This could be a year where we see four quarterbacks get drafted in the top four picks, and the San Francisco 49ers just moved up to number three.
As I wrote less than 24 hours before the move, the 49ers seemed to be preparing for a change at quarterback. I messaged a friend and suggested that San Francisco could swap with the Miami Dolphins in an effort to secure said quarterback in the draft. On Friday, the 49ers traded picks 12 and 102, plus their first rounders in 2022 and 2023, to the Dolphins in exchange for pick three.
Then immediately after, Miami traded pick 12 and their own 2022 first rounder to the Philadelphia Eagles in exchange for pick six. (Thanks Doug Pederson.) It seems that the 49ers wanted to have a pick high enough for a quarterback and the Dolphins didn’t want to fall out of range of their favorite non-quarterback.
Here is the new top-12 of the draft:
- 49ers (from Dolphins, from Texans)
- Dolphins (from Eagles)
- Eagles (from Dolphins from 49ers)
The Jets and Jaguars also have additional first round picks in 2021. Nobody in the NFC West except the Cardinals has a first round pick in 2022, while the 49ers and Rams now lack first round picks in 2023.
The most obvious reason for the 49ers to trade up is to select the third quarterback in this class. Right now Trevor Lawrence seems a lock for number one and Zach Wilson’s show at his pro day on Friday should secure him for the top two. Would the Niners really be making this move for Justin Fields? He doesn’t scream “Kyle Shanahan type quarterback to me” — the area that needs the most refinement could be going through his progressions and hitting all his intermediate routes, whereas Justin Fields could immediately step onto an NFL field and be a fantastic vertical passer with the ability to run it around — and there are some thoughts that this deal was for Mac Jones or Trey Lance.
But a dark horse reason to move up could be a trade for Deshaun Watson. The pick that San Francisco acquired originally belonged to the Texans to begin with and they might not want to move on from Watson without securing his long-term replacement. They aren’t going to do that with mid-to-late first round picks, but pick number three could give Houston the type of quarterback who they can develop for 2022 and beyond ... like Justin Fields.
In any of those cases, San Francisco didn’t make this move for a tackle or a receiver. Jimmy Garoppolo won’t be the Niners starting quarterback for long.