Almost three weeks after the San Francisco 49ers pulled off a blockbuster trade for the third pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, rumors are hitting overdrive relating to which quarterback they plan on selecting.
San Francisco did not deal away three first-round picks and a third-round selection to take a player at any other position outside of quarterback.
Initially, the national media concluded that reigning Heisman finalist Mac Jones from Alabama would be the third selection. The idea was that Kyle Shanahan’s past success with fellow prototypical quarterbacks in Kirk Cousins and Matt Ryan would lead him in this direction.
San Francisco’s head coach attempted to push back against that narrative during a broad post-trade press conference earlier in April. After setting up and attending Justin Fields’ second pro day with Ohio State, it appears that things are shifting in the direction of San Francisco adding the former Buckeyes star.
Justin Fields Overtakes Mac Jones As Favorite To Land With The 49ers
BetMGM adjusted its betting odds on Thursday, clearly making Fields the favorite to land with San Francisco at three. Here are how the odds break down.
Justin Fields (-140)
Mac Jones (+110)
Trey Lance (+450)
As has been noted throughout the entire pre-draft process, North Dakota State’s Trey Lance is also an option for San Francisco. However, the small-school product now has to be seen as a long shot from a betting perspective.
I have in the past warned against reading too much into reports that the 49ers were targeting Jones at three. One of the preconditions for general manager John Lynch taking the job back in 2017 was a stop to the organizational leaks to the media that defined the latter part of Jim Harbaugh’s tenure with the 49ers.
Previously in the media, Lynch knew full well where these leaks were coming from — CEO Jed York and others atop the 49ers’ hierarchy. Since Lynch and Shanahan joined the 49ers’ organization, they have been among the most tight-lipped in the NFL. That was brought to an entirely new level following the aforementioned blockbuster trade to the third pick with Miami.
Are The San Francisco 49ers Showing Their Hand?
No. That’s the short-form answer to this question. If the 49ers being linked to Mac Jones was some sort of narrative on the media’s part, it’s also pretty ridiculous to conclude that San Francisco’s brass has leaked to said media that it will be taking Fields at three.
Here’s what we do know. San Francisco set up a second pro day for Fields this week after Shanahan and Lynch skipped his initial workout to go watch Jones in Tuscaloosa. Said initial first workout included 49ers vice president of player personnel and assistant general manager going to watch Fields.
In the pro day earlier this week, Fields was asked to involve some of the 49ers’ passing concepts. It went off without a hitch. In fact, Fields and Shanahan was seen on the field in Columbus chatting it up like besties.
In reality, that could be the best tell as it relates to what the 49ers are going to do at three. It’s also important to note that Fields’ personal quarterback coach John Beck has a solid relationship with Shanahan and the 49ers’ front office dating back to their time together in Washington.
Does any of this mean the 49ers have hitched their wagon to Fields and plan on taking him No. 3? No. With that said, it might be the clearest tell yet from an organization that does not leak. The updated betting odds add another layer to it all.