Heading into tonight’s first round of the NFL Draft, we knew what the first two picks would look like. The San Francisco 49ers‘ intentions at No. 3, meanwhile, was a mystery.
The moment that San Francisco moved up to that pick, there were rumors about all three of the “big five” quarterbacks expected to be on the board: Alabama’s Mac Jones, North Dakota State’s Trey Lance, and Ohio State’s Justin Fields. Jones probably had the least hype as a potential top 10 pick ahead of that trade, but was the subject of the most discussion over the last few weeks. It was hard to determine whether that was a smokescreen, or if the Niners were actually targeting a guy at No. 3 that they probably could have gotten with a much less drastic trade.
Moments ago, they officially went in another direction. After a few hours of speculation surrounding Aaron Rodgers, the Niners used the No. 3 pick to take Lance, the wild card of this quarterback group. The Bison quarterback made a name for himself in 2019, throwing for 28 touchdowns and no interceptions en route to an FCS title.
The San Francisco 49ers brass obviously kept things close to the vest, and didn’t allow the pick to leak. So much so, that according to Adam Schefter, the team’s higher-ups didn’t even tell assistant coaches and scouts what they were doing at No. 3.
49ers did not tell their coaches or scouts their pick. They didn’t know the team was selecting Trey Lance until the pick was announced.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 30, 2021
That honestly feels like a bit much, but clearly the 49ers were concerned about showing any of their cards. It did make for a big surprise here early in the draft, which after endless Roger Goodell preening, a weird Kings of Leon concert, and a pair of draft picks with little to no drama, is appreciated from a TV perspective.
In 2019, Trey Lance threw for 2,786 yards, 28 touchdowns, and no picks, completing just under 67-percent of his throws, for 9.7 yards per attempt. He’s a true dual-threat as well, having run for 1,110 yards and 14 touchdowns that season.
He should be a lot of fun in Kyle Shanahan’s offense.