For weeks, the betting favorite to get drafted by the San Francisco 49ers with the No. 3 pick was Mac Jones. Now it's Justin Fields.
Fields had another Pro Day, that's what. He was the center of the media's attention for a week. Simple as that.
When Jones was the betting favorite, lots of fans said he was a mere smokescreen. The 49ers don't leak their intentions, they said. The fact that so many reputable reporters thought the 49ers would take Jones only proved they won't take him, they said.
And then, a couple weeks before the draft, Fields suddenly became the odds-on favorite to go to the 49ers. And most fans didn't question this new development, because most fans want the 49ers to draft Fields.
But if any report is a smokescreen, wouldn't the one that comes out right before the draft be it? Everyone in the know thought for weeks the 49ers would take Jones, and then right before the draft the say the 49ers have changed their minds?
Do teams change their minds this late in the draft process? Did the 49ers suddenly have an epiphany about Fields? Are we to believe Kyle Shanahan sat in his room and lit candles and fasted and came to the realization that he was all wrong about Jones and that Fields was perfect for his offense?
I don't think teams work that way.
This all reminds me of two years ago when everyone knew for months the 49ers would take Nick Bosa, until two weeks before the draft when some experts changed their mind and projected Quinnen Williams would be the pick. Bosa had liked some politically-incorrect social media posts, and people wondered if the 49ers would draft him.
The 49ers drafted him.
Sound familiar? Mac Jones seems to be this year's Bosa.
So why the Justin Fields smokescreen, if it is a smokescreen?
It seems to me the 49ers' preferred outcome is to trick the Jets into drafting anyone but Zach Wilson. If the Jets take Fields, good. If they take Jones, good.
But if the Jets take Wilson, I'm guessing the 49ers will draft Jones, just as the experts predicted before they changed their minds.