Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports


49ers select Justin Fields in PFF’s latest mock draft

Apr 19, 2021 at 6:25 AM--


Steve Palazzolo is a senior analyst at Pro Football Focus. He recently released his latest first-round mock draft, which isn't necessarily based on what he thinks each NFL team will do with each selection. This one is based on what Palazzolo believes is best for each organization and the picks he would make if the decision were up to him.

As is the case with most mock drafts, Palazzolo has quarterbacks Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson going No. 1 and No. 2 overall to the Jacksonville Jaguars and New York Jets, respectively. That brings us to the decision for the San Francisco 49ers. The team traded up to the No. 3 spot last month to acquire a quarterback of the future. It can choose between Justin Fields of Ohio State, Trey Lance of North Dakota State, or Mac Jones of Alabama.

Palazzolo has the Niners going with Fields, who became the betting favorite following his second pro day last week.

"While the markets are finally leaning back in Fields' direction, I believe this has been the play all along," wrote Palazzolo. "Kyle Shanahan's offense is always excellent, but it hit another level two times: 2012 with Washington and 2016 with the Falcons. That 2012 team featured a rookie Robert Griffin III being used effectively in the designed run game with play action coming off it, and that may be what Shanahan is looking to do to further elevate his creative offense."

Fields (6-3, 228) appeared in eight games with the Buckeyes last season, completing 70.2 percent of his passes for 2,100 yards with 22 touchdowns and six interceptions while adding five rushing touchdowns, per Sports Reference. That followed up a 2019 campaign that saw the quarterback throw an impressive 41 touchdowns and run for 10 more while throwing just three interceptions.

"Fields has two straight seasons with 90.0-plus PFF grades, and he ranked fourth with a 92.2 passing grade last year to go with the top rushing grade at 85.3," Palazzolo continued. "He has the accuracy to hit the open throws created by Shanahan's offense; it's just a matter of getting the ball out of his hands faster, given that his 3.11 seconds from snap to release was the second-slowest in the class.

"Expect Shanahan to try to hit a home run after moving up to No. 3, and Fields is the swing-for-the-fences candidate out of the next trio of signal-callers."





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