NFL rumors: 49ers 'relishing' being center of draft attention

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Josh Schrock
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Report: 49ers 'relishing' being center of NFL draft attention originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

The 49ers have been the focus of the NFL world ever since they pulled off their blockbuster trade with the Miami Dolphins to move up nine spots to No. 3 overall in the 2021 draft.

With three days to go until Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch have to make their franchise-altering decision, the 49ers won't tip their hand when it comes to which quarterback they have targeted at No. 3. The 49ers' attempt to play things close to the vest keeps them as the topic of conversation, something they reportedly are enjoying.

"As one source put It, the 49ers are 'relishing' the attention," Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio reported Tuesday.

While everything is pointing to Alabama's Mac Jones being Shanahan's preferred target at No. 3, the 49ers; power brokers refused to reveal anything during their pre-draft press conference on Monday.

"Yeah, we probably started with one in mind, but that one's gotten better since and so have all of the other candidates," Shanahan told reporters. "So, do we know exactly who we want? Maybe, probably, but maybe not. I don't feel like we need to say that, and that's not just for our case, but lots of stuff happens between now and the draft and we don't want the whole league knowing exactly what you're set on four days before the draft.

"We also care about a lot of people that have been involved in this and we got to know a lot of people and stuff and those are the types of questions, like narrowing it down or who's been eliminated or things like that, that one, I don't know if I want the league to know. I don't think it necessarily helps and that's why no one's really going to know whether we know or not until we pick. That's kind of what we're comfortable keeping it at."

Of course, if the 49ers do end up selecting Jones, who has appeared to be the favorite ever since they made the trade with the Dolphins, then perhaps they didn't hide their intentions as well as they thought.

RELATED: Schrock's seven-round mock draft has trades, big steal

Throughout Monday's press conference, Shanahan reiterated that he was looking for a "starting quarterback." That would appear to be a bit of a departure from the 49ers' initial stance that Jimmy Garoppolo would remain the starter in 2021 if healthy. Shanahan would not guarantee Garoppolo would remain a 49er past the weekend, offering a morbid answer to the oft-injured quarterback's roster status.

"I can't guarantee that anybody in the world will be alive Sunday, so I can't guarantee who will be on our roster come Sunday," Shanahan said. "So that goes for all of us."

Shanahan and Lynch face a monumental decision when they go on the clock at No. 3. Whichever prospect they choose will make or break their tenure with the 49ers and could define Shanahan's legacy as an offensive mastermind and quarterback guru.

They are well aware of the stakes and know the weight the decision carries. That choice ultimately will fall to Shanahan, who Lynch said he would "defer" to when it comes to quarterback play.

Then, the 49ers will have to let the chips fall where they may and see if they made the right decision.

“It's up to us to live with the consequences," Shanahan said.

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