With Matthew Stafford officially off the market, teams looking for a new quarterback will either put together a package to try and get Deshaun Watson or focus on the 2021 NFL Draft.
This year’s class has four QBs that could all go in the top ten. Trevor Lawrence is likely going No. 1 to the Jacksonville Jaguars, which will leave Justin Fields, Zach Wilson and Trey Lance as the remaining QB options.
The San Francisco 49ers hold the 12th selection and could go several different ways. Some mock drafts have the Niners taking a signal-caller while others have them picking a corner to help solidify the secondary.
The 49ers have nine players from the secondary that could hit the open market, including Richard Sherman and Jason Verrett.
General manager John Lynch has made trades involving the team’s first-round selection in two out of four drafts since taking over in 2017. San Francisco traded back one spot in 2017 and took defensive lineman Solomon Thomas third overall. The 49ers were busy at the 2020 NFL Draft, trading back one spot to take Javon Kinlaw 14th and then moving up six places to select receiver Brandon Aiyuk 25th overall.
Here is who some of the major media outlets have the Niners taking in their latest mock draft:
ESPN has the 49ers taking Alabama CB Patrick Surtain
The 49ers will likely undergo big changes on defense this offseason, with defensive coordinator Robert Saleh gone and cornerbacks Richard Sherman, Ahkello Witherspoon and Jason Verrett all unrestricted free agents. That’s why it makes sense to target a corner early. Surtain, my top-ranked corner, could be a starter on Day 1. He had 27 pass breakups and four interceptions over three seasons at Bama. At 6-2, Surtain has the size and speed to play on an island and lock down wideouts. Depending on whether San Francisco can bring back free-agent left tackle Trent Williams, offensive line could also be a position to target. - Mel Kiper Jr.
Pro Football Focus has the 49ers taking South Carolina CB Jaycee Horn
With three of their top four cornerbacks set to hit free agency, this is a crucial offseason for the 49ers’ secondary. Horn comes off the board a bit higher than we’d like here, but he has good size and is a ball magnet who ranked in the 95th percentile in forced incompletion rate over the last two years. Horn allowed a few big plays along the way, but he has the size and footwork to develop into a top-notch corner. - Steve Palazzolo
CBS Sports has the 49ers taking North Dakota State QB Trey Lance
San Francisco has reached an impasse with Jimmy Garropolo. They have not gotten the production that they expected and will likely consider alternative options. With Trey Lance on the board, Kyle Shanahan is presented with a unique challenge. - Josh Edwards
USA TODAY has the 49ers taking Surtain
The Niners will need to replenish their corner depth chart with the contracts of Richard Sherman, Jason Verrett, K’Waun Williams and Ahkello Witherspoon all set to expire. Even if they were sticking around, Surtain – son of the former Pro Bowler whose name he shares – would be a worthy selection following a season when he was named SEC defensive player of the year. - Nate Davis
247Sports has the 49ers taking Lance
CBS Sports analyst Bryan DeArdo wrote recently that San Francisco’s plan for 2021 is to keep Jimmy Garoppolo, but draft his successor. Lance could be that guy. In this mock, he is the fourth quarterback taken overall in the fourth round and ahead of another star from Florida. - Brad Crawford
The Ringer has the 49ers taking Michigan edge rusher Kwity Paye
The Niners should get both Nick Bosa and Dee Ford back from injuries next season, but that pass-rush group still needs more depth. Paye adds just that: He’s big, explosive, and physical, and would give San Francisco yet another pocket-disrupting menace off the edge. - Danny Kelly
Who do you think San Francisco will end up selecting in April?