2021 NFL Draft: One quarterback SF 49ers can scout in each round

Mac Jones #10 of the Alabama Crimson Tide (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Mac Jones #10 of the Alabama Crimson Tide (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) /
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Sean Clifford, Penn State Nittany Lions
Penn State Nittany Lions quarterback Sean Clifford (14) Mandatory Credit: Matthew OHaren-USA TODAY Sports /

SF 49ers Target for Round 6: Sean Clifford, Penn State

6. player. 806. . Quarterback. Nittany Lions . Sean Clifford

Like Ian Book, Penn State’s Sean Clifford doesn’t have the ideal size at the NFL level. Sure, he’s a bit bigger at 6-foot-2 and 217 pounds, but Clifford probably won’t have a ceiling any higher than a quality backup at the pro level.

That’s OK, though, because there are a lot of traits that could make Clifford stand out against his competition.

Clifford isn’t necessarily asked to carry the offense. But when put into situations where he needs to deliver, the chances for big plays are always there. One of his best assets is his cannon-like arm, which is capable of pushing the ball well down the field and with good accuracy. It almost seems as if Clifford lives for these moments.

On top of that, Clifford shows an ability to navigate the pocket, feeling pressure and avoiding would-be sacks with relative ease. That’s another trait many of the SF 49ers’ quarterbacks over the recent years haven’t possessed.

A big problem, though, is Clifford isn’t a typical multi-read quarterback. He can struggle when his first target is covered, and he doesn’t have the anticipation skills to come up with alternate solutions, rarely targeting anyone who is about to break open anyway.

Still, in an offense like that of Kyle Shanahan where players are designed to get open, Clifford could thrive in a system-type role.