Mel Kiper Jr. has Alabama signal caller Mac Jones headed to the San Francisco 49ers in his most recent mock draft, despite believing personally that Ohio State’s Justin Fields is the better choice.
Why? Believe it or not, it’s because Kiper sees a clear comparison between Jones and a young Tom Brady — one he believes the 49ers decision makers recognize as well.
“You can say super-super intelligent, super-super accurate, super competitive, then that’s all the things that allowed Tom Brady to be successful,” Kiper told reporters on a Thursday conference call.
“That’s not saying he’s going to be Tom Brady-successful,” Kiper continued. “And that’s not saying he’s going to be Tom Brady. (Brady) is the greatest of all time. But who thought he was going to be anywhere close to that when he was a late sixth-round pick out of Michigan?”
Kiper said Wednesday on ESPN’s morning show Get Up that the 49ers are “locked in” on Jones, despite recent hype surrounding other draft prospects, namely Fields.
Kiper Would Not Draft Jones With Third Pick
If Kiper were in 49ers Head Coach Kyle Shanahan’s shoes, he would not select the signal caller out of Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
During the same conference call in which Kiper compared Jones to Brady, he also said that he believes Fields is the second best quarterback in the class behind only Trevor Lawrence of Clemson, who is as close to a sure fire first pick in the upcoming draft as they come.
“I think, for the 49ers, I would look at Justin Fields,” Kiper said. “I think he’s the second-best quarterback in this draft, but Mac Jones is the way it’s going, it seems like. I heard Mac Jones or Trey Lance early on, whether that’s not true or just throwing it out there to fool people, who knows?”
“There’s a lot that goes on this time of year,” Kiper continued. “But I went with Mac Jones (in the mock draft) because that’s what you’re hearing. Now, I would go Justin Fields. But that’s me.”
Kiper Justifies Jones to 49ers Mock Draft Projection
Kiper’s job is not to make the pick himself, but to predict who the 49ers are likely to select with it.
He told get up on Wednesday that he believes “the decision has already been made,” which is as good of a reason as exists to slot Jones in at pick No. 3.
Kiper cited a “cerebral approach” on the part of Jones, complemented by “incredible accuracy” as the top selling points for Shanahan and 49ers General Manager John Lynch — the two men who will decide the fate of the pick come Thursday, April 29.
Jones led the country with a 77.4% completion percentage, which is a high selling point for the 49ers style of offense, Kiper explained.
It is those same qualities of accuracy and thoughtfulness at the quarterback position that Kiper said lend to the comparison between Jones and Brady — even if one has seven Super Bowl rings and the other has yet to take a snap under center in professional football.