49ers 2021 NFL Draft plans: Kyle Shanahan, John Lynch talk Jimmy Garoppolo’s future, QB approach at No. 3


The San Francisco 49ers have been one of the main teams of intrigue heading into the 2021 NFL Draft and for good reason. The club made one of the biggest trades in the pre-draft process, moving up from No. 12 to No. 3 overall in a massive blockbuster that saw three first-round picks head down to South Beach to the Dolphins. Of course, moving that high in the draft and surrendering that amount of assets means one thing: they are taking a quarterback. That was the initial reaction when the deal was executed and has only been confirmed by head coach Kyle Shanahan and GM John Lynch since. 

Now, the question shifts a bit to which quarterback that may ultimately be. According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, the decision has been narrowed down to Alabama quarterback Mac Jones and North Dakota State’s Trey Lance. 

“We could have sat there at 12, and waited which one came to us, if one did,” Shanahan told reporters during his pre-draft presser on Monday. “But we made a decision that we felt we needed to get a starting QB. We wanted to dictate it. We’ll get the one that we feel is best for us.”

While this has seemingly been a collaborative effort between both Lynch and Shanahan, the GM did say that he’ll “always defer to” Shanahan when it comes to quarterbacks. That suggests that it could be Shanahan who has the final call on who the No. 3 overall pick will be. The head coach did reveal Monday that the team had one quarterback in mind when moving up to No. 3, but now feels good about a handful of prospects at that spot. 

“Our job is to make the right decision,” said Lynch. “This process has been as thorough as any one I’ve been a part of.”

But what of Jimmy Garoppolo, the club’s starter for the past four seasons? In the immediate aftermath of the trade up to No. 3 the club was rather insistent that they wanted to keep him for 2021. Although, Shanahan was a bit more aloof when asked if he can guarantee that Garoppolo will be on the roster Sunday, saying, “I can’t guarantee that anybody in the world will be alive Sunday.”

“Jimmy’s been a pro,” Lynch added. “I just spoke to him over the weekend. He’s here, he’s taking part in our virtual meetings, planning on being at the workouts and Jimmy’s been completely professional.”

As it relates to Garoppolo sticking in San Francisco beyond the weekend or not, it could largely depend on which way the 49ers roll between Jones and Lance. Jones is pegged by many draft experts as more pro-ready, while Lance is a bit more of a raw project, albeit with a massive ceiling. If the club rolls with Jones, that could signal Garoppolo may be elsewhere by Monday as they have someone who is conceivably able to go by Week 1. If Lance is the pick, however, that could buy the veteran quarterback some more time in the Bay Area. 

No matter which way things turn out, the 49ers clearly hold one of the first wicks of the draft and things should be set ablaze rather quickly with whatever the result of No. 3 is.  

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