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History suggests Shanahan, 49ers unlikely to take Justin Fields or Trey Lance with No. 3 pick

Mar 26, 2021 at 8:42 PM0


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Kyle Shanahan and the San Francisco 49ers are unlikely to have moved up to the number three overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft to select Trey Lance or Justin Fields if past behavior predicts future behavior, as social psychology research suggests.

Shanahans have been wary of mobile quarterbacks


Kyle Shanahan was the offensive coordinator when the Washington Redskins drafted Robert Griffin III with the second overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft and Kirk Cousins early in the fourth round of the same draft, leaving many scratching their head as to why the team would select a quarterback so soon after drafting what many believed to be the franchise quarterback in RGIII.

Later it became known that Mike Shanahan resented and was ready to quit over Dan Snyder's preferential treatment of RGIII and tepid support of Kirk Cousins, and Mike Shanahan explicitly expressed anxiety about potential injury to running quarterback RGIII while calling Kirk Cousins a steal whom he could not pass up. In his senior season, RGIII rushed for 699 yards and 10 rushing touchdowns.

Kyle Shanahan was the head coach when the San Francisco 49ers passed on Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson to select Solomon Thomas and to later select a quarterback in the third round. In his junior season at Texas Tech, Mahomes had 285 yards rushing and 12 rushing touchdowns; Deshaun Watson had 629 yards rushing and 9 rushing touchdowns in his final season at Clemson.

Shanahans have sought quarterbacks who don't run


Kirk Cousins rushed for -39 yards and zero touchdowns during his senior season and C.J. Beathard rushed for -13 yards and two touchdowns in his senior season. The year before he was traded to the 49ers, Jimmy Garoppolo had 6 yards rushing and zero touchdowns and history has shown that Kyle Shanahan chooses quarterbacks with non-existent running games.

Justin Fields and Trey Lance have running games


Justin Fields rushed for 484 yards and 10 rushing touchdowns in his sophomore season and 383 yards and 5 rushing touchdowns in 6 fewer games during his junior season. Trey Lance rushed for 1,100 yards and 14 rushing touchdowns in his sophomore season.

Will history repeat itself?


It is a foregone conclusion that San Francisco has moved up to the third overall spot to take a quarterback. With this in mind, will Kyle Shanahan once again go for a quarterback who does not feature a running game and is a more traditional pocket passer in the mold of Kirk Cousins or C.J. Beathard?


Some, including Shanahan's friend Chris Simms, have mentioned Mac Jones as a possibility for the Niners. Mac Jones had 14 yards rushing and one rushing touchdown during his junior season.


History doesn't have to repeat itself


They say that doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity and humans are allowed to change their minds, but does Shanahan have the flexibility and vigor to break the mold and pivot toward choosing a mobile quarterback for the first time? Some think so.


Niners fans who are thirsty for a dynamic playmaker at quarterback are praying that history will not repeat itself and that the idea Shanahan won't take Trey Lance or Justin Fields is a freezing cold take, one that will not age well.

Because if the San Francisco 49ers add a mobile quarterback with the arm of Trey Lance or Justin Fields, the rest of the NFL could be in trouble.

Poll

  • Who do you think the Niners pick at number three?
  • Justin Fields
    44%
  • Trey Lance
    39%
  • Mac Jones
    17%
  • 5,404 votes
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.


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