NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah has served as the resident draft guru in recent years and held a conference call that lasted for more than two hours on Tuesday afternoon. If there was a draft prospect, Jeremiah likely covered the player.
The San Francisco 49ers questions were related to the three positions we’ve discussed all offseason: quarterback, cornerback, and left tackle. Jeremiah believes the drop-off at cornerback is steep after the second round. He said, “you better get on that ride early in the first or second round” when talking about the cornerback position.
Jeremiah mentioned Kellen Mond of Texas A&M and Davis Mills from Stanford as potential Day 2 options at quarterback for the 49ers. Mond played under Jimbo Fisher, who runs plenty of NFL concepts where the QB has to go through different progressions. Mond has been a popular name in the NFL Draft community over the past week.
“If you trade for Darnold, you’re expecting him to be the house, not the bridge”
I asked Jeremiah to weigh in on the 49ers quarterback situation. The question I posed was, “if you’re John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan, can you afford to pass up a QB in the first round?” With a follow-up question asking, “how would you view Sam Darnold as a potential bridge quarterback while one of the rookies sits and learns?”
I figured since we’ve been dealing in hypotheticals all offseason, and with national writers tying Darnold to the 49ers, I wanted Jeremiah’s opinion. Here’s what he said:
Yeah, to me I don’t — if you’re going to make a move for Sam Darnold I don’t think he’s the bridge. I think you’re hoping he’s the building. That’s what you’re doing if you make that move.
And talent-wise, to me where they are at 12, I guess there’s a chance Trey Lance could be there. Mac Jones I think will be there. So those are your options there. But to me I think faced with those options or a trade that’s palatable for Sam Darnold, I think I’d be tempted to go in the Sam Darnold direction because we’ve talked about the fit with him with Kyle Shanahan. I think would be a beautiful fit. The guys is 23 years old, 24 years old. He is still really, really young. That to me would make some sense.
I threw the numbers out there earlier. The next three years, 18.3 a year is a very affordable number. I don’t know that — the interesting thing if the Niners did do that is do you immediately trade Jimmy or do you need Sam to come in to beat Jimmy out? That would create an interesting storyline there.
But I would rather have Sam at that option, I think, than I would with what’s likely to be there at pick No. 12.
Jeremiah is assuming that trading up for a quarterback is out of the question in this scenario.
I love Jeremiah’s line where he said, “I think you’re hoping he’s the building” about Darnold. That’s quite a bit of hope, considering the product that Darnold has put on the field during his Jets career. There’s also the argument about having to play under Adam Gase.
Money remains the main reason we continue to entertain the Darnold trade. Shanahan isn’t comparing Darnold to Jimmy G in a vacuum. He’s comparing Darnold and his 2021 cap number under $5 million compared to Jimmy’s, which is north of $26 million.
For the difference in money, Darnold or a rookie could handle the same workload as Garoppolo, Nick Mullens, and C.J. Beathard. If they were to make this change, San Francisco would hope a change under center improves the entire offense — from the offensive line to the receivers, to the play-caller.