49ers grab 3rd overall pick in 2021 NFL Draft

49ers grab 3rd overall pick in 2021 NFL Draft

Courtesy of Richard Schultz/NFLPhotoLibrary

It would have been another quiet Friday in the NFL offseason. It was too, until the 49ers made a move that rendered every mock draft up to now irrelevant.

San Francisco started the day with the 12th pick in the 2021 draft. They ended it by trading that pick, a first and third round pick in 2022, and another first round pick in 2023 to the Miami Dolphins for this year’s number three pick. With such a massive price, there can only be one logical reason behind it; San Francisco will draft it’s first round one quarterback since 2005. That pick, of course, was Alex Smith.

Now, 16 years later, it seems the 49ers are ready to build around another young arm. For one reason or another, it seems as if Jimmy Garoppolo’s time in the red and gold has an expiration date. There are many with mixed feelings about the San Francisco signal caller.

On the one hand, he led his team to a Super Bowl. On the other, he’s missed almost one full season out of the three he’s been with the 49ers. Bay Area fans expect more from their leaders and have been spoiled in the past by the likes of Joe Montana, Steve Young, and Jeff Garcia.

So with the current state of play, it looks as if San Francisco is in the market for a new face of the franchise. The question remains just who that will be. There are at least three marquee names at the position and the biggest of them all, Trevor Lawrence, is all but spoken for.

That leaves the 49ers with a decision to make. Should they select Ohio State’s Justin Fields? Or do they take Trey Lance out of North Dakota State?

There is no question both will go within the first five picks in the draft so they are obviously both highly coveted. They are both mobile as well, which makes this an interesting situation.

Alex Smith was also considered a mobile quarterback, but the results of that were not fully what fans had hoped for. That very much led to the move to a pocket passer taking the snaps the last three seasons. Now maybe, San Francisco could be following the trend of dual threat quarterbacks.

Who Will Be The 49ers Next Quarterback?

Trey Lance had one spectacular season with the North Dakota State Bisons. He threw for 2,786 yards and 28 touchdowns in 2019. He added another 1,110 yards and 14 touchdowns on the ground. His biggest knock though is that he accomplished these eye popping stats in the Championship Division. Of course it’s impressive that he led his Bisons to an undefeated championship season. That said, that kind of season can get buried when your competition includes teams like UC Davis.

As for Justin Fields, he drove the Buckeyes through an undefeated regular season enroute to a FBS playoff loss to Clemson. Along the way, he beat teams like Nebraska, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Penn State. All told, he racked up 3,273 passing yards and 41 touchdowns. With his legs, he accumulated 484 yards and 10 more touchdowns. He’s the definition of the modern quarterback and certainly one that could have NFL staying power.

Of the two, San Francisco should consider taking Fields. His resume matches his talent. He’s a Heisman caliber quarterback that is a proven commodity with the potential to be a strong building block for a franchise. The 49ers have passed on the last few opportunities to do this as Lamar Jackson and even Patrick Mahomes have slipped past them. It would be wise to not let this one go. Especially given the price they paid to get them in this position. Whichever one the 49ers select will probably sit the year behind Garoppolo for seasoning. He’ll take over upon the highly likely departure in 2022.

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