The 2021 NFL Draft is just three days away, and we will finally find out which quarterback the San Francisco 49ers will take at No. 3. General manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan have done an excellent job of keeping which prospect they’re leaning towards a secret in the days leading up to the draft.
The Niners will go with either Justin Fields, Mac Jones or Trey Lance. Each of the signal-callers brings their own unique skill set, but it will depend on which one Shanahan thinks he can win develop into a Super Bowl-winning QB.
San Francisco will likely add to its secondary and some depth on the offensive and defensive lines. The 49ers are scheduled to have nine picks over the three days, but we have seen Lynch make moves up and down the draft board multiple times.
Here is who some of the major media outlets have the Niners selecting with the third overall pick in their latest mock drafts.
Pro Football Focus has the 49ers taking Fields
While the markets are finally leaning back in Fields’ direction, I believe this has been the play all along. Kyle Shanahan’s offense is always excellent, but it hit another level two times: 2012 with Washington and 2016 with the Falcons. That 2012 team featured a rookie Robert Griffin III being used effectively in the designed run game with play-action coming off it, and that may be what Shanahan is looking to do to further elevate his creative offense.
Fields has two straight seasons with 90.0-plus PFF grades, and he ranked fourth with a 92.2 passing grade last year to go with the top rushing grade at 85.3. He has the accuracy to hit the open throws created by Shanahan’s offense; it’s just a matter of getting the ball out of his hands faster, given that his 3.11 seconds from snap to release was the second-slowest in the class.
Expect Shanahan to try to hit a home run after moving up to No. 3, and Fields is the swing-for-the-fences candidate out of the next trio of signal-callers. - Michael Renner
NFL.com has the 49ers taking Jones
It’s easy to see why 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan would appreciate Jones’ efficiency, intelligence and decision-making. However, I don’t think the 49ers’ choice is that clear-cut. Trey Lance and Justin Fields are both just as capable of operating an NFL offense and both possess plus athleticism. This decision may go down to the wire. - Chad Retuer
ESPN has the 49ers taking Fields
You should know by now how much I like Fields. He has all the tools to be a superstar, and he’d thrive in Kyle Shanahan’s offense.
Fields’ chances of being available here: 100% - Mel Kiper Jr.
CBS Sports has the 49ers taking Fields
It feels like all of the Mac Jones talk is smoke and mirrors, which would clear the way for the 49ers to surprise everyone and instead grab Fields — the Ohio State dynamo who can do it all. - Patrik Walker
Pro Football Network has the 49ers taking Fields
I’ve really settled on either Justin Fields or Trey Lance being the pick here for San Francisco. I really can’t believe Shanahan and all the scouts and executives in San Francisco firmly believe that Mac Jones is worth all of that. There are connections and points for both Fields and Lance, but ultimately, I settled on Fields in this 7-Round 2021 NFL Mock Draft because I have him graded higher.
Fields is such an elite prospect that it’s ludicrous he’s being thought of as the 3rd, 4th, or even 5th quarterback off the board. In almost any other year, Fields would be the first quarterback off the board. His accuracy, arm talent, and physical ability would elevate the 49ers’ offense to a level they have not had in several years. - AJ Schulte
The Athletic has the 49ers taking Jones
Pocket, pocket, pocket. It’s a massive criterion for coach Kyle Shanahan and it’s what Jones does best. It suggests the Alabama quarterback made Shanahan and the 49ers comfortable about last month’s big move to no. 3. Perhaps the more exciting Justin Fields or Trey Lance have changed Shanahan’s mind since then. Most of the team’s fans hope so. But Jones is a lot like the QBs he’s fallen for in the past because of, well, pocket. — Matt Barrows
Fields appears to be the choice for most NFL insiders, but nothing is set in stone. Lance has a ton of potential and Shanahan could be comfortable allowing him to sit for a season behind incumbent starter Jimmy Garoppolo. The good news is that we don’t have to wait much longer to finally get our answer.