SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – After much anticipation, on Thursday evening 49ers fans will find out who might be the future face of the franchise.
49ers brass have already announced that they plan to select a quarterback with the 3rd overall pick in the NFL draft.
Here’s a look at the top three prospects that have everyone talking.
Alabama’s Mac Jones has long been in the conversation, he’s rumored to be a favorite of 49ers Coach Kyle Shanahan.
The 6’2, 217lb QB put up huge numbers while leading the Crimson Tide to another national title during the 2020/2021 season.
Jones touts strong decision-making and is excellent at reading defenses and processing, though his deep-ball ability has been doubted.
However, one of his high school coaches Kevin Fagan has no doubts Jones will excel at the next level.
“His demeanor growing up and his work ethic. He works as hard as anyone we’ve ever had around. It’s just his competitive edge, his smarts, knowledge of the game and the physical stuff – his arm is very good. He doesn’t run as good as the rest of them, but he makes up for it in throwing and pocket awareness,” said Fagan.
Another guy who has risen to the top of the list is North Dakota State’s Trey Lance. Team insiders have recently said it’s a two-horse race between Jones and Lance.
Lance’s play helped the Bisons win the 2019 FCS national championship.
The 6’4, 224lb signal caller’s athleticism, arm strength and decision-making stand out, though some have concerns about his accuracy.
His high school coach Terry Bahlmann says Lance’s talents and maturity will lead him to success.
“He’s 6’4, 225 probably runs a 4.4 40, and he’s got a cannon for an arm. So all the physical skills are there. You’re gonna get a great citizen, a great role model, he’s gonna be the face of the franchise you want and the hardest worker,” said Bahlmann.
Finally, Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields has emerged as a favorite amongst 49ers fans and analysts. It’s unclear why his name has fallen off in the conversation as of draft week, according to reports.
The 6’3, 223lb gunslinger was the back-to-back Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year and led the Buckeyes to the national championship game.
Fields is said to have all the tools – arm strength, deep ball accuracy, and mobility.
His high school coach Matt Dickman says Fields has what it takes to be an NFL star.
“They’re gonna get an outstanding person that’s gonna be a great teammate. We know how talented he is, he can run to his left and throw and he can run to his right because he’s right-handed. He’s really a great play-action quarterback I really don’t know how he doesn’t fit with the 49ers,” said Dickmann.
The first round of the NFL draft starts on Thursday at 5:00 pm and will be aired on ESPN, ABC, and NFL Network.