Moving

49ers seven-round 2021 NFL mock draft: San Francisco opts for upside with QB at No. 3

Indiana versus Penn StateScott Taetsch / Getty Images

The San Francisco 49ers may have made the boldest move in the 2021 NFL off-season by moving up from 12th to 3rd in the draft (and giving up two future selection rounds to do so). Now they have to make this year’s premium picks count, not to mention a few flaws on their depth map. In addition to choice number 3, you have eight other options to put together your list. What newbies might be on their radar? Which positions will you prioritize?

Here is an example of how the overall draft of the 49ers will play out for 2021:

1 (3)

QB Trey Lance

NDSU

2 (43)

CB Kelvin Joseph

Kentucky

3 (102)

WR Damonte Coxie

Memphis

4 (117)

DT Marlon Tuipulotu

USC

5 (155)

DE Daelin Hayes

Our lady

5 (172)

TE Noah Gray

duke

5 (180)

S Richard LeCounte III

Georgia

6 (194) WR Brennan Eagles Texas
7 (230) AND Jake Curhan California

The first choice is the greatest for obvious reasons. Many pundits are now predicting Alabama’s Mac Jones as a pick as he is considered the most NFL capable of this year’s top rookie quarterback prospects. We don’t doubt coach Kyle likes Shanahan Jones and could build his offense around the Crimson Tide product. But we’re definitely not convinced that his grand plan was to jump nine spots to third in the first round, taking advantage of future premieres, all for the oldest, most physically challenged of the five best QBs of the year.

Lance would be a diversion from Shanahan’s “prototype” QB shape, but in the right way: he’s incredibly raw, but with one of the tallest ceilings in the class – a big arm, a big frame, and a great runnability. If the 49ers are half serious about keeping Jimmy Garoppolo, Lance would be a perfect starter waiting for 2022. And even if they did deal with Garoppolo, he would have more than enough intelligence and physical talent. Step inside and carry out a heavy attack in San Francisco.

Joseph, in the second, would mean a significant investment in a secondary school in need of longer-term cornerback help, with Richard Sherman gone and Jason Verrett always at risk of injury. Coxie is now a big, physical fanatic who, with Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk, could bring a certain tenacity into a position that is more based on speed and playful skills. The former Alabama and LSU recruit has taken an unconventional route to the pros and lacks the high-end explosiveness of many top prospects, but as a long-term red zone weapon for Lance, it would create a potential safety valve alongside George Kittle.

Tuipuloto and Hayes, the fourth and fifth round projections here, would help prop up a line of defense that lost some of its luster during an injury-related 2020 year. Nick Bosa’s return from the edge is obviously going to change things, but it’s everyone’s guess how long Dee Ford will stay as the main part of the rotation. The Niners also need more than just Javon Kinlaw and DJ Jones in the interior.

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