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[Dynasty] 2021 NFL Draft Class


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NBC Sports' Matt Maiocco reports 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan said in December that he's "more open to deploying a mobile quarterback as long as sacrificing accuracy and pocket presence are not the trade-offs."

Shanahan's comments on dual-threat QBs came months before the Niners moved up to the third pick in the 2021 NFL Draft -- a move that ensures the team is eventually moving on from Jimmy Garoppolo. The 49ers will likely have their choice of Trey Lance, Justin Fields -- mobile quarterbacks -- and traditional pocket passer Mac Jones with the third pick. “Things change, people change,” Shanahan said in December. “You start to see you can win football games with any type of quarterback as long as they are good enough and you can be good enough in hundreds of different ways. ... So I evaluate quarterbacks in terms of trying to find people who can have a chance to be one of those elite-type guys and there's lots of different ways to do it. You can see now there's plenty of different ways, so I don't think that'll ever change.” Maiocoo said Lance and Fields "are likely evaluated as a grade below Jones" in accuracy and anticipation -- traits Shanahan has valued as an offensive coordinator and head coach. Whoever the Niners take at No. 3 will have a decent shot of overtaking the injury-plagued Garoppolo in 2021. 


Jimmy Garoppolo

, Kyle Shanahan

, Mac Jones

, Justin Fields

, San Francisco 49ers


Mar 27, 2021, 11:02 AM ET



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FMIA: While Urban Meyer’s Jaguars Head In Trevor Lawrence’s Direction, Rest Of Draft’s Top 6 Gets Shaken Up



It seems stunning to think Alabama’s Mac Jones could be the Niners’ choice—and “could be” is the operative phrase because the Niners have not decided who to choose at three. You can expect Lynch or coach Kyle Shanahan to say that today when they meet with the local press for the first time since January. But Jones is in the mix. Friend-of-Shanahan Chris Simms, an NBC Sports analyst, wasn’t predicting Jones would be the Niners’ guy when we talked Saturday, but he said: “Where Mac fits that offense perfectly is that Kyle will give him one or two clues about what the defense will do on a play, and the results will be top notch for Mac when he executes the play. He has Joe Burrow-type reading of the defense. Plus, other than Zach Wilson, Mac is the best bullseye-thrower in the draft.” If not Jones, my best guess is Trey Lance, athletic and strong-armed, would be the pick here.

Last point regarding the Niners, if they pick Mac Jones: There is a cadre of evaluators who do not think Jones is a great quarterback for 2021 football because he’s not mobile like a Lance or Wilson. Maybe those evaluators are wrong. We’ll find out soon enough. But if San Francisco picks Jones, the upshot will be stark. For a team to spend three first-round picks on Mac Jones will be the story to watch out of the 2021 draft.

2) Dueling Pro Days on Tuesday might provide a clue. For QB-seekers, what to do when the Pro Days of Mac Jones at Alabama and Justin Fields at Ohio State both happen on Tuesday? I hear the Niners will split the baby, with Lynch and Shanahan expected to attend the Jones workout, while assistant GM Adam Peters likely will lead a small delegation in Columbus to scout Fields. Not sure I would infer huge meaning to that, but it could be significant. How I view it: Jones could be the leader, but it’s not over.



7) The likeliest bet is New York sitting at two and taking Zach Wilson. After Wilson’s impressive workout Friday in Utah, he asked his inner circle: “So what’s gonna happen now?” No one knows for sure, kid. Also: Disregard what you hear about other staffs or people around the league knowing what the Jets are going to do. The decision-maker on the Jets is GM Joe Douglas, and I hear he’s not parceling out any clues about his preference for the second pick to coaches on his staff or others. Someone close to Douglas said over the weekend Douglas has learned to keep his draft preferences to himself. Wilson’s done what he can to prove he’s worthy of going second overall, an amazing rise considering he was in a three-way battle for the starting job at Brigham Young a year ago.

Last point about the Jets: It’s easy to say—if the Panthers come calling—that trading down from two to eight this year and picking up extra ones in ’22 and ’23 is a no-brainer. Easy, but perhaps painful, if Zach Wilson turns into a star, the quarterback the Jets have been seeking since the days of Willie Joe Namath. And isn’t that the tormenting part of the NFL draft?



10) So how do the big passers stack up now? Trevor Lawrence goes one to Jacksonville. Wilson two, probably to the Jets. Mac Jones or Lance to San Francisco at three. I keep hearing Atlanta’s leaning QB, with logic having Lance sitting behind Matt Ryan for two years, then playing. So let’s say it starts Lawrence-Wilson-Jones-Lance, one through four. I’d guess J’Marr Chase, the LSU receiver, reuniting with Joe Burrow in Cincinnati at five, and then who knows. I’d guess Miami at six would be thrilled with one of the three weapons (Kyle Pitts, Jaylen Waddle, DeVonta Smith) on the board. Detroit could go tackle or weapon at seven. And then eight? For now, it’s Carolina. It’s be mock-convenient to slide Justin Fields, the fifth passer in the queue, to the Panthers, but I’m not so sure. Fields has his Pro Day on Tuesday in Columbus. He better hit all the right notes. No idea who’s picking him a month from today.


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Jim Nagy @JimNagy_SB

Official results from @UofLFootball pro-day. Dez Fitzpatrick continuing momentum off a strong Reese's Senior Bowl game:

WR @dezfitz8 
HT 6016👀
WT 208
40 4.43/4.45👀 (NFL scouts ⏱️)
VJ 35.0
no BJ
SS 4.26
3C 7.09

WR Tutu Atwell



Jim Nagy @JimNagy_SB

Official results from @UofLFootball pro-day Part II:

RB Javian Hawkins
HT 5081
WT 183
40-yd 4.46/4.48 (NFL scout ⏱️)
VJ 36.0
BJ 9-8
SS 4.23
3C 6.98

LB Dorian Etheridge


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1 minute ago, Andy Dufresne said:

Jones and Smith? Okay, guy.

I suppose it depends on where you believed they were before.  It is not as if Smith has dropped weight since he won the Heisman.  We have always known he was extremely thin.  His refusal to step onto a scale probably doesn't move his value down.  I suspect he still goes within the top 10-12 picks in the NFL draft.  Jones is also what we have always thought he was.  He is not an athletic QB, and his arm is merely adequate, but he is a high football IQ, accurate passer who makes good decisions.  His earlier Pro Day workout saw him miss some throws, but I don't see that as a reason for alarm (he was without his top targets).  He was and still is QB5 in this class.  I would argue both Smith and Jones have held steady, but sometimes holding steady can mean being passed by others who are on the rise.

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