After trading up into the top three, the San Francisco 49ers better have their franchise quarterback.
When a team trades away three future first round picks, it’s not for a tight end. That’s exactly what the San Francisco 49ers did last month to move up into the top three for the 2021 NFL Draft.
Multiple reports have claimed that 49ers head coach is interested in drafting Alabama’s Mac Jones. A more prototypical style quarterback that fits his system, Shanahan and GM John Lynch attended his pro day twice.
Pump the brakes on the Jones-express landing in the bay just for now. It’s clear the two will be doing their homework by going to Pro Days for Justin Fields and Trey Lance over the next 10 days. After that, San Francisco should have their answer.
Quarterback isn’t the only need for the 49ers entering 2021. With the draft ahead and the division that will not quit, adding talent such as these should keep San Francisco in contention to win the NFC West.
No matter who is drafted at No.3, they won’t be the starter until 2022. Jimmy Garoppolo is expected to be the starter for one more season unless someone is willing to offer a first round pick for his services.
This close to the draft? Good luck getting that.
Shanahan wants a quarterback who is more of a pocket-presence guy. Lynch would rather add a quarterback that is more mobile to avoid pressure. There is a winner in all of this should both sides meet in the middle.
The middle? Lance.
Although he has just 17 career starts, Lance has shown immense success at the FCS level. His decision making is top notch after finishing the season with 42 total touchdowns and zero interceptions. His arm strength is second to none and he added 1,000 rushing yards during his lone season in Fargo.
In reality, Lance might have the best upside of all the quarterbacks in the class besides Trevor Lawrence. In Shanahan’s system, the former bison will be able to learn better skills for speed and accuracy while Garoppolo can only enhance his trade and franchise starter value for 2022.
Lance isn’t perfect, but he also is so unknown that the right staff could make him an All-Pro. Much like Josh Allen, it’s about taking the risk and building around the talent at hand. Lance is that talent that might look foolish on draft night, but gets the last laugh by Year 3.