We’re now officially into draft year.
In a trade reminiscent of the Indianapolis Colts-New York Jets pre-draft swap a number of several years back again, the San Francisco 49ers are effectively blindly investing up to the No. 3 place with a quarterback in intellect — but which one?
It could be curtains for Jimmy Garoppolo in a Niners uniform, or he could commence early whilst the rookie sits for a little bit. But not like that Jets-Colts trade, we’d be naive to think that the 49ers did not place in a contact to outdated mate Robert Saleh, who is now the Jets’ head coach. Following all, he turned a rock-star assistant less than head coach Kyle Shanahan and basic John Lynch.
In get to go up that considerably and give up so considerably — a 3rd-rounder this calendar year, plus two long run firsts — 1 reasonably could surmise that the Niners know who the Jets are using at No. 2 over-all. (Which means, they are not the Mike Maccagnan-operate Jets.)
Let’s throw out there the concept of Trevor Lawrence likely initial to the Jaguars and BYU QB Zach Wilson next to the Jets. We really don’t know Wilson is for absolutely sure their male, but it absolutely feels like a potent likelihood.
Who may the 49ers be targeting? They have a few possibilities.
Justin Fields, Ohio State
If I was rating these most probable to the very least possible, Fields is 3rd on this listing. I appreciate his upside and consider he’ll conclusion up one of the two or a few best QBs from this course. But his competencies could possibly not be a great match for what Shanahan seeks in his quarterbacks.
The exact same kinds of phrases retain popping up in the analysis of Fields: Requirements to procedure far better and a lot quicker. Not excellent on anticipatory throws. A hair gradual by means of progressions.
Shanahan would like a quarterback who will run his program to around-perfection. A lightning-speedy thinker who is prepared to make significant-amount reads tomorrow. He wishes them to be facilitators, hence why the 49ers have loaded up on yards-after-the-capture threats and mismatch parts on offense.
That is not Fields right now. To be fair, it wasn’t Dak Prescott when he came out either. This is no indictment on Fields, who has some exceptional traits and exciting upside. It is just that Shanahan’s offense would not be a glove in shape for him.
Shanahan critics say he is far too in appreciate with his method, and that’s a discussion for yet another working day. But disregarding that element would be foolhardy.
Trey Lance, North Dakota State
This is exactly where it will get attention-grabbing. Lance, for all his meant rawness and absence of superior-degree encounter, is superior at anticipating now than Fields. On the flip side, Fields does points Lance can’t still.
But for the goal of acquiring San Francisco’s more perfect QB, Lance has to be in thing to consider. The one rather amazing point about scouting him that kept catching my focus was that for a participant whom a lot of schools recruited as an “athlete,” Lance certainly has a superior football IQ.
The Bison ran a pro-type system that included elements of the spread and the QB operate sport. It’s not terribly divergent from what Shanahan does. And you can see Lance generating checks at the line and modifying the security as a redshirt freshman, in some situations with only a few commences less than his belt. He finished up with only 17 in his vocation.
To have that degree of acumen and self-confidence as a 19-yr-outdated is special. Lance has room to mature and enhance with the mental areas of the match, but we don’t know of a scout who doesn’t imagine Lance is able of that, thinking of what he has shown.
Lance throws with timing and anticipation. Feel of the aged phrase, “he throws men open up.” With only one particular school interception (in his 2020 showcase recreation), it is clear that he can take treatment of the football and puts a premium on that. Shanahan does much too.
All the features are there to make a match. The major concern: Would Shanahan switch more than the keys to the Ferrari to a participant with just one get started in the past 14 months and with no encounter vs. FBS competitiveness?
Doing so could open the doorway to Garoppolo serving as the bridge QB and possibly becoming a trade-deadline candidate. It is not a wild thought. We could see that going on, though Garoppolo has a no-trade clause.
Lance can’t be ruled out to the Niners.
Mac Jones, Alabama
They would not definitely just take him at three, would they?
A thirty day period back, you could see Jones landing at No. 15 to the New England Patriots, or possibly 20th to the Chicago Bears. He was roundly considered as QB5 in the pecking get, and we frankly don’t disagree with that idea.
But there has been a change in the tide. Jones’ finest trait could possibly be that he’s quite responsible. Is his arm expertise unique? No. Is he a excellent athlete? Not definitely, even if he analyzed much better than predicted.
What Jones does most effective is distribute. He will get the ball to his horses and allows them run. It may read as an older formula at the situation, but it’s what Shanahan wishes. He desires a QB who can make full-discipline progressions, toss cleanly with a speedy release and provide the ball with contact and placement.
Test, check, check, examine — Jones passes people checks. Once more, buying and selling two potential firsts and a lot more to land Jones feels like marketing your home to invest in a manufacturer new Prius. It’s not what we would do, but ruling out Jones below feels way too premature.
A handful of years ago at the NFL scouting blend, I requested a great deal of head coaches with offensive backgrounds the very same issue: “What ingredient of quarterback analysis is a have to-have, and what is a non-starter at the position?”
Shanahan’s solution: He wished QBs with thoroughly clean throwing motions. Coaching issues out of them is easier mentioned than performed, and they have a tendency to revert again to previous, negative patterns underneath duress. Jones has pretty clear, crisp mechanics. It is why you hear the Tom Brady comps so usually.
And right before the 49ers traded for Garoppolo, who did they test to land? Yep, Brady. Jones may not be Brady, but he’s more than enough of a Brady clone in the factors that make any difference to the head coach that we completely can’t rule out this pairing.
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