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PFF has 49ers taking Justin Fields No. 3, LSU LB in second-round of latest mock draft

Fields looked good during his pro day and could be separating himself from Trey Lance and Mac Jones with less than a month to go until the draft.

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We are officially less than a month away from the 2021 NFL Draft, and the speculation will continue to build around who the San Francisco 49ers will take with the third pick.

General manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan pulled off the biggest move of the offseason by making a deal with the Miami Dolphins to acquire the No. 3 pick. It’s no secret that the Niners intend on taking their quarterback of the future; the question is who it will be?

Austin Gayle of Pro Football Focus released his latest two-round mock draft and has San Francisco selecting Ohio State’s Justin Fields.

The 49ers didn’t trade two future first-round picks and a future third-round pick to give Jimmy Garoppolo another wide receiver or add to the secondary. With all signs pointing to Lawrence and Wilson being the first two players off the board, general manager John Lynch knew it was his time to strike and secure his next favorite quarterback prospect. And while there’s been some speculation that the 49ers will take either North Dakota State’s Trey Lance or even former Alabama quarterback Mac Jones, PFF’s pick at No. 3 overall would be Ohio State’s Justin Fields.

The concerns with Fields’ processing and his tendency to hold the ball too long in the pocket are valid, but the prospect of his development in those areas coupled with his proven athletic ability and accuracy should be too good for San Francisco to pass on. Fields is PFF’s No. 3 overall player and No. 3 quarterback prospect in the 2021 class. He’s also the only quarterback in this class with two years of 90.0-plus PFF grades (2019-20).

Fields had a good showing as his pro day, running a 4.43 40-yard dash and made several nice throws to wow NFL personnel from around the league. San Francisco’s assistant general manager Adam Peters was in attendance for Fields’ pro day.

Fields said he would happily hold an individual workout with the 49ers — or anyone else — wants to see him again in person.

Gayle has San Francisco going with a defensive player with its second pick, taking LSU linebacker Jabril Cox at No. 43.

Cox played three seasons with North Dakota State University before transferring to the Tigers for his senior season.

Here is the Pro Football Network’s Tony Pauline’s scouting report on Cox heading into the draft.

Positives: Athletic, disciplined run-and-chase linebacker with solid size. Agile, fluid moving laterally, and gets tremendous depth on pass drops. Efficient, instinctive, and goes sideline to sideline covering a terrific amount of area. Remains disciplined with assignments, effectively reads the action, and takes proper angles to plays.

Quickly picks up coverage assignments, stays with backs downfield, and plays to his 40 time. Fluid in his hips, possesses good change-of-direction skills, and really stands out in coverage. Effectively uses his hands to protect himself and is rarely off his feet.

Negatives: Not overly stout and doesn’t stack well against the run. Struggles taking on blocks.

Analysis: Cox is a hard-working linebacker who plays tough, instinctive football. He’s a true three-down defender and a traditional 4-3 outside linebacker who needs to get a bit stronger to complete his game. Cox offers a tremendous amount of upside, and with proper coaching and in the right system, he could be a quick starter at the next level.

The 49ers could use some depth at the position. All-Pro Fred Warner and Dre Greenlaw have been outstanding a pair and figure to be the heart of the defense for years to come. After that, the Niners have Azeez Al-Shaair and Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles under contract.

Which position would you like the 49ers to address with their second-round pick?