Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports


49ers draft: Justin Fields has best chance to be better than Jimmy Garoppolo, says ESPN

Apr 21, 2021 at 6:24 AM--


In eight days, the San Francisco 49ers will draft a future replacement for quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, who has played well for the team but has durability concerns. He has missed 23 games over the past three seasons, including missing 10 games in 2020.

Justin Fields of Ohio State, Mac Jones of Alabama, and Trey Lance of North Dakota State are the best options for the Niners, who own the No. 3 overall pick following the massive trade last month. While Fields is the betting favorite to be the selection, and most "experts" have the team adding Jones, no one can say with any certainty who the pick might be.

Analysts Seth Walder and Paul Sabin of ESPN went through the exercise of projecting each quarterback's long-term chances of being better than Garoppolo. The impending rookie with the best chances is Fields. Although, his chances increase following his rookie year.

Obviously, a rookie who is new to the playbook and the speed of the NFL probably isn't going to be the best option to jump right into head coach Kyle Shanahan's offense and immediately do the things that Garoppolo can do. That's why the 49ers plan to keep Garoppolo for the upcoming season, allowing a rookie time to sit and learn.

Fields has just a 35 percent chance of being better than Garoppolo in 2021, per ESPN's quarterback projections based on each player's statistical performance in college, Scouts Inc. grade, and age. In 2022, those chances jump to 44 percent.

By comparison, Jones has a 24 percent chance in 2021 and a 35 percent chance in 2022. Lance has a 23 percent chance in 2021 and a 34 percent chance in 2022.

Obviously, ESPN believes that Fields is the best long-term option to replace Garoppolo. He has the most upside and would have a significantly smaller salary-cap hit than the veteran. Although, Walder and Sabin acknowledge that the former Buckeye is likely to be worse for the 49ers in the short term. Also, the projections don't factor in durability. Being more available in the long term could certainly have the biggest impact.

Then you have what the 49ers surrendered for the chance to get someone like Fields. The team surrendered its first-round picks over the next two years and a third-rounder to move up nine spots from its initial No. 12 draft slot. The ESPN analysts have to consider that while projecting the team's long-term success with a new quarterback.

"A rookie quarterback, on average, hurts San Francisco in the short term but helps in the long term -- but the significant draft capital discarded to move up also will hinder the franchise down the road," wrote Walder and Sabin. "Theoretically, the 49ers could keep Garoppolo and play him in 2021, but that doesn't make much sense. The roughly $25 million they would save is exactly the kind of money they'd need to spend in 2022 or 2023 to make up for a lack of a first-round pick."

Giving up so much draft capital for a player you don't intend to play is a questionable move, in the analysts' eyes. That makes the decision at No. 3 that much more significant and that much riskier. It'll be the most important draft pick during Shanahan's and general manager John Lynch's time with the 49ers.

Added Walder and Sabin: "No matter who San Francisco selects, it has a chance to improve the team. But the 49ers paid an awfully high price for the right to take that chance."





More San Francisco 49ers News



Trotter: 49ers traded up to evaluate Trey Lance, Justin Fields; Mac Jones was a 'safety net'

By David Bonilla
May 1, 2021

Jim Trotter took a look inside the San Francisco 49ers' month-long draft evaluation process that ended this week with the selection of Trey Lance of North Dakota State at No. 3 overall. Since March 26, when the Niners traded a haul of draft capital to the Miami Dolphins to move up, rampant speculation surrounded the team's target. It made for great ratings, I suppose. For a long time, Mac Jones of Alabama was seen as the most likely candidate to be headed to the Bay Area. Not necessarily by fans, but by the many analysts and media members with blue checkmarks by their names on Twitter. That left fans infuriated. Jones was not a popular option. Both Lance and Justin Fields of Ohio State were favored over the Alabama quarterback. In the end, it wasn't



ESPN's McShay has 49ers drafting Trey Lance in final mock draft

By David Bonilla
Apr 29, 2021

This morning, ESPN analyst Todd McShay released his final mock draft. While most mock drafts have the San Francisco 49ers selecting Mac Jones of Alabama with the No. 3 overall pick, an unpopular choice among fans, based on social media feedback, McShay has the team selecting Trey Lance of North Dakota State. "This is where it gets interesting, with a departure from what we've been predicting for the past month (Alabama's Mac Jones)," McShay explained within the article. "Lance has a huge arm and the tools to develop into an excellent NFL starter. He has only 17 career starts, all at



Kyle Shanahan: 49ers rookie Trey Lance will push starter Jimmy Garoppolo to be better

By David Bonilla
May 3, 2021

The San Francisco 49ers are 24-9, including the playoffs, with Jimmy Garoppolo as the starting quarterback. The problem hasn't been a lack of confidence in Garoppolo as a player but in his lack of availability. The veteran quarterback has missed 23 games over the last three seasons due to injuries, and the team's record suffered because of it during two of those seasons. That's what prompted the 49ers to look into drafting a quarterback and eventually trading up to select Trey Lance of North Dakota State. The always-forward-thinking Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch wanted to make sure they were setting the Niners up for success, not just for this season but for future seasons as well. That's why they held onto Garoppolo while drafting his successor. "Being here,



McShay believes Trey Lance will start more games for the 49ers in 2021 than Jimmy Garoppolo

By David Bonilla
May 7, 2021

San Francisco 49ers CEO Jed York recently spoke with NBC Sports Bay Area and called the team's decision to hold onto Jimmy Garoppolo while drafting his replacement an investment in Trey Lance's future. Basically, that means York had no problem holding onto the veteran quarterback and his hefty salary if it means affording Lance the luxury of sitting, learning, and eventually being better for it. "So, for us, if you invest $25 (million) or $50 million into your rookie to get them ready, then to me, we're investing in the long-term future of our team," York told Matt Maiocco. "And you never want to put somebody out there, especially a guy who you heard the sort of parlance


Featured

Trending News

Share 49ersWebzone