49ers NFL Draft: Top 5 Round 1 targets after blockbuster trade

Zach Wilson #1 of the Brigham Young Cougars (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
Zach Wilson #1 of the Brigham Young Cougars (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /
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Trey Lance, NDSU Bison
Quarterback Trey Lance #5 of the North Dakota State Bison (Photo by Sam Wasson/Getty Images) /

The 49ers just made a splash NFL Draft trade with the Dolphins to move up to No. 3 overall, meaning these five prospects are now in play.

So much for wondering what the San Francisco 49ers‘ 2021 NFL Draft priorities are at No. 12 overall.

On Friday, ESPN’s Adam Schefter revealed the shocking news, the Niners were trading up with the Miami Dolphins to get to the No. 3 overall pick in the draft, sending off the 12th overall selection along with a Round 3 pick in 2022 and two first-round selections in 2022 and 2023.

Schefter also added San Francisco was committed to its current starting quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo, this season. In a way, that makes sense. Head coach Kyle Shanahan’s offense is awfully complex. And with another likely online offseason program looming, expecting a first-year rookie quarterback to come in right away and deliver would be a tall order.

Or it could all be part of a smokescreen to lead the other 31 teams to believe the 49ers are going after a non-quarterback.

As unlikely as that seems, it’s a ruse teams often use. Especially if they’re eyeing one of the other top names in the draft who don’t play under center.

At any rate, now having moved up from No. 12 to No. 3 overall, these five players suddenly are in play for the Niners’ top pick.

49ers Target No. 5: Quarterback Trey Lance, North Dakota State

Out of all the big-name quarterbacks expected to go early in Round 1, North Dakota State’s Trey Lance was the one most likely to fall to San Francisco at No. 12.

But that doesn’t at all guarantee a fall would have taken place. Especially if other QB-needy teams started jockeying to move up into the top 10.

Grabbing Lance at No. 3 might be a bit of a reach, at least in terms of value. After all, Lance’s only massively successful collegiate year was in 2019, and he elected to sit out last season. Yet that 2019 campaign was still awfully special, and the numbers back up the dual-threat quarterback’s efforts:

Trey Lance Passing Table
Year School Conf Class Pos G Cmp Att Pct Yds Y/A AY/A TD Int Rate
2018 North Dakota State MVC FR QB 2 1 1 100.0 12 12.0 12.0 0 0 200.8
2019 North Dakota State MVC SO QB 16 192 287 66.9 2786 9.7 11.7 28 0 180.6
Career North Dakota State 193 288 67.0 2798 9.7 11.7 28 0 180.7

Provided by CFB at Sports Reference
Generated 3/26/2021.

Perhaps Lance will be given that opportunity to hone his impressive skill set for a full year under Garoppolo, learning Shanahan’s system with the full intention of starting in 2022.

And while some may see Lance at No. 3 overall as a bit of a reach, if the 49ers are sold on him, should it matter just how high up in the draft order they had to go to ensure they landed their guy?

No, not at all.

At the same time, though, there are prospective quarterbacks who may end up being better fits with a higher upside. So Lance doesn’t have to be an automatic suggestion.