Former Alabama Standout's NFL Draft Stock Quickly Rising Amid Trade News

By Jason Hall

March 26, 2021

Former Alabama quarterback Mac Jones may quickly ascend as a top prospect in the upcoming NFL Draft.

NBC Sports analyst and former NFL quarterback Chris Simms believes Jones may now be targeted by the San Francisco 49ers, who hold the No. 3 overall pick in next month's draft, after acquiring it in a blockbuster trade with the Miami Dolphins on Friday (March 26.)

"49ers-Dolphins...[head coach] Kyle Shanahan trying to control his own fate. You trade up to 3 for a QB who is NFL-ready right now, not a project. And to me that says Mac Jones," Simms tweeted following the announcement of the trade Friday afternoon.

The 49ers' blockbuster with the Dolphins is believed to have "major ramifications" in the NFL quarterback market, despite the team claiming it's keen on keeping Jimmy Garoppolo on its roster.

ESPN's Adam Schefter reports the 49ers received the No. 3 overall pick in the upcoming 2021 NFL Draft from the Dolphins in exchange for the No. 12 pick, a 2022 third-round pick -- which San Francisco received as a comp pick for the Jets' hiring of former assistant Robert Saleh -- and first-round picks in the 2022 and 2023 draft, sources confirmed.

"The next month of the NFL off-season now has been turned upside down. And the rush for QBs officially is on," Schefter tweeted.

Miami then sent the No. 12 pick acquired in the San Francisco trade and a 2022 first-round pick to the Philadelphia Eagles in exchange for the No. 6 overall pick in the upcoming draft.

Schefter reports the 49ers are "now square in the QB mix" and "traded up because they're good with the options that will be" at the top of the draft, "but are holding on to Jimmy Garoppolo and have no plans to trade him, per sources."

NFL Network's Steve Wyche reports 49ers general manager John Lynch told Garoppolo, "Yes we decided to go ahead and do this, once it was finalized the first thing we did was call Jimmy Garoppolo to let him know he's still in our plans," via NFL reporter Dov Kleiman.

But teams have publicly endorsed incumbent starters amid big transactions involving others in the past only to later deal them elsewhere.

It's also worth noting that Simms and Shanahan are close friends dating back to their collegiate careers at the University of Texas.

Jones led Alabama to a College Football National Championship and was third in the Heisman voting -- behind teammate DeVonta Smith and Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence, the projected No. 1 overall pick in next month's draft -- during his lone season as Alabama's full-time starting quarterback.

Jones threw for 4,500 yards, 41 touchdowns and four interceptions on 311 of 402 passing -- while also recording one rushing touchdown -- while leading the Crimson Tide to a 13-0 record in 2020.

Jones also made four starts in the absence of Tua Tagovailoa following a season-ending injury in 2019.

Photo: Getty Images

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