NFL Draft 2021: Ranking potential 49ers quarterback targets

BYU quarterback Zach Wilson (1) Mandatory Credit: Rick Bowmer/Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports
BYU quarterback Zach Wilson (1) Mandatory Credit: Rick Bowmer/Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports /
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Zach Wilson, BYU Cougars
BYU quarterback Zach Wilson (1) Mandatory Credit: George Frey/Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports /

Category: Pocket awareness


  1. Zach Wilson
  2. Mac Jones
  3. Justin Fields
  4. Trey Lance


Pocket awareness is the top trait teams are concerned about. Every elite quarterback has exceptional pocket awareness, being able to survey the field and make the right decisions while also reading the defense.

Zach Wilson is the best prospect by far for pocket awareness, as he makes good decisions with the ball and doesn’t rely on his first target being open. Wilson did have weaker opponents than the likes of Justin Fields or Mac Jones, so whether or not Wilson adjusts quickly to the tougher defense of the NFL is an issue, but he has the tools.

Jones is a very precise passer who takes care of the ball and puts passes where they need to be. Jones has to be accurate given he won’t be a powerful arm for the NFL, but his skill set and intangibles put him where he needs to be.

Fields is good overall but has two major weaknesses in this area. He does sometimes ignore checkdowns in favor of forcing passes downfield, and he’s had a tendency to be rattled by defensive pressure that causes him to make poor judgments. He has good poise overall, but it does sometimes go missing.

Lance is a real mixed bag when it comes to awareness, as he has a habit of taking off and scrambling when his initial read is covered. He has to improve his read progressions in the NFL, but on the plus side, he does have a generally good capacity to avoid turnovers.