After the San Francisco 49ers traded up to No. 3, no one was quite sure who they’d draft. There was plenty of conjecture about Justin Fields, and for weeks Mac Jones looked like the surprise favorite for the spot. Instead, they went with North Dakota State quarterback Trey Lance.
The 49ers are expected to start Jimmy Garoppolo this fall, though Lance has impressed early on. He’s the pretty clear quarterback of the future, raising the ceiling of that offense assuming he lives up to his high draft position.
Niners head coach Kyle Shanahan was a guest on the latest episode of the Flying Coach podcast, which Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay is hosting with Peter Schrager this summer. Shanahan and McVay are good friends in the profession, and had a wide-ranging conversation about their two teams’ eventful offseasons.
McVay admits that he didn’t have a sense for what the Niners were going to do, and thought the quarterback speculation may have been a total smokescreen. He thought tight end Kyle Pitts was in play for that No. 3 pick, one spot ahead of where he went to the Atlanta Falcons.
Newest episode of “Flying Coach” @ringer podcast is up.
90 minutes of Sean McVay and Kyle Shanahan talking ball.
— Peter Schrager (@PSchrags) July 7, 2021
“I thought there was a possibility that Kyle was gonna go Pitts at three,” McVay said, via 49ers Webzone. “In all seriousness, because he’s such a visionary. I’m telling you, I didn’t think it was going to be a crazy thought because you go back to when New England had the two-tight end set, and they were doing things totally different.
“You think about what (George) Kittle. And then, the thing that makes sense is that, hey, Jimmy’s produced all the way. This isn’t a production thing. This is an availability thing that you’re saying, ‘We can’t have that,’ like, all the things.
Kittle and Pitts would have been a crazy combination for 12 personnel. Ultimately, if you’re trading away a ton of assets for the No. 3 pick, it’s probably going to be for a quarterback. Garoppolo was good enough to get the 49ers to the Super Bowl a few years ago, but he’s very injury prone, and the team has looked limited at times with him under center.
If Lance works out, it could unlock the team’s true potential as a year-in, year-out title threat.
Sean McVay’s Rams face Shanahan’s 49ers on Nov. 15 in the Bay Area, and on Jan. 9 in Los Angeles.