Good Morning Faithful,
Here are the top 49ers headlines for Wednesday, April 7.
New and Notable
PFF's Quarterback Prospect Superlatives
Pro Football Focus lead draft analyst Michael Renner analyzed the quarterback class for the 2021 NFL Draft to create the ultimate rankings based on different categories, including strongest arm, best runner, best ball security and best pocket presence. Here's how things shook out. 👇
STRONGEST ARM: TREY LANCE
Not only does Lance have easy juice on the ball already, but there's also reason to think he could get even stronger because he is the youngest quarterback in the draft. Even in only one season of play, Lance still has throws all over his tape that make you say "wow" with the velocity he puts on them.
MOST ACCURATE: JUSTIN FIELDS
We'll let PFF's ball-placement charting do the deciding here. Justin Fields is tops in the class on all passes thrown five-plus yards downfield over the past two seasons with a 61.6% on-target rate, narrowly edging out Alabama's Mac Jones. That's not quite at the 66.1% we saw from Joe Burrow last year, but it far outpaces most of the other top quarterbacks in the class. No one besides Jones (61.5%) in the class is within five percentage points.
BEST DEEP BALL: TREVOR LAWRENCE
Lawrence still racked up deep shots despite never having a true sub-4.5-40-yard-dash type of wide receiver on the outside. His 77 career deep completions are 12 more than the next closest quarterback ranked in the top-10 of the 2021 draft class (BYU's Zach Wilson).
Cynthia Frelund's Analytics-Based Mock
NFL Network analytics expert Cynthia Frelund created an analytics-based mock based solely on a contextual, data-driven model with the singular aim to maximize each team's potential to win as many games as possible in 2021. Unlike most mock drafts, Frelund was not predicting what a team will actually do with their first round pick, but instead what statistically would give their roster the best chance to be successful. With the Trevor Lawrence going 1st-overall and the Jets taking offensive tackle Rashawn Slater at No. 2, here's what Frelund said about the 49ers.
"The 49ers traded up nine spots -- giving up two additional first-rounders and a third -- to target one position and one position only: quarterback. They're not even trying to hide it at this point, with head coach Kyle Shanahan admitting that the Niners feared being 'left at the altar' in the QB derby if they had stayed in their original draft slot. Exploring a draft pick at any other position in this blurb would just seem like a pointless pursuit at this point. So, which QB would San Francisco take if Trevor Lawrence were the only one off the board?
"My model takes into account each team's current status: roster makeup, opponents, scheme, etc. And with Zach Wilson's ability in play-action matching well with Shanahan's system, the model gives him a 4.27 win share."