The 49ers push in all the chips. They’d better be right

Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch just put a ton of pressure on themselves with a trade to move up in the 2021 draft. Now they have to make the choice — and hope the rookie works out. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson, File)

The 49ers better be right about this. Friday’s draft deal-making was a real roll the dice moment for the franchise. One way or another we’re going to be talking about this push-in-all-the-chips moment for years to come.

As you know, the Niners have arranged a deal in which they traded three – count them three – first round draft choices (and a third rounder) for the third choice in this year’s draft. It is clearly a move to choose a quarterback. Nobody pays that much to draft a tackle.

Several points should be made:

First, this is a lot to pay for a rookie quarterback. This is a “generational talent” kind of price, what you pay for the sort of unicorn who appears and is so dazzling that you’d offer almost anything to acquire him.

Not sure that is what we have here.

The draft stud is Trevor Lawrence. And you can forget him. He’s going to be the #1 choice in the draft by Jacksonville. But if you could trade three first rounders to get him, the price the 49ers paid would be understandable.

Instead, we are left with the second (Jets) and third picks (49ers) to sort out the four remaining candidates, Zach Wilson (BYU), Justin Fields (Ohio State), Trey Lance (North Dakota State) and Mac Jones (Alabama).

The odd thing is that Wilson is said to have a slight edge on the rest of that group, and the Jets and new coach Robert Saleh, are said to be very interested in him. So if the 49ers wanted Wilson wouldn’t they have worked out something with the Jets? Couldn’t they get the #2 choice? Maybe just a swap of spots with New York? Do they know who Saleh is going to draft? Or are they OK with missing on Wilson and choosing among the others?

Because one thing is certain. This just put a ton of pressure on a rookie quarterback. For the rest of his career, the words “whom the 49ers traded three first round draft picks to choose,” are going to be in his bio.

It’s an interesting group. Wilson is slight but is said to have elite arm talent. He’s shifty and very modern-quarterback-y. Fields is a big guy, over 220 pounds, who has had some ups and downs at The Ohio State, but mostly ups. Lance checks all the boxes, but who did he play at North Dakota State? Mac Jones was successful at Alabama, but who wouldn’t be with that roster?

None of which screams “can’t miss prospect.”

Whoever it is had better be ready for sky-high expectations and a baptism under fire.

Second, if you wanted to undermine Jimmy Garoppolo’s confidence, congratulations. After an off-season filled with constant chatter about his future, and a grudging “Uh, sure, he’s our quarterback,” from Shanahan and Lynch, the team mortgages the farm for a new, young guy.

Having paid this price, they are going to want to prove that they were right. And that means getting the kid into games and having success as soon as possible. And Jimmy? Best wishes.

Again, this better work out. Because you have a Super Bowl quarterback in uniform and you’re throwing him under the blocking sled.

Third, this sets the course for the franchise in the future. It is always possible that they can regain those first round choices, but for now #1 is gone for three years in a row. First rounders are the coin of the realm. In the modern game, drafting usefully in the early rounds is the way to stock a roster. That’s where you get helpful, dependable starters who don’t take a big bite out of the payroll for at least a few years.

Still, you can’t say the Shanahan/Lynch brain trust is timid. They went all-in on this, aware of the pressure it will put on the person they draft, on Garoppolo and the current roster. And finally, this will attempt to answer the charge that these 49ers are just a one-shot flash-in-the-Super-Bowl team. They want to say this is a consistent, winning franchise.

This is a move they hope will make that happen.

They better be right.

 

 

This article has 67 Comments

  1. Hi C.W.,
    Welcome back, are you back for good? How often do you plan on posting? I hope the 9ers draft Lance and keep J.G. around for 1 season. It would give Lance a chance to acclimate to the NFL and give JG a chance to meet the performance level he played at during 2019, which would increase his trade value. The 49ers could use Lance like N.O. used Taysom Hill. It would make the 9ers that much more difficult to prepare for.

  2. I am on a school district chrome book which blocks Razor’s site. Hopefully someone else will post on his site that CW is back. Razor could continue to post articles here in the responses.

  3. There must be more here to see , besides Lawrence and Wilson who do they see as a franchise QB?
    This is a huge leap…

    1. Hacksaw,
      I believe that franchise QB is Lance. He can run like L. Jackson and pass like Mahomes. He played under center. 40% of his passes were play action and it is a special skill to pass after you have turned your back to the line of scrimmage. He went to the line with 3 plays called and then audibled to the right play. He also called all of the blocking adjustments for the O line (most teams have the center make these calls) He is a special player. imho

  4. Brilliant move by the 49ers whomever they choose, really, but it really reads to me that they know they are going to get “their guy”. They apparently tried drafting at 4 and 5 at least, so that seems to me that they expected “their guy” would fall that far, and thus 3 could be slight to major over-reach for “their guy”.
    But hey we somehow will soon have three top quarterbacks, Jimmy being drafted the lowest. Nevertheless this is a contract year for Jimmy and I think he is going to explode. While Rosen, beaten and batter with little help, is desperate for one more chance to show who he really is as a QB. Remember that he is highly touted for his accuracy, which Shanahan always covets.
    They are getting their QB of the future with absolutely minimal pressure to produce right away, perhaps change of pace and showcasing.

    Looks like a very competitive camp for QB which should be fun to watch

    1. UC,
      I think everyone knows the Jets will draft Wilson. The 9ers choice comes down to Fields, Lance or Jones and I am all in for Lance.

      1. OC
        I don’t pay enough attention to college to be able to comment on talent, but I will say that was a bold move. My question is what is JG going to do? His days are numbered. Does he stay for that year or demand a trade/release and move on with his career?

        1. Garoppolo won’t demand his release because he won’t make anywhere near what he is getting from the 49ers anywhere else unless somebody trades for him. If the Pats want him bad enough maybe they’ll come up with an offer the team can’t refuse but I think the 9ers will keep him rather than forcing the rookie to start from day one.

  5. Like I said in the above post, I think the 9ers will keep JG around for the season. Giving him a chance to improve his stock, then the 9ers will allow he and his agent to find their own trade. This year I believe they will use Lance or Fields like the Saints use Taysom Hill. It will give D coordinators fits in trying to game plan for the 9ers.

    1. Hey Coach, I couldn’t agree more. That’s my ideal scenario, unless the Jets pass on Wilson, then I’m not certain exactly who I’d draft. But it wouldn’t be Mac Jones, that much I know.

      1. Then again, my opinion is subject to change once I finish my work on Lance. In fact, I wouldn’t be shocked because a strong argument can be made that Trey Lance has the highest ceiling in this class, and he may also be the most NFL ready due to the offense he ran at SD, and the things he was asked to do. The kid is well beyond his years, and he’s only 20 years old.

        1. But yes, it should be Fields or Lance (or Wilson) sitting behind Jimmy in 2021, with their own special packages of plays. Of the 3, I would trust Lance the most if they are forced into action or tasked with starting their rookie season.

          Anyone else, in other words Mac Jones, would be a mistake, IMO.

  6. For me the choice would be easy:

    Justin Fields: Definitely not he doesn’t look his WR much off and stares to much, reading defenses will not be easy for him,look his pretty bad game against Northwestern.

    Mac Jones: They say he is the most pro ready, why did we tried to take Dalton or Flacco than? Because of bridge QB’s so that’s why i cant see us drafting Jones cuz his floor is high but his upside isnt that huge and in my opinion his upside is a slighter Derek Carr.

    Trey Lance: This would be the logical choice for me he has a solid floor but huge upside.
    High football IQ cuz as a first year starter calling protections with pre snap reads is pretty good on pro style sets.
    Strong arm.
    Great leader on and off the field.
    Serious POISE.
    Excellent at off script.
    IMHO to good to pass on.

    1. but who did he play at North Dakota State – Carson had the same background and we all saw what happened to him when he faced adversity…

      1. Carson is talented, but squirly, and reckless. Lance is in calm, plays with extreme poise, and is adept at protecting the football, which Kyle covets.

  7. Actually, the cost is two first round draft picks and a third. This year’s picks were swapped………..fortune favours the bold

    1. The person history credits for that saying, Pliny the Elder, died of asphyxiation from the Mt Vesuvius eruption the next morning.

  8. A bold move which will either be brilliant or set the Niners back a decade.

    1. Zac Wilson is overrated. I hope he winds up on the Jets. They will quickly discover that Darnold is significantly better. Jimmy is better also.
    2. Jury is out on Lance. He is a raw talent but I wish there was a larger volume of work.
    3. Fields is interesting. He plays big in big games.
    4. If we draft Mac Jones I will switch over and become a Raiders fan. Mac Jones might be “nfl ready ” but guess what – Jimmy is more NFL ready.
    5. Jimmy is a top 5 qb when provided with tools – like a healthy O line and WRs who can run routes and catch the ball. Jeez, is that too much to ask. Reminder that his receivers in the first half of 19 were Pettis and Goodwin. The more wise course of action would have been to stay at 12 and draft a S or CB. Then draft a Slot receiver. Sorry but TT needs to go. Or perhaps move Deebo to Slot and draft Waddle or JaMar Chase at 12.

    1. Two first rounders and a third…is not gonna set us back a decade. Lol…haha

      They may be gambling on choosing a different Qb…
      But they are just not gonna gamble on Jimmy staying healthy another season anymore..or have to hold his hand anymore..
      You hold a rookies hand…not a veteran..

      2017 -gave us a small sample size…i was excited..but….
      Hindsight..shoulda franchise tagged him..

      2018 -injured three games in…(Flaws started to show) especially in that Detroit game..

      2019-Preseason and training camp
      Reports of him throwing multiple picks in practice…It was downplayed…

      Then u see the boneheaded passes in the reg season and playoffs…
      Thats why Shanahan shut him down against Minnesota when he threw a pic..and ran more against Green Bay…
      Jimmy was getting figured out..and starting to flame out..
      That 2019 run was led by a strong defense and strong running game..

      2020-Jimmy got hurt again…and he still hasn’t figured it out .as far as upping his Qb IQ..pocket awareness..accuracy

      Shanahan realized this season…he can’t depend on Jimmy….His doubts started to show earlier..but…it is..what it is..

      They could very well keep Jimmy another year..to groom the next prospect…or they can implement the Rookie right now…

      As I said before…You hold a rookie’s hand…not a veteran..

      Kyle is looking for a smart,playmaker that can make things happen..when the play doesn’t go as planned…

      an improviser..with an accurate..stronger arm…some athleticism..that can make all the throws…

      We were a playoff team with or without Jimmy last year…
      Thats why u do this….

      Jimmy is not gonna decide the fate of the 49ers anymore….
      Some people need to realize that.

    2. 1) Dont think so
      2) How many games had Cam Newton in college? 14,difference is Lance had pro style concepts.
      3) I have my reserves about him cuz of his tendency to stare his Wr’s down, and his 2 really bad games in college Northwestern/Indiana.
      4) I wouldnt like this either that means our HC/GM still are stubborn to evolve.
      5) Availability big issue,also they didn’t trust him if you see on our playoff run and loss against the Chiefs in the SB,and he never will be Tom Brady.

        1. Anybody finding ways to nipick Fields brilliant NFL career is doing just that …. nitpicking. As if college QB’s are finished products. You project how his game will translate to the next level. I am absolutely confident in both Fields and Lance.

  9. Drafting a QB and trading JG before the 2022 draft will open up a huge amount of cap space. The cap should go up 30 mill if fans are allowed back this year along with a new TV contract. The 49ers will be able to extend Bosa, Warner, Samuels and Aiyuk as well as sign at least 2 A+ level FA’s. If you think this off season has been crazy just wait until next year.

    1. The 49ers have set themselves up with an opportunity to go on a LONG, extended Super Bowl run if they play their cards right in the upcoming draft. If they hit a home run on their QB, they are in a rare position to compete for a title this year (if Jimmy G can somehow manage to stay healthy – KNOCK ON WOOD, even though up to this point it’s clear he has a problem). They can make a run this year, and then follow this season up with what could potentially be one of the most exciting seasons in decades, with a real chance to be the first NFL team to claim their 2nd NFL DYNASTY in the history of their franchise, and once again claim team of the decade honors!

      Do not blow this ShanaLynch, please, I beg of you … do not blow this!

    1. oneniner,
      I am all in on Wilson if he is available (I don’t think he will be) and Lance if Wilson is gone. I’m not that far off of rating Lance ahead of Wilson, who knows I could change my mind by the draft.

      1. you know what sucks- has much as I think Kshan can be stubborn with personnel – he did

        – Robert Griffin III Rookie of the year
        – Matt Ryan a MVP
        – JimmyG NFC Champ

    2. Plus one, Oneniner!

      If ShanaLynch draft Mac Jones, I am probably going to shed a tear. And if Jones proves to be who I think he is, I can honestly say it very well could take years off of my life. That may sound overly dramatic, but that’s how strong I feel for my Niners. I bleed Red and Gold! I’ve been a Forty Niner Faithful since the early 80’s, and I still dream of the glory days. I even have 2 Joe Montana signed footballs, one is cased and center stage among other Niners memorabilia. I’ve been privileged enough to watch some of the best NFL quarterbacking the world had ever seen for nearly 2 straight decades!

      If Kyle is seriously thinking Mac Jones ahead of Zach Wilson, Justin Fields and Trey Lance, he needs to have an intervention. I recognize the magnitude of this pick. If Kyle takes Jones, and Jones turns out to be an average NFL QB along the same lines as the Kirk Cousins of the world, Kyle’s legacy will be ruined.

      – This is the pick destiny has brought upon him.

      – This is the pick that will forever define who Kyle Shanahan is and was, as a football man!

      – This is the pick Niner fans will point to for generations!

      – This is the pick that could very well set in motion the next 49ERS DYNASTY, and team of the decade!

  10. Just looking at the plays between lines – forget everything else – J.Fields is the one with the whao factor

    he played better competition and faced adversity – and he is a leader – I didn’t agree with him speaking out on playing during covid – but he spoke out

    JF is gritty…..

  11. Shanahan previously met Fields years ago while working with the QB Collective.

    “Just going back to the QB Collective, I remember coach Shanahan being a great coach, a great quarterback coach in terms of emphasizing keeping that base in the pocket,” Fields said after his pro day.

    “He’s a great offensive-minded coach and arguably one of the best coaches in the league. It’s just an honor and a blessing to be in that position to be looked at by them, so I’m just grateful.”

  12. I like QB’s that play in a pro Style system like Lance. The Ohio St. program doesn’t seem prepare QB’s to play in the NFL. What has impressed me the most about Lance is his experience in play action passes. 40% of his completions were after play action fakes. He also took 3 play calls to the line of scrimmage where he audibled to one play, he also made all of the O line blocking adjustments at the line.

  13. oneniner,
    Have you been to Razor’s site? I can’t access his site. I was wondering if anyone has gone to his site to let everyone there know the PD site is back up.

      1. Rib,
        Thanks, I hope the group that moved there come back. They can still write opinion posts just post them in the replies.

        1. Coach,
          I will make some visits here during the regular season because I enjoy reading the comments from the old crew on here.
          If the PD can keep this site fresh throughout the season it will be nice.

          On the QB topic, I like Lance’ and Fields’ great athleticism. But the oldest non athletic player in football has won 7 SB’s by staying in the pocket.
          I see Jones more along that line of QB.

          Is he Tom Brady? Absolutely not. But I believe that he is very commanding of the pocket and given time can hit his target with with high consistency.

  14. To paraphrase what my guy (SEC Champion, Pro Bowler, and Super Bowl Champion) – NFL Safety RYAN CLARK told ESPN today, 3/31 :

    “JUSTIN FIELDS is the 2nd best QB prospect, a very close second to Trevor Lawrence, and most physically gifted QB in this draft, passing wise and everything. What he needs to do is avoid the Jets, and do everything he can to be drafted by the 49ers and Kyle Shanahan because if he does, he’ll be an All Pro, he’ll win the Super Bowl, and he’ll go to the Hall of Fame!”

    He mention everyone needing to watch all of Fields tape over the last couple years, including the semifinal against Clemson (I believe 20 games).

    I mentioned earlier that I’ve watched the Northwestern game a few times at least, and I feel like Justin actually played well, but his receivers let him down, and the Northwestern DB made a one handed “INT of the year” on an end zone pass that should have been a completion of his receivers plays the ball a little stronger. BUT THAT SEMI FINAL games VS Clemson was one of the greatest college QB performances I have ever seen, and perhaps the gutsiest as well!

    Again, I continue to lean Fields, but Lance and Wilson are also right there, and I’ve been high on Wilson since he kept balling week in and week out. And then there is Trey Lance. Perhaps one of the most intriguing prospect I’ve seen, in part because I think he’s advanced in terms of X’s and O’s, he’s poised way beyond his years, he’s strong enough to bully a lot of defenders, I love his throwing motion,l and arm talent, and he runs like a speeding freight train.

  15. This is an excellent article, and I couldn’t agree more. I believe that they know exactly who they want and how it’s going to go 1-2-3. I don’t see our current brain trust as people who wouldn’t put their livelihoods out on a limb like this unless they were sure of what was happening. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if they were already writing up game plans. Here’s what I think. 1. Lawrence. 2. Wilson. 3. Fields. I’m happy with that.

  16. Lynch and Shanahan seem reluctant to hurt Garoppolo’s feelings, so they indicate they plan to hang onto him and start him next season. Other teams are sane, they don’t want his $50million contract along with his fragile body. The 49ers have the opportunity to cut him for just a few million dollars. Why keep him around while mortgaging the franchise’s immediate future by drafting his replacement? If I’m the owner, looking at the $80 million or so I’ve already spent on Garoppolo, and seeing my front office risking more of my millions, I’d fire both of them. Let’s say they start Garoppolo and he goes down again with a career-threatening injury. I’m on the hook for another $50 million or so, with only a superbowl appearance for my $137 million. Shanahan and Lynch could be laughingstocks, answers to a football trivia question for the next several hundred years. Cut the man and use the $25 million to buy through free agency or the draft a couple of linemen to protect the quarterback you plan on drafting.

  17. Fescue,
    I think they will use any cap room to extend Warner, Bosa and Samuels. They will keep JG around so they don’t have to rush their new QB and they hope he will play like he did in 2019 improving his trade value before the 2022 draft. The chances that he will experience a career ending injury are incredibly small.

    1. Old Coach,
      I look at Garoppolo’s play last year, not 2019. He lasted six games last year, and was 3-3. The new quarterback ought to be able to go 3-3, or else why give up all that draft capital? JG is way too expensive to keep around as a back-up. In my opinion, he’s only a super-bowl quarterback when he surrounded by the 2019 players–one of the top defenses in the NFL , excellent offensive linemen, and top running backs and receivers. A lot of them are gone and their replacements are what gave Jimmy G a 3-3 start to last season. It’s pretty clear–the road to success in the NFL is to go in the tank, get high draft picks, and be happy for at least one year. Those high draft picks are cheap, giving you the cap space you need to keep some of your vets. The only possible justification for using the weak-armed turnover machine Mullens almost all last year was that losses didn’t hurt because they moved the 49ers up in the draft.

  18. Longtime draft analyst Matt Miller is convinced that the San Francisco 49ers traded up to the No. 3 overall pick for Alabama quarterback Mac Jones, and he doesn’t sound too happy about it. He grew up as a Niners fan, and the idea that his favorite NFL team might select Jones over a prospect like Justin Fields of Ohio State disturbs him on two fronts—as a fan and an analyst.

    “As a lifelong Niners fan, that’s such a punch to the stomach,” Miller said on the Dan Patrick Show. “I’m trying to trust (general manager) John Lynch and (head coach) Kyle Shanahan, but I remember when they said they didn’t need a quarterback and they passed on Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson only to pick up C.J. Beathard in the third round.

    “I’m still a little gun-shy about trusting this front office. This just feels like something they would do. They would overthink it again, just like trading back to get Solomon Thomas or drafting Reuben Foster in the first round. It feels like this front office is a little too cute sometimes.”

  19. The NFL has been around for more than a century, and like any business that has existed that long in America, it has been touched by racism. Whether it was flat-out bans on Black players in the 1930s or Warren Moon having to rip the CFL a new one for five straight years to prove he was smart enough to be a quarterback, no one can deny the NFL’s history of racism. While things are better now than they have ever been, that doesn’t mean the effects of that ugly history are not felt today. In fact, we may be seeing them right before our eyes this year.

    In today’s Niners Nation Gold Standard Podcast, Levin Black wondered aloud why people suddenly began questioning Justin Fields’ leadership, character, and work ethic. Meanwhile, Mac Jones, who has some documented missteps in his own history, has not received the same level of scrutiny while vaulting up mock drafts. In Levin’s mind, the answer was pretty clear.

    Jones has that extra weight, and the DUI, and yet has skyrocketed up boards. This is despite being unexceptional. He’s not a good athlete, he doesn’t have a cannon, he is accurate but Fields has been more accurate in college. He’s not bad at anything but not so great at anything to justify ignoring negatives.

    “Part of Mac Jones’ rise as a prospect is due to racism. Racism is more nuanced than simple, ‘I don’t like that guy because of the color of his skin so I’m going to downgrade one guy and upgrade another guy.’ It’s more nuanced than that. The NFL has a racist past and some of the most blatant racism came at the quarterback position. That has created a system or history that is biased towards a certain style of quarterback that is predominantly White. And so I think that there is this idea where people are more critical of the athletic quarterback. They look at the athletic quarterback and say, ‘yeah he can run but can he actually play quarterback?’ There’s an underlying thing that sometimes you’re not even conscious of, because it’s built upon racism. The pundits out there aren’t being racist themselves, but they are being affected by racism and that is affecting their opinion. I think that is going on with Mac Jones.”

  20. Nice to see Mr. Brooks agreeing with me.

    Larry Krueger
    @sportslarryknbr
    Bucky Brooks says Mac Jones is not as good as Jared Goff or Jimmy Garoppolo.

    1. One, talk to 5 different Niner fans and you’ll hear uncomplimentary things about 5 different QB prospects. Whoever is picked is going be unpopular with a large swath of the fan base.

        1. Waited weeks for this site to come back so you could sh*t on it, eh? Drop dead @sshole, whoever you are calling yourself these days.

  21. Wonder if the 49ers could draft Pitts, then trade back into the first round for Trask at qb. (We’d have a “Kyle Trifecta”) Pitts may very well be an instant superstar (try to defend him, Kittle, Samuel and Auiuk all at one time! Sheesh!)

  22. Trask is slower than a stop sign. Unless you have pro bowl level talent at all 5 O line position he will end up being sacked 60 times a year and his career will last no more than 3 seasons. imho

  23. So Deshaun Watson’s career is in jeopardy for doing the same thing Billionaire Pats owner Robert Kraft did who received some mild comedic ridicule. Got it. Meanwhile a certain orange fat-@ass has confessed to sexual assault and 20+ woman have corroborated including 2 rape charges.

    Yippie ki yay

  24. Does any one know whether Aldon Smith is still unsigned. If he is they should sign him, it will allow us to focus on CB in the draft.

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    1. He was drafted by the Niners in the 7th round and played for 6 teams in 6 years. Yesterday he shot 5 people and then himself.

  26. The failed state of TX will require the National Anthem to be played at all sporting events. Next year they will work on proving running water and electricity on a consistent basis. LOL.

  27. What if Mac Jones turns out to be BETTER than Tom Brady? … What if I invent a time machine and become a good buddy of Babe Ruth’s?
    In any case … My predict twenty or so days before the draft … 49ers probably pick Fields …

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