The San Francisco 49ers plan to select a quarterback with the third overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, coach Kyle Shanahan confirmed Monday.
Shanahan and general manager John Lynch, speaking at their pre-draft press conference, each alluded to the fact that they had the quarterback position in mind when they made a trade with the Miami Dolphins to move up from No. 12 overall to No. 3.
“What I’m proud of with what we’ve done is we could have sat there at 12 and waited to see which one came to us, and I think whichever one did, if one did … I think that could have looked really good,” Shanahan said.
“But we made a decision in this process that we felt we needed to get a starting quarterback this year and add that to our team. And when we sit there at 12 way back in the day, we wanted to dictate it. We also were worried: Maybe the one we end up wanting doesn’t fall to 12.”
After San Francisco traded the No. 12 pick, its next two first-rounders and a 2022 third-rounder to Miami to move up to No. 3, NFL Network reported that the 49ers told quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo he was “still in (their) plans.” But Garoppolo’s future with the team is now in doubt following Shanahan’s comments about drafting a “starting” quarterback, and he could be an attractive trade target for another team.
Shanahan effectively dodged the question when asked if he was certain if Garoppolo would be on the 49ers’ roster by the end of the week.
“I can’t guarantee that anybody in the world will be alive Sunday, so I can’t guarantee who will be on our roster on Sunday. So that goes for all of us,” he said.
Since arriving in San Francisco via trade from the New England Patriots in 2017, Garoppolo has started 30 games; the 49ers went 22-8 in those starts. He quarterbacked the team to Super Bowl LIV, a loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. But multiple injuries caused him to miss most of the 2018 and 2020 seasons.
Shanahan said he feels good about five different quarterback prospects for the third pick. Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence and BYU’s Zach Wilson are widely expected to go with the first two picks to the Jacksonville Jaguars and New York Jets, respectively. San Francisco then would have its pick among the next three options: Justin Fields of Ohio State, Mac Jones of Alabama and Trey Lance of North Dakota State.
ESPN’s Todd McShay reported Monday that Shanahan wants to select Jones, but others in the front office are pushing for Lance.
Lynch said he “will always defer to” Shanahan on the topic of quarterbacks. Shanahan is the 49ers’ offensive play-caller and has a track record as an offensive coordinator in Houston, Washington, Cleveland and Atlanta.
But the decision at No. 3 will be made jointly by Lynch and Shanahan, Lynch added.
–Field Level Media