Arguably the biggest storyline going into the NFL Draft is what the 49ers will do with the third pick.
Justin Fields, Trey Lance and Mac Jones are the core three who will be taken there. You also never know what will happen if Zach Wilson falls to No. 3 should the Jets actually pass on him. Each quarterback has a strong case to make for why he should be drafted by the 49ers. Even Jones, despite what I and other critics of his may say.
However, Jones at No. 3 presents different challenges and one of them is the pressure. Of course, there is pressure on any rookie quarterback, and really any prospect taken, because he will continually be overanalyzed. The pressure that comes with Jones over Fields and Lance is more immense because he is not a top-three prospect.
The pressure on Shanahan will rise if the 49ers draft Jones.
Jones is a prospect who couldn't sniff the top 10 in mock drafts or any other think pieces until the 49ers traded up. Just over a month ago, a bunch of us writers at All49ers Sports Illustrated thought Jones as 12 was a possibility because no team was going to take him high.
Jones' value should be no higher than No. 15 in the draft. Personally, I believe he is good value even in the 20s. I just don't see much from him in terms of trajectory. What you see is what you get with him. Drafting him would mean nearly the same limitations the 49ers have on offense with Jimmy Garoppolo, only except Jones will be healthier and on a rookie contract.
Other than that, it makes no sense that they would trade three first-round picks and some change for the same type of quarterback as Garoppolo. I do not believe for one second that Jones will be the pick, but I am also not naïve to completely rule out the possibility that he ends up drafted at No. 3.
That is why if Shanahan does draft Jones, then the pressure is ON.
It would be one of the biggest overdrafts in recent NFL Draft memory. It is also an arrogant move by Shanahan since he will essentially be saying that he does not need the more physically gifted quarterbacks because his offense is superb.
Like how Javon Kinlaw will forever be compared to DeForest Buckner, Jones will be compared to Fields and Lance. While I do not see it likely, Shanahan could end up being a genius if it turns out Jones is a stud, or at least a player who can shoulder the burden of the offense more times than not. Should that happen, then of course everyone should kiss Shanahan's feet. He will then be viewed as a phenomenal football mind.
I just do not see it happening. Jones is a lost cause for the 49ers at No. 3 given how much draft capital they surrendered to get there. Taking Fields or Lance still garners pressure, but not nearly the same as Jones.