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Most Likely Mac Jones NFL Draft Destinations if 49ers Take Trey Lance

Max Staley
Three most likely Mac Jones NFL Draft destinations if the San Francisco 49ers pass at No. 3.
Three most likely Mac Jones NFL Draft destinations if the San Francisco 49ers pass at No. 3. / Alika Jenner/Getty Images

Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Mac Jones is one of the most divisive players in this year's draft. In his lone full season as a starter, Jones put up one of the most productive campaigns we've ever seen from a college QB. But he lacks the high-end physical traits that you want to see from an elite prospect, possessing a mediocre arm, below-average mobility and the middle name "McCorkle."

None of that has seemed to scare off San Francisco 49ers' head coach Kyle Shanahan, though. Holding the No. 3 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, most analysts are projecting Jones will be a 49er come Thursday night.

But the 49ers might be in the minority with their evaluation on Jones. Draft pundits seem to view Ohio State's Justin Fields and North Dakota State's Trey Lance as the superior, or at least more talented, prospects. Essentially, if Jones doesn't go to San Francisco, there's no telling where he may end up.

With that in mind, here are the three most likely destinations for Jones if the 49ers go in another direction at No. 3.

3. New England Patriots

There's a lot of buzz connecting the New England Patriots to Justin Fields right now. That seems rooted in the idea Fields is the likeliest of the five first-round passers to fall in the NFL Draft. But if Jones isn't the pick at No. 3, he'll probably take that title from Fields. Most teams seem to like Fields and Lance more than the Crimson Tide QB, so it's not insane to think Jones could fall all the way to No. 15. If he does, he could very well become a Patriot, especially given the connection between Nick Saban and Bill Belichick.

2. Carolina Panthers

The Carolina Panthers appear to be out of the QB hunt now that they've landed Sam Darnold. But it may not be so cut and dry. Carolina has been playing coy about whether or not it plans to pick up Darnold's fifth-year option, leaving the door open to draft another QB. And Jones would be a really nice fit in this offense. Panthers' OC Joe Brady put up huge numbers while coaching Joe Burrow with the LSU Tigers in 2019, and Jones is an eerily similar prospect to last year's No. 1 overall pick. Though Jones is less mobile than Burrow, both make up for a lack of high-end arm talent with elite football IQ and incredible accuracy. Both players also came into the draft after leading a historically dominant offense to a national title. Given the success he had with Burrow, it's not hard to imagine Brady vying for Jones to be the pick at No. 8.

1. Denver Broncos

One of the biggest knocks on Jones is that it's difficult to evaluate him because he was surrounded by so much talent at Alabama. But the Broncos could view that as a plus. Denver is one of the few teams that can surround him with similar weapons. He'd be throwing to studs like Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy, K.J. Hamler, and Noah Fant. The Broncos' QB doesn't need to carry this team, he just needs to get out of the way and let his playmakers go to work. That's not something Drew Lock proved capable of doing, as his 15 interceptions led the league in 2020. One of the most pro-ready passers available, Jones could be the steady hand this offense needs at No. 9.

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Max Staley is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Max Staley also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username mstaley1212. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.