Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Albert Breer shares a detail from Justin Fields’ pro day that may have impressed Shanahan and the 49ers

Apr 15, 2021 at 6:08 PM--

Justin Fields took part in a workout this week in Columbus, Ohio, in front of potential suitors, including head coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch of the San Francisco 49ers. That has caused the former Buckeye's stock to rise, and he is now the favorite to be drafted at No. 3 overall by the Niners.

It was Fields' second pro day-style workout. His first took place on March 30. However, Shanahan and Lynch were not in attendance for that one. Wednesday's workout gave the 49ers' brain trust its first opportunity to watch the incoming rookie quarterback.

Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated believes there is at least one aspect of the throwing session that might have left Shanahan and Lynch impressed.

"I think there's some NCAA rules about who can go run routes for him," Breer told Rich Eisen on the Rich Eisen Show. "So two weeks ago, whenever the first pro day was, they had Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson running routes for Justin, and for one reason or another, by rule, those guys couldn't do it again. It's NCAA draft rules, whatever it is.

"So, they had to do it with new guys this time around. So Justin was throwing to two freshmen this time. Jaxon Smith-Njigba and Julian Fleming were the two kids. And my understanding is, Justin was, as the workout was going on, coaching these guys up on routes, and how to run this route, and how to run that route."

It may seem like a little thing, but it could be important considering some have curiously questioned Fields' work ethic. The 49ers head coach may have appreciated it more than others.

"[I]f you look at Kyle Shanahan's background, it's in receivers," Breer continued. "He was a receiver at Texas, right? And so, I think getting to see Justin's intricate knowledge of the way that the receivers should run routes, the way he wanted them to run routes, where Justin's head is with all these questions that have come up on him, I think it's just sort of an interesting detail, and maybe something that Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch can take away from the experience."

Some analysts feel the 49ers went into last month's trade with an idea of who they wanted to target. How could a team pull off such a blockbuster trade without having someone specific in mind? However, Breer feels the team feels there are five quarterbacks with genuine first-round talent. So, at the No. 3 spot, it is guaranteed to have an option of at least three good prospects whom it likes.

Ultimately, it will likely be Shanahan's decision on which quarterback best fits what he wants to do moving forward.

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