Kyle Shanahan laughed at pre-draft rumors linking 49ers to Mac Jones
The San Francisco 49ers successfully ran one of the most tight-lipped pre-draft processes in recent memory leading up to the 2021 NFL Draft. That led to a lot of misinformation filling the void, some of which coach Kyle Shanahan himself found funny.
The most notable of the prevailing wisdom was that Shanahan’s preferred quarterback was Mac Jones due to Jones’ pocket passing ability. As it turned out, the Niners chose Trey Lance, and had made up their mind well in advance of the draft.
Shanahan told The Athletic’s Tim Kawakami on “The TK Show” podcast that he found the constant speculation linking Jones to the 49ers funny, and that many people misread his quarterback preferences.
“I do laugh at … that everyone thinks that they know exactly what I want at quarterback because I thought we had a chance to get the number one free agent quarterback who was going to be on the market in our second year,” Shanahan said, via Alex Didion of NBC Sports Bay Area. “And since we did, people just assume that’s how I would draw it up, which if you draw it up, obviously you’re going to give the guy everything. I do believe that you have to be able to win from the pocket in this league as a quarterback or it will catch up to you. But holy cow, if you can run, it makes playing from the pocket a lot easier because those defenses are going to change and stuff.”
At some point, the prevailing narrative was that Shanahan wanted an elite pocket passer first and foremost. That may have led to the leaguewide consensus that Jones was going to go No. 3. Many were left surprised when the 49ers selected Lance instead.
If you look back at the process, Shanahan had quietly delivered a quote earlier in the process that should have been seen as more of a hint than it really was at the time. No wonder he was laughing at the Jones consensus.