Report: 49ers scouting QBs Wilson, Jones for 2021 NFL Draft originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
All throughout the offseason, the 49ers made one thing clear: Jimmy Garoppolo is their franchise quarterback.
Despite flirting with Tom Brady, general manager John Lynch, coach Kyle Shanahan and a long list of 49ers players went on a tour of defending Garoppolo after the team fell short to the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV. Garoppolo wasn't perfect last year, but he did have one of the best statistical seasons in 49ers history and those within the organization only expected him to raise his game in 2020.
Well, that hasn't been the case.
Garoppolo has missed multiple games due to a high ankle sprain, has just seven touchdowns in the six games he has played, has thrown five interceptions and the 49ers sit last in the NFC West with a 4-5 record. So, is it time to move on from Jimmy G? The front office reportedly has its eyes on QBs in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Bleacher Report's Matt Miller reported Tuesday that the 49ers are taking a look at two young quarterbacks in particular.
"Rumors around the scouting community indicate the San Francisco 49ers are investing serious time and resources into scouting signal-callers," Miller wrote. "One area scout told me the team has sent top evaluator Adam Peters to see BYU's Zach Wilson and Alabama's Mac Jones this season."
Peters is the 49ers' vice president of player personnel. When the team seeks his advice, it means business. The 49ers know they likely won't be in position to draft Trevor Lawrence or Justin Fields, and possibly not even Trey Lance. But they apparently have interest in the next best QBs.
Wilson and Jones are seen as the No. 4 and No. 5 quarterbacks in next year's draft. Some evaluators like Wilson so much they place him above Lance. The BYU junior is turning heads this season, and helped himself in major ways Friday night when he completed 21 of 27 pass attempts for 359 yards and two touchdowns -- plus a rushing touchdown -- in a dominant win over Boise State. Through eight games, Wilson has completed 75 percent of his attempts while passing for 2,511 yards and 21 touchdowns. He has only been intercepted twice and also has scored eight rushing TDs.
The 6-foot-3, 210-pounder looks the part of a modern QB. He's athletic, can make all the throws and isn't afraid to let it fly. There are plenty of reasons to fall in love with his game and dream what he could do with George Kittle, Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk as weapons.
You can’t stop Zach Wilson. You can only hope to contain him 😤pic.twitter.com/bBEA1Hhu7x
— PFF College (@PFF_College) November 7, 2020
Zach Wilson just dropping 50+-yard-in-the-air-throw-your-receiver-open dimes at will now. pic.twitter.com/I2dHyjoWRa
— Cam Mellor (@CamMellor) November 7, 2020
Jones looks much better than he did last season at Alabama when he replaced an injured Tua Tagovailoa. He beat out highly-touted freshman Bryce Young and has completed 78.5 percent of his passes as a junior this year. Jones also has thrown for 2,196 yards, 16 TDs and only two interceptions.
While Jones isn't the athlete Wilson is, he throws a pretty deep ball and is a smart QB who fits the bill of what Kyle Shanahan looks for.
Mac Jones is moving up @McShay13's draft board very quickly 👀
"Mac Jones is coming in and he's pulling a Joe Burrow. I'm not saying he's going to be No. 1 overall, there's no chance. ... But he's gone from off the radar to ... he's been on fire this year!" pic.twitter.com/bClFUa8VJq
— Get Up (@GetUpESPN) November 10, 2020
Mac Jones has the best deep ball in college football right now pic.twitter.com/c8bDZcITBJ
— Run It Back CFB (@RunitBackCFB) November 6, 2020
Would either player be an upgrade over Garoppolo? That's up to the 49ers. They very well might have seen enough of Jimmy G and realized that he has hit his ceiling. The NFL is full of young, exciting QBs and the 49ers shouldn't shy away from one in next year's draft.