Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Rapoport explains 49ers’ thinking when it comes to the No. 3 pick, and why Justin Fields may be out

Apr 26, 2021 at 5:32 PM--

Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported on Sunday night that the San Francisco 49ers' decision regarding the No. 3 overall pick had come down to Mac Jones of Alabama versus Trey Lance of North Dakota State. If accurate, that means Justin Fields of Ohio State is likely out of the picture in the minds of head coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch.

There was also a report from Todd McShay of ESPN that sources around the league believe that Shanahan is leaning toward Jones, while the 49ers' personnel department is pushing for Lance.

That matches up with what Rapoport told Rich Eisen today on The Rich Eisen Show. Shanahan may have made a decision in his mind, but the remaining work could involve getting everyone inside the building on the same page.

While Lynch's contract states that he has the final say regarding draft picks, he stated during today's pre-draft press conference that he defers to Shanahan when it comes to quarterback analysis. Although, the two typically arrive at decisions together.

"I firmly believe they have not 100 percent finalized (the decision)," Rapoport told Eisen. "Do they have an idea? Absolutely. But you want to make sure, in your building, that if you're going to draft a franchise quarterback — they obviously are going to try to — that everyone's on board. You want everyone to be convinced, so I think that is actually what's going on now, is trying to build a consensus in the building.

"They've gotten a lot of information on Mac Jones. They've gotten a lot of information on Trey Lance. They've been in touch with the people training them. They've been in touch with their coaches. They've watched them do the things that the 49ers do on the field. There's a lot going on here, more than just watching tape."

So, why not Justin Fields? Why might he no longer be in the discussion? After all, most around the NFL have him rated higher than Jones and Lance.

"It's not that they don't like Justin Fields," Rapoport responded. "Truly, I've talked to many, many teams that have Justin Fields as the No. 3 prospect when it comes to quarterback play. A lot of teams. I would say most teams, actually, have Justin Fields at the three, so it doesn't mean he's falling. It just means, when you're talking about Kyle Shanahan's offense, they want someone to be able to engineer it and run it like Kyle wants.

"Mac Jones has a 'beautiful mind,' as they say. He is extremely smart. Trey Lance, extremely smart. I'm not saying that Justin Fields is not (smart) at all because he got very good grades and is also smart. But on the field, it's all a projection, but we did not see Fields go through his progressions like the others.

"That is my best guess as to why not Fields, but I don't take this to mean that Fields is falling. It's just probably not going to be with this particular team."

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