The San Francisco 49ers kept the entire NFL world in the dark about who they would select with the third pick in Thursday's draft. They wouldn't even reveal the selection to the player.
"You had a hunch for a while?" 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan asked quarterback Trey Lance as he called to tell him he was the pick.
"Man, I didn't know, coach. You wouldn't tell me nothing!" Lance replied.
"Hey, we didn't tell anybody, man," Shanahan said.
Not long after the 49ers traded the No. 12 pick and two future first-round picks to the Miami Dolphins to move up to No. 3, the Niners were rumored to prefer Alabama quarterback Mac Jones. That speculation persisted right up until draft day.
However, Lance had been the target for Shanahan and general manager John Lynch since January.
"I was in Mexico the day we made the trade and within hours there's at least two people who are out there speculating that their opinions are they think we're taking Mac Jones," Shanahan said at his post-draft press conference. "And ever since then I've kind of just watched every single person assume that that was accurate, and that those weren't opinions, they were facts. And we didn't feel that way, from the beginning."
Shanahan added, "We've been very high on Trey since the beginning. Since Day 1. And, yes, the person everyone else was speculating about, we liked him, too. ... When we made the trade, we knew exactly where we were going and what we were doing."
Once the rumors about Jones were off and running, the 49ers brass wasn't going to work to correct it. The team preferred keeping its pick secret from the rest of the NFL.
Shanahan said that he and Lynch didn't even tell friends, family, or anyone else in the 49ers building that they were going to choose Lance, though they admitted keeping such a secret was draining.
"Sure glad that it's over and glad that we got our guy," Shanahan said.