The 49ers avoided quarterback Mitchell Trubisky once when they traded back from the No. 2 pick in the 2017 draft and let the Bears take the North Carolina signal caller. Unfortunately for San Francisco, they wound up with defensive lineman Solomon Thomas, who had an unremarkable four years in the Bay Area. Patrick Mahomes went 10th to the Chiefs later in that draft. Deshaun Watson was in Houston two picks later.
Now the 49ers find themselves with the No. 3 overall pick again and a chance to rectify the mistake they made when they skipped Mahomes and Watson. With Alabama quarterback Mac Jones the name most often connected to the 49ers, Draft Wire’s Luke Easterling worries the 49ers might be setting themselves up to repeat the history of the 2017 draft.
Easterling in his latest mock switched his selection for the 49ers from North Dakota State’s Trey Lance to Jones, and invoked Trubisky’s name when trying to sort out why the 49ers would go this route after trading up:
I’ll be honest: This one doesn’t make sense to me. Yes, Jones has starting-caliber tools, but trading multiple first-round picks to get up this high, only to take Jones over (Ohio State QB Justin) Fields and North Dakota State’s Trey Lance is a head-scratcher. That said, it’s a match that seems to be picking up steam, and it won’t be surprising if it happens. It feels like trading up for Mitchell Trubisky instead of Deshaun Watson or Patrick Mahomes to me, though.
This would be a nightmare for the 49ers and head coach Kyle Shanahan.
Passing up on Watson and Mahomes in 2017 as part of a team-building philosophy that pushed quarterback down the priority list until there were more quality players on the roster is excusable in theory. It obviously did not work, but the theory is understandable.
Skipping on potential star power under center again in favor of the Trubisky-esque passer in 2021 when they have a Super Bowl-caliber roster would be less forgivable, and nigh catastrophic.
If Jones is the pick, the 49ers have to hope he’s far and away the best quarterback in the class while the other quarterbacks they passed on don’t live up to the pre-draft hype that left so many wondering why they weren’t the pick.
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