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NFL mock draft: San Francisco 49ers select Trey Lance

The 49ers made an aggressive push to grab a quarterback. But which one?

Butler v North Dakota State Photo by Sam Wasson/Getty Images

The first two picks in the 2021 NFL Draft almost feel inevitable at this point. Most draft experts agree that the third pick is where the draft really starts, and even then, after last week’s big trade it seems pretty obvious what position the San Francisco 49ers will be targeting third overall.

But some drama remains. Is it Mac Jones? Is it Trey Lance? Or will Kyle Shanahan and the gang target Justin Fields?

We won’t settle that today, because in the Pride of Detroit Community Mock Draft, Kyle Shanahan will have no say at all. Instead, commenter elgarraz will act as 49ers general manager. Before we get into the pick, here’s how the board has fallen thus far.

POD Community Mock Draft picks so far:

  1. Jacksonville Jaguars: Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
  2. New York Jets: Zach Wilson, QB, BYU

With the third pick in the Pride of Detroit Community Mock Draft, the San Francisco 49ers have selected North Dakota quarterback Trey Lance.

Here’s elgarraz with the explanation:

San Francisco did not trade up to No. 3 so they could take a corner.

What are the Niners getting with Lance? He’s big for one, at 6-foot-4 224 pounds. He didn’t run on his pro day, but the tape shows a very athletic QB. He throws well from the pocket and he makes some dazzling plays with his feet. Lance does struggle with mechanics on certain types of throws, and with only one full season of starting experience at the college level in 2019 (and at a smaller school), he could really use some more time in the oven. San Francisco can give him that.

Jimmy Garoppolo is still under contract, but San Francisco could cut or trade him at any point and not take a big cap hit. He does have some serious problems staying healthy (25 games played in the last three seasons), but the Niners are hoping that he can buy some time for Lance to get coached up. The Niners would love to trade Jimmy G either mid-season or next offseason, so it’s of interest for both parties to boost his stock. This is a great fit for Lance situationally.

You know what’s also a great fit? Putting Trey Lance in Kyle Shanahan’s offense. They run outside zone, play action, create space, and they LOVE good athletes. With a RAS of 5.01,

Jimmy G tested as the definition of average, and that was before the injuries. Again, no RAS for Lance because he didn’t run, but he likely would have landed somewhere in the high nines. He’s a great fit for what Shanahan already does, with the bonus of adding an RPO wrinkle to that offense. This offense wants to attack, attack, attack, create space, and control the clock. Lance will do that in ways that Garoppolo can’t.

Erik Schlitt’s thoughts:

Elgarraz is right, the 49ers traded up to draft a quarterback. The question is: Is Lance the obvious choice or is there a potential surprise, like Mac Jones (Alabama), in the works?

49ers GM John Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan were in Alabama Tuesday, intently watching Jones throw, while neither attended Lance’s pro day earlier this month. Like Lance, Jones is also a terrific fit in the 49ers offensive scheme and offers a similar skill set to Garoppolo, just younger, healthier, and cheaper.

I think this choice is closer than most want to believe, but at the end of the day, the 49ers retaining Garoppolo and his $26.4 million salary this season gives away their intentions.

One of the advantages of drafting Jones is that he is pro ready and on a rookie contract, which would allow the 49ers to clear $23.6 million in salary cap space. The only reason the 49ers would be willing to eat that large of a cap hit would be because they need to buy time for Lance, who has a considerably higher developmental ceiling but isn’t there yet.

So, I agree with elgarraz, Lance is the pick here.

The Atlanta Falcons are on the clock.


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