The San Francisco 49ers’ busy offseason gave us a major surprise late last week when it was announced that the team acquired the No. 3 pick in this year’s draft from the Miami Dolphins in exchange for the 12th pick in 2021, first-and-third round selections in 2022 and first in 2023.
General manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan made this move to select their quarterback of the future. The Niners are seemingly comfortable going with one of Zach Wilson, Justin Fields or Trey Lance with the third pick to lead the franchise for at least the next decade.
It’s widely expected that the Jacksonville Jaguars will take Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence first overall. The 49ers will then be at the mercy of former defensive coordinator Robert Saleh and the New York Jets, who could take a QB to replace 2018 No. 3 pick, Sam Darnold.
Here is who some of the NFL Draft pundits have San Francisco taking with the third pick in their latest mock drafts.
NFL.com has the 49ers taking Trey Lance:
The 49ers pulled off a major trade with the Dolphins on Friday, moving up nine slots to presumably land their quarterback of the future. We’re not sure which quarterback they love enough to give up two future first-round picks and a third-rounder, but for now, I’ll run with Lance. His athleticism and arm strength could be an excellent fit in Kyle Shanahan’s offense. – Chad Reuter
The Athletic has the 49ers taking Trey Lance:
Brugler: The 49ers are trading up for a quarterback. But which one? My initial guess is Lance, who would be a natural fit with coach Kyle Shanahan. (But let’s be honest, so would Justin Fields and Mac Jones).
Burke: More intrigue here, because 49ers GM John Lynch said in trading up that Jimmy Garoppolo is still in the team’s plans but … is he really? What if, ohhh, the New England Patriots call with an offer to bring Garoppolo back to New England? And, if Garoppolo is sticking around, does that tip the scales here toward Lance? He could sit and develop while Jimmy G handles the start of this season.
CBS Sports has the 49ers taking Justin Fields:
San Francisco rocked the draft landscape Friday afternoon during Zach Wilson’s BYU pro day by trading up to No. 3 overall. A quarterback is in the cards and the 49ers key in on Justin Fields. – Josh Edwards
USA TODAY has the 49ers taking Trey Lance:
They changed the course of this draft, Friday’s bold move vaulting the Niners nine spots up the board. Lance is a physically gifted, efficient player with the trappings of a great leader. Tantalizing to consider what a passer who can so effectively run the ball might bring to a Kyle Shanahan offense that operates at peak form when the ground game is humming. But if Lance is the choice, it might make sense to allow him to sit behind Jimmy Garoppolo while he makes the adjustment from the Football Championship Subdivision – which limited Lance to a one-game appearance in the fall – to the pros. – Nate Davis
Pro Football Network has the 49ers taking Trey Lance:
It is a bit tough to get into the head of John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan. The trade to No. 3 is obviously for a quarterback. Let’s be real here — Jimmy Garoppolo is someone who needs the perfect environment around him to win a Super Bowl. The buzz on Justin Fields is going down.
After Trey Lance’s pro day, his hype is through the roof. His natural arm talent, surprisingly good mental process, and out-of-structure ability make him a difference-maker. In Shanahan’s scheme, the fit makes too much sense to me. Therefore, I think Lance lands in the Bay area. – Nick Farabaugh
The Sporting News has the 49ers taking Trey Lance:
The 49ers have talked up that they’re still rolling with Jimmy Garoppolo but it’s hard to see them trading up nine spots for a position other than quarterback, especially when tackle, wide receiver and tight end aren’t key needs. They’re likely going high upside with a younger option who could sit a year to develop if needed, making Lance the best bet. Lance has climbed back up boards with his massive upside. As more teams look back on his fine pro day and see tapes of his statistically brilliant lone season as a starter (2,786 yards passing, 28 TDs, no INTs, 1,100 yards rushing, 14 TDs) it’s harder to ignore the impressive physical and athletic skills, including his blazing speed. Lance is raw and inexperienced and needs some polish in many areas, but the dual-threat tools can be blended together nicely for Kyle Shanahan. – Vinnie Iyer
As you can see, five out of the six writers have San Francisco going with Lance. Wilson looked during his pro day, and it’s looking more-and-more like the Jets will select him second. There was some chatter over the weekend that the Niners might be interested in Alabama QB Mac Jones.
It’s going to be a fun lead-up to the draft!