Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan won’t say if team’s draft decision has been made

Apr 26, 2021 at 1:54 PM--

Do the San Francisco 49ers know who they're taking with the third overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft? Possibly, but if they do, they're not going to tell the public before the pick is announced.

49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch spoke with reporters for around 30 minutes on Monday regarding the upcoming draft, which will begin Thursday evening (8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT) in Cleveland, Ohio. The main topic of discussion, of course, was what the 49ers will do at pick 3, and where they stand at this point in the process. There have been reports in recent days that the 49ers have made a decision and that they still are debating their decision, but either way, Shanahan wasn't about to give any hints.

"So, do we know exactly who we want? Maybe, probably, but maybe not," Shanahan said. "I don't feel like we need to say that."

Why the secrecy? Shanahan says it's due to a desire to stay prepared for any situation that might occur between now and the draft, while also taking into consideration what type of impact it might have on those they've met throughout the process.

"Lots of stuff happens between now and the draft," Shanahan said. "You don't want the whole league knowing exactly what you're set on four days before the draft. And we also care about a lot of people that have been involved in this. We've gotten to know a lot of people and stuff. Those are the type of questions like narrowing it down or who's been eliminated or things like that, that one, I don't know if I want the league to know. I don't think it necessarily helps. That's why we really -- no one's really going to know whether we know or not until we pick. That's kind of what we're comfortable keeping it at."

Shanahan repeatedly said throughout the press conference there are five quarterbacks the 49ers would feel comfortable selecting at pick three, presumably Trevor Lawrence (Clemson), Zach Wilson (BYU), Mac Jones (Alabama), Trey Lance (North Dakota State), and Justin Fields (Ohio State). Lawrence and Wilson are expected to be unavailable at pick three, while Fields is being reported by Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network to be out of the picture. Rapoport said Monday the decision will be between Jones and Lance, and that the 49ers are doing every last bit of research they can before making a final selection. But Shanahan emphasized that he was impressed with all five players, and that even though there was a favorite at first, each of them grew on the 49ers as the process went along.

"When we made this decision (to acquire pick 3), we knew there were five guys we thought we felt we'd be okay with taking," Shanahan said. "We knew there were three at the time exactly; that's why we thought three was a good spot to go to. After going through this whole process, I feel good about five guys at three. Yeah, we had a guy probably at first back then, but we knew that wasn't set in stone. And we knew the only way we could figure out more, especially when you can't work out guys, you can't meet with these people -- there's a lot of things you can't do this year -- the only way we could go off that is if we could closer to where we could do a little bit more in-depth thing we didn't have to hide. And we did. And in that time, I think every candidate's gotten stronger. Yeah, we probably started with one in mind, but that one's gotten better since, and so have all the other candidates."

Lynch didn't have anything to add on the subject, saying only "Like he said" once Shanahan got done explaining his thinking.

So, as has been the case for the past several days, fans will probably get bombarded with reports between now and Thursday that update where the 49ers are in their decision-making process. But, as Shanahan said, no one will know for sure who the next 49ers quarterback will be until NFL commissioner Roger Goodell reads that player's name at the podium on Thursday night.

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