In the latest episode of “As the No. 3 Pick Turns” …. the 49ers have narrowed down their options from three potential quarterbacks to two.
Since trading up for the No. 3 pick last month, the 49ers’ decision has been the most speculated on in the 2021 NFL Draft. NFL Network reported on Sunday that San Francisco is choosing between Alabama’s Mac Jones and North Dakota State’s Trey Lance. If true, it means that Ohio State star Justin Fields is somewhat surprisingly out of the running.
Jones has been the popular name since the 49ers moved up from No. 12 to No. 3 in a trade with the Dolphins. This comes after most draft experts had him as the fifth-ranked quarterback behind Fields and Lance. It’s long been assumed that the Jaguars are taking Trevor Lawrence at No. 1, with the Jets to follow by picking Zach Wilson second.
Fields entered the college football offseason as the presumed No. 2 choice behind Lawrence. But he has somewhat strangely slipped down draft boards, with some questioning his ability to read defenses.
Still, Fields had two dominating seasons for the Buckeyes, throwing for 5,701 yards and 63 touchdowns. He had a signature game in the national playoff semifinals when he battled through a painful hip injury to outduel Lawrence, torching Clemson for 385 yards and six touchdowns while consistently showing off his deep-ball ability.
“I heard something about (Fields being) the last one to come in, first one to leave,” Ohio State coach Ryan Day told NBC Sports in response to the controversial criticism ESPN’s Dan Orlovsky relayed from his sources.
“First off, the scouts weren’t in our building all year. Last one in? Every morning, at least every morning we could be in the building, early, he’s in with (Ohio State assistant) Mickey Marotti. The guys who were self-motivated and could do things on their own, those were the ones who made it. He was unbelievable. He changed his diet, he got stronger. He did better than most. … I think some people are being a little reckless with their comments.”