ landing spots if he cannot boot. There’s no way you can get into a McVay / Shanahan / LaFleur crime if you can’t. And if you can’t play effectively with second reaction throws … well, your real estate options have only narrowed down further. “
Jones’ name will likely continue to be tied to the 49ers ahead of the design due to its accuracy and other qualities that can be valuable to San Francisco – but this inability to move is critically important.
The 49ers didn’t trade three picks on the first round to move up and pick a player who won’t offer a substantial upgrade and will change what they have. A mobility quarterback doesn’t need to lift his offense to the ceiling, so it’s very hard to imagine that he would mortgage his future for you, especially with other more dynamic playmakers available.
Options for 49er with No. 3 total selection in the draft of 2021