San Francisco 49ers mock draft: QB or tight end? What the Niners will do

By Vincent Frank

The San Francisco 49ers mock draft database changed big time last month after they traded up from the 12th selection to No. 3 overall with the Miami Dolphins.

This is the clearest indication yet that general manager John Lynch will be looking for an heir-apparent to injury-plagued quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. The only question here is who San Francisco will target with the likes of Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson likely off the board at three.

Who will be the best QB from the 2021 NFL Draft?

San Francisco 49ers mock draft: Finding that franchise quarterback

First-round, 3rd pick: Justin Fields, quarterback, Ohio State

San Francisco 49ers mock draft: Justin Fields, Ohio State
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The narrative that these 49ers are going to go with a more traditional pocket passer in Mac Jones over Fields because of Kyle Shanahan’s previous success with Matt Ryan and Kirk Cousins is laughable. Coaches must adjust their thinking. This isn’t the same league. Shanahan knows that first-hand, as evidenced by his comments about Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen ahead of a game this past season.

“He’s (Allen) as good as advertised,” Shanahan said. “The skillset that he has, with his mentality, you don’t see many guys that big, who can run that fast, who also have the mentality to run people over. So, if you sit there and think he’s going to go down easy, you’re going to get extremely embarrassed because he can run you over.”

Justin Fields should be the 49ers’ pick after they pulled off the blockbuster trade for the third selection. We’re talking about a perfect fit in Shanahan’s system. The strong arm that Garoppolo never really showed off. Impressive accuracy on intermediate passes, too. Add in Fields’ dual-threat ability, and it’s the clearest indication yet that San Francisco traded up to add the former Ohio State star as its franchise quarterback.

Read More: 2021 NFL mock draft: Crazy trades spark historic run on QBs, more big surprises

Second round, 43rd pick: Rondale Moore, wide receiver, Purdue

San Francisco 49ers mock draft: Rondale Moore
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San Francisco has a glaring need in the slot behind Samuel and Aiyuk. The 5-foot-9 Moore would be an absolutely perfect fit. Much like Aiyuk and Samuel, he has that initial quickness to gain separation at the line. He can score from pretty much everywhere on the field. The only thing holding Moore back from being a potential first-round pick is the fact that he’s played just seven games over the past two seasons due to injuries. That could force San Francisco to take a step back given the injuries this team dealt with in 2020. Even then, Moore is worth a chance to pair up with Fields.

Read More: San Francisco 49ers sign Mohamed Sanu: 2 more free agents team should target

Second round, 46th pick: Asante Samuel Jr., cornerback, Florida State

Arizona Cardinals mock draft
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With one of the picks acquired in the hypothetical Jimmy Garoppolo trade, San Francisco adds a top-flight cover corner in Asante Samuel. Despite his average height, Samuel has the physical ability to succeed in the 49ers’ defensive scheme. He has terrific ball skills and already boasts plus-level awareness. We’re talking about a true shut down guy during his days with the Seminoles. The 49ers have a need here despite retaining free agents K’Waun Williams, Emmanuel Moseley and Jason Verrett in March.

Third round, 96th pick: Patrick Jones, EDGE, Pittsburgh

San Francisco 49ers mock draft: Patrick Jones
Credit: Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

While San Francisco did essentially retain the injury-plagued Dee Ford, there’s very little reason to believe that the team will rely on him behind a player in Nick Bosa who is coming off a torn ACL. The loss of last season’s leading sack-getter Kerry Hyder Jr. to the division-rival Seattle Seahawks doesn’t help matters out on the edge. At 6-foot-5 and 264 pounds, Jones has the perfect frame to excel in this scheme. Add in his elite-level explosiveness and previous success at Pittsburgh (24 tackles for loss, 17.5 sacks the past two seasons).

Read More: NFL defense rankings: Big changes after NFL free agency

Third round, 102nd pick: Royce Newman, guard, Mississippi

San Francisco 49ers mock draft: Royce Newman
Credit: Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

Adding offensive linemen to the mix is all about the 49ers’ zone-blocking scheme. They want more athletic players at all levels. Despite his advanced age, the recent signing of Alex Mack adds even more credence to this idea. At 6-foot-6 and 310 pounds, Newman is an exceptional athlete. He gets to that second tier in a matter of moments and could be huge in the run game.

Read More: 49ers GM John Lynch will pick QB 3rd in 2021 NFL Draft, hear Jimmy Garoppolo trade offers

San Francisco 49ers mock draft: Day 3 picks

San Francisco 49ers mock draft: Pooka Williams
Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
  • Fourth round, 117th pick: Ambry Thomas, cornerback, Michigan
  • Fifth round, 155th pick: Drew Dalman, center, Stanford
  • Fifth round, 172nd pick: Trevon Grimes, wide receiver, Florida
  • Fifth round, 180th pick: Derrick Barnes, linebacker, Purdue
  • Sixth round, 194th pick: Malcolm Koonce, EDGE, Buffalo
  • Seventh round, 230th pick: Pooka Williams, running back, Kansas

This is an area of the draft that 49ers general manager John Lynch has hit big time. Just think about All-Pro tight end George Kittle being a fifth-round pick. Heck, star linebacker Dre Greenlaw went in the sixth round. These are two major building blocks moving forward.

Related: If you’re a fan of the 49ers, check out #NinerNation rumors, rankings, and news here.