NFL Draft 2021: 49ers get a QB in 3-round NFC West-only mock
By Peter Panacy
NFC West moves in Round 1 of 2021 NFL Draft
San Francisco traded up from No. 12 overall to get the No. 3 overall pick, almost assuredly to grab a quarterback, while the Cardinals are sitting at No. 16 and are hoping for more Pro Bowl-caliber play from their signal-caller, Kyler Murray.
Unless the Rams and Seahawks somehow figure how to gamble away more of the future for first-round picks now, they’ll be quiet on day one of the NFL Draft.
Round 1, Pick No. 3 Overall: 49ers select quarterback Justin Fields, Ohio State
There’s no shortage of buzz the 49ers are honing in on Alabama quarterback Mac Jones at No. 3 overall. But Jones, an accurate and solid quarterbacking prospect, has nowhere near the playmaking potential of Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields. While Fields has a lower ceiling and higher “bust” potential, his upside is far and away better than Jones.
Fields is far more evasive within the pocket and doesn’t lack both accuracy and arm strength. And all you’d likely have to do is ask the Niners’ NFC West rivals which quarterback they’d hope San Francisco drafts.
If the answer is Jones and not Fields, well, the 49ers would be far better off with Fields instead. He’s the top pick for the Niners in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Round 1, Pick No. 16 Overall: Cardinals select cornerback Patrick Surtain II, Alabama
Alabama cornerback Patrick Surtain II is neck and neck alongside South Carolina corner Jaycee Horn for the No. 1 at his position to be selected in this year’s NFL Draft.
Both could be off the board beforehand or slip to Arizona at No. 16, or general manager Steve Keim could end up with his choice of either.
The Cardinals could stand for some younger wide receivers to assist Murray. But with a deep draft class at that position, and one not so deep at cornerback, it would make sense to find a youthful defensive back to replace the veteran, Patrick Peterson, who was jettisoned this offseason.
True, Arizona brought aboard veteran cornerback Malcolm Butler. But signed to a one-year deal, Butler isn’t a long-term solution. Even if he was, getting a player like Surtain in the mix with the hopes he turns into the next shutdown-type player Peterson once was would be a smart, smart move.