After trading up from 12th overall to third in the 2021 NFL Draft, the San Francisco 49ers have set themselves up to select a top-three prospect this year. In 2019, the 49ers made it all the way to the Super Bowl. However, they lost to the Kansas City Chiefs, then in the following season, the roster hit the injury bug and the Super Bowl hangover took over.
In an attempt to get back into the playoff picture for next year, San Francisco looks to add a major contributor through the draft. It’s speculated they select a quarterback, despite John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan claiming Jimmy Garoppolo is their guy.
Moving up from 12 to three says otherwise, and the coaching staff may plan to keep Garoppolo while also selecting a rookie quarterback. When it comes down to it, San Francisco has three solid options with their first pick of the draft. It all depends on what the Jacksonville Jaguars and New York Jets do with their draft picks, but the 49ers are likely to walk away with a prospect they really like.
49ers Perfect Option One: Justin Fields
Coming out of Ohio State, Justin Fields aims to be one of the best prospect quarterbacks in this year’s draft class. He’s been a phenomenal quarterback for the Buckeyes since taking over as the starter in 2019. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, Fields only played eight games last year but proved he’s one of the best rookies entering the league. He finished with 2,100 yards, 22 passing touchdowns, and a 70.2% completion percentage. He was on pace to have a career year.
Fields is arguably the second-best prospect available behind Trevor Lawrence. He’s a true dual-threat quarterback, however, he has the ability to stay in the pocket and read the defense with the best of them. He’d be a great fit for the 49ers offensive scheme, while also providing an additional weapon in their run game.
49ers Perfect Option Two: Zach Wilson
Based on earlier reports, it sounds like the New York Jets are eying Zach Wilson as their guy. However, we won’t know that as a fact until the NFL draft. Coming out of BYU, Wilson was able to play 12 games this year, the most he’s ever played in a single season during his collegiate career. He posted an impressive 3,692 yards, 33 touchdowns, and a 73.5% completion percentage.
Like Fields, Wilson is arguably the second-best prospect behind Trevor Lawrence. His college tape is solid, as he shows how to be patient under center and find the open man. He’s also good in the run game as well, making him a dual-threat quarterback the 49ers could use. Wilson is also someone who possesses a fiery personality, which could make him a great pairing with George Kittle.
Perfect 2021 NFL Draft Option Three: Trey Lance
Of the top four quarterback prospects in the draft, Trey Lance is the one that might need a year or two to develop. He’ll only be 21 years old come May, making him an incredibly young quarterback to start his NFL career. However, he has all of the talent in the world to potentially become a superstar in this league. He’s only played 19 career games while playing at North Dakota State. During his three years there, Lance recorded 2,947 yards, 30 touchdowns, and a 65.4% completion percentage.
With the front office and coaching staff claiming they want Jimmy Garoppolo to be in San Francisco, drafting Lance would make a ton of sense. Having a year or two to develop would be in Lance’s best interest, giving Garoppolo some time to maintain his starting role. As I mentioned, this team was in the Super Bowl in 2019, and injuries plagued them last season. The 49ers have the roster to be competitive now, which gives them some leisure in selecting a project like Trey Lance for the future.