The Jets trading Sam Darnold was thought to be the first QB domino that would fall. It turned out to be one of the final pieces in what’s been a wild offseason. I thought this week would be “slow,” but that doesn’t exist in the NFL.
Which caused the talks to stagnate a little (San Francisco was involved for a time, as well), and then things heated up again in the last couple weeks.
Really, after starting to work with Fields, that underscores what he saw: a prospect who needed some finishing touches, not an overhaul. So their work became about getting the little things, like those baseball skills, out of him. “He was pretty polished,” Beck said. “There were some minor things we could do in terms of weight positioning, where his front shoulder posture was. It’s the small things you work on with guys that are in the NFL. The thing about Justin, I’m gonna back up, sometimes we get guys from college and immediately they need a stronger arm or immediately there are throws they need to get better at. Justin can make any throw on the field; Justin has a very strong arm. It’s, O.K., how can we get that to happen faster, how can we get that to happen in a smaller space, how can get that to happen, when you’re making it quicker, more accurate? Those types of things. … It’s really similar to what we get when we get an NFL starter that comes to us in the offseason and says I want to enhance my game.”
3. Trey Lance, North Dakota State (12)
Lance put together one of the most statistically impressive seasons ever in 2019, rushing for a Lamar Jackson-esque 6.5 yards per attempt and throwing zero interceptions. Even though he played for an FCS school, had he duplicated that performance in 2020, he may well have been in the running for the first overall pick. However, due to the pandemic, his season was cancelled, making him a one-year starter a year removed from competitive football, aside from one game in fall 2020 against Central Arkansas. As a result, even though his potential remains sky-high, QBASE v2.0 can’t put him in the top tier. Still, if the San Francisco 49ers take him with the third overall pick after their big trade with Miami, then his projection will jump all the way up to 0.44.
As for the 49ers, they bulked up their secondary in free agency, but two of their top three players at the position are on one-year deals. The team needs a long-term answer at outside cornerback.
Tyson Campbell, Georgia: Speed isn’t an issue with Campbell or teammate Eric Stokes. Both blazed at Georgia’s pro day last month, with Campbell clocking a time in the 4.3-second range. As many as four receivers (and one tight end) from the SEC could be taken in the first round, and Campbell, a three-year starter, has faced all of them. He’s got good size at 6-foot-1, 193 pounds. That’s notable considering the 49ers’ top three cornerbacks — Jason Verrett, Emmanuel Moseley and K’Waun Williams — are under 6 feet.
But Garoppolo’s value to the 2021 49ers is higher than a second-round pick. The 49ers believe they can win in 2021 with Garoppolo under center and Justin Fields, Mac Jones or Trey Lance holding a clipboard.
Their franchise-defining trade wasn’t about a desire to replace the guy that took them to the Super Bowl 16 months ago. They still believe in Garoppolo. If they didn’t, they could have acquired Darnold for a fraction of the price it cost to move up for Fields, Jones or Lance.
They just saw something that was too good to pass up.
“We all kept in touch throughout the entire process,” Verrett said. “We all wanted to have another shot at it just because we know what we can do when we are all out there on the field together. Being able to get everybody back, we are excited to see the things that we can do.”
Verrett is supportive of Garoppolo but also trusts the decisions made by the 49ers’ front office.
“As far as what they do with the draft and trading up I have no control over that,” Verrett said. “I know Kyle and John are going to do what is best for the organization and add players that we need to help us win.”
With the excitement comes great risk, and that’s something I believe is too often overlooked with Wilson’s game. The incredible arm afforded him the ability to see options late and make it work at BYU. That’s not going to happen nearly as successfully at the NFL level. Wilson has a “needs to see it” trigger and isn’t as sharp on anticipatory throws. Some of his outside-the-box throws are too cute, too flippantly disrespectful to the defense and that absolutely will not fly in the NFL. He struggled more than advertised against better teams on the schedule. Much of what holds me back from liking Wilson a lot more is fixable, coachable—better pre-snap reads, anticipation and more consistently smart choices. He could wind up being a great one, and it wouldn’t surprise me if that happens quickly—he’s that talented. But Wilson also carries far and away the highest bust risk of any of the top five QBs in this class—and that’s saying something with the greenhorn Lance and the limited Jones in there too. But boy the payoff could be thrilling! 2nd-3rd round with the hopeful understanding he could make that look foolishly low.