Skip to main content

2021 Mock Draft Monday 7.0: Which QB is the Best Fit for 49ers at No. 3?

The San Francisco 49ers shook up the draft last month following their trade with the Miami Dolphins to jump ahead nine spots to pick No. 3 overall. Analysts quickly begun pinpointing which prospect led John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan to make the franchise-defining trade.

With a top-heavy pool of quarterback prospects heading into next month's draft, pundits foresee San Francisco landing one the top options behind the Jacksonville Jaguars (No. 1 overall) and the New York Jets (No. 2 overall).

In our second to last installment of Mock Draft Monday, here's a look at which QB national media believe the 49ers will select with the third-overall pick.

Todd McShay, ESPN: QB Mac Jones, Alabama

"The Niners sacrificed first-rounders over the next two years and then some to skip the line. Which player did they do it for? Coach Kyle Shanahan surely has his guy in mind already, and it's going to be a QB -- teams don't make these types of massive early deals for non-QBs. I'm hearing a lot of noise about Jones being the 49ers preference. He is accurate and reads the field so well, which helps assuage mobility concerns. Plus, he excels when passing in the pocket or off play-action, two staples of Shanahan's system. San Francisco paid a hefty price, but quarterback was in need of an upgrade. Now it just has to hope it selects the right one."

Ian Cummings, Pro Football Network: QB Justin Fields, Ohio State

"The 49ers made a decisive trade up to No. 3 overall. PFN's Chief NFL Analyst Trey Wingo deduced through this move that the 49ers have 'their guy' in mind at No. 3 overall. After all, teams don't make these kinds of moves if they aren't sure who they're targeting. The 49ers know. But no one else does.

"A source of PFN's Chief Draft Analyst and NFL Insider Tony Pauline has Mac Jones, based on gut feeling. Schematic indications point to Trey Lance. But a player being overlooked is Justin Fields.

"The criticism of Fields this offseason has been dramatic and somewhat unfair. No quarterback prospect is perfect, but Fields' competitive fire, unheard-of natural accuracy, and elite athletic traits are too often glossed over. He's the best QB still on the board."

Jeff Kerr, CBS Sports: QB Justin Fields, Ohio State

"Fields is a perfect fit in San Francisco. He can make the throws on the run -- and can carry the football himself -- and has thrived on the intermediate throws (vital in the 49ers offense). The potential to be great is why the 49ers traded up to select a franchise changer at the position. Fields is the big-game quarterback the 49ers covet as the team will develop him to succeed under Kyle Shanahan."

Austin Gayle, Pro Football Focus: QB Justin Fields, Ohio State

"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 (Trevor) Lawrence and (Zach) 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)."

Hayden Winks, Yahoo! Sports: QB Trey Lance, North Dakota State

"Ruling out Justin Fields, Mac Jones or Lance this early would be dumb. All are 'scheme fits' because Kyle Shanahan is an elite coach and can win using different archetypes, so that's not helping the decision either. Lance is my current lean for three reasons: 1) the 49ers are reportedly willing to keep Jimmy Garoppolo in 2021 and Lance stands to benefit from sitting the most, 2) he did the most pre-snap despite being the youngest of the group, and 3) he now has the highest expected draft position per Grinding The Mocks."

Chad Reuter, QB Trey Lance, North Dakota State

"The 49ers pulled off a major trade with the Dolphins on Friday, moving up nine slots to presumably land their quarterback of the future. We're not sure which quarterback they love enough to give up two future first-round picks and a third-rounder, but for now, I'll run with Lance. His athleticism and arm strength could be an excellent fit in Kyle Shanahan's offense."

Ryan Wilson, CBS Sports: QB Mac Jones, Alabama

"It's go time, y'all. The 49ers sell the farm to move up from No. 12 to No. 3 to take ... Mac Jones. It sounds crazy, and maybe it is, but we've heard since late last year that Jones could very well end up a top-10 pick and we're a month away from knowing for certain. He certainly fits Kyle Shanahan's system and if the 49ers love him, they'll land him here."

Nick Farabaugh, Pro Football Network: QB Justin Fields, Ohio State

"This one is just so much fun to imagine. Justin Fields had a phenomenal pro day workout, but the fit with Kyle Shanahan was evident even before that. Fields is phenomenal both as a pocket passer and on the move (e.g., designed rollouts).

"Additionally, he adds an entirely new dimension with his legs and 4.44 speed. His dynamic deep ball also opens up this offense significantly with George Kittle, Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel. Overall, it is a beautiful marriage."

Lance Zierlein, QB Trey Lance, North Dakota State

"Lance was the projected selection for the 49ers in my mock draft 1.0, when they held the No. 12 pick, so it won't be a surprise if he's the player they're targeting after trading up. He's such a perfect fit for Kyle Shanahan's offense."

Vinnie Iyer, Sporting News: QB Trey Lance, North Dakota State

"The 49ers have talked up that they're still rolling with Jimmy Garoppolo, but it's hard to see them trading up nine spots for a position other than quarterback, especially when tackle, wide receiver and tight end aren't key needs. They're likely going high upside with a younger option who could sit a year to develop if needed, making Lance the best bet. Lance has climbed back up boards with his his massive upside. As more teams look back on his fine pro day and see tapes of his statistically brilliant lone season as a starter (2,786 yards passing, 28 TDs, no INTs, 1,100 yards rushing, 14 TDs) it's harder to ignore the impressive physical and athletic skills, including his blazing speed. Lance is raw and inexperienced and needs some polish in many areas, but the dual-threat tools can be blended together nicely for Kyle Shanahan."

Drae Harris, The Draft Network: QB Justin Fields, Ohio State

"Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch's trade up to this No. 3 pick shook up draft Twitter last week. This pick will undoubtedly be a quarterback. Will San Francisco keep Jimmy Garoppolo as their bridge QB for the year or choose to start a new era with their rookie QB, whom I believe will be Justin Fields?"

Final Tally:

Fields: 5

Lance: 4

Jones: 2