While opinions may vary among media members and those who study the draft, there seems to be a consensus among the 49ers fan base of which quarterback is the popular choice for the 49ers at No. 3 overall.
Coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch will make it official during the early stages of the 2021 NFL Draft on Thursday, April 29.
In the likelihood, the Jacksonville Jaguars and New York Jets select quarterbacks Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson, respectively, with the Nos. 1 and 2 overall selections, the 49ers will choose among the three quarterbacks they have watched at pro days since March 26, when they traded up to No. 3 overall.
Will it be Ohio State’s Justin Fields? Alabama’s Mac Jones? Or Trey Lance of North Dakota State?
It is easy to find those who support each of those talented and successful players.
Fields is the clear choice among fans of the team. Fields has resounding 66-percent support from the fan base. Lance was second, garnering 24.6 percent of the vote. Jones was third at 9.4 percent.
Jones, however, is gaining in popularity as the projected 49ers’ choice among the mainstream media and football insiders.
NBC Sports’ Chris Simms, ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Mel Kiper Jr. and NFL Network’s Peter Schrager are among those who have predicted the 49ers will take Jones at No. 3 overall.
Jones set the college football record in 2020 with a 77.4 percent completion rate while helping lead Alabama to a 13-0 record and national championship.
Jones is believed to offer Shanahan the traits he values in a quarterback -- specifically, timing and accuracy.
Lance is a wild-card. He played only one game in the fall of 2020 after North Dakota State moved the bulk of its season to the spring. In 2019, while leading the Bison to the FCS national title, Lance threw 28 touchdown passes and no interceptions while also rushing for 1,100 yards and 14 touchdowns.
Because he missed out on the valuable experience of a football season at this stage of his development, Lance would not be expected to step in as an immediate starter. That would place a greater importance on Jimmy Garoppolo remaining the 49ers’ starter for one more season.
The 49ers have maintained that Garoppolo is expected to remain with the organization for another season.
Theoretically, Lance offers the most upside while also running the most risks because of all the unknowns.
Shanahan could get a lot out of Lance or Fields to shape them to his offense while also finding ways to utilize their mobility.
And while the team’s fans overwhelmingly want to see Fields’ name called at No. 3, the majority also realizes that Shanahan is the person best-suited to selecting the person to run his offense.