From the time they traded up to No. 3 on March 26, the 49ers had everyone fooled about who they were targeting. Mac Jones initially was the popular guess.
Trey Lance, who ended up being the choice, and Justin Fields also were considered candidates.
Kyle Pitts even wondered whether the 49ers traded up for him.
Even though the 49ers already have one of the best tight ends in football in George Kittle, Rams coach Sean McVay admits he also considered Pitts a candidate for San Francisco.
“I thought there was a possibility that Kyle was going to go Pitts at three,” McVay said on the Flying Coach podcast, via 49erswebzone.com. “In all seriousness, because he’s such a visionary. I’m telling you, I didn’t think it was going to be a crazy thought because you go back to when New England had the two-tight end set, and they were doing things totally different. You think about what Kittle. And then, the thing that makes sense is that, hey, Jimmy [Garoppolo’s] produced all the way. This isn’t a production thing. This is an availability thing that you’re saying, ‘We can’t have that,’ like, all the things.
“But I was like, ‘If it’s not Mac Jones — and I hadn’t studied Trey, just because there wasn’t a lot of film exposure going back a couple of years, and we weren’t in that market, so I didn’t know other than watching him throw at his pro day that you’re saying, ‘Alright, you can see a lot of the things that you would like and that would make sense.’”
The 49ers’ clandestine operation worked as even Lance said he didn’t know he was the choice until the phone call from the team.
“[Shanahan] had everybody fooled, and he got the people that he knew we’d be looking to to fool us as well,” McVay said.