49ers must buck trend of NFL teams drafting QB busts in trade-ups

/ by Josh Schrock
Presented By Big O Tires
Sam Darnold

Whether it's Zach Wilson, Justin Fields or Trey Lance, the 49ers have decided now is the time to secure their long-term future at quarterback.

On Friday, the 49ers traded the No. 12 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, along with first-round picks in 2022 and 2023 and a third-round pick in 2021, to the Miami Dolphins for the No. 3 overall selection in this year's draft.

The blockbuster deal certainly signals 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan likes at least one of the draft's top signal-callers, and shows the team is serious about extending and maximizing its championship window. But recent history shows the 49ers and their fans shouldn't start counting how many Lombardi trophies Lance, Wilson or Fields will bring them just yet.

In the last 10 years. teams have traded into the top three of the draft to select a quarterback five times. Of the five QBs who were selected -- Robert Griffin III, Jared Goff, Carson Wentz, Mitchell Trubisky and Sam Darnold -- only Darnold remains with the team that drafted him.

And while Darnold still is a New York Jet, that might not be the case for much longer. After three underwhelming seasons, the Jets, who own the No. 2 pick, are widely expected to trade Darnold this offseason and select a quarterback just ahead of the 49ers.

Goff and Wentz both were traded this offseason, and Trubisky, whom the Chicago Bears traded up with the 49ers to draft in 2017, signed with the Buffalo Bills after having his fifth-year option declined. Griffin was electric during his rookie season in Washington, but injuries derailed a promising career.

RELATED: Report: 49ers have no plans to trade Jimmy G

After retaining all of their top talent in free agency, the 49ers had the freedom and flexibility to make a move up the board knowing they don't have any glaring roster needs to address.

While the 49ers likely will select a quarterback at No. 3, they reportedly don't plan to trade Jimmy Garoppolo, who is expected to be the 2021 starter at this point. The 49ers understand the value of having a good backup QB and how important a year of development on the bench can be for a young sign-caller in the NFL.

The plan is in place. Now, the 49ers just have to hope they don't become the latest team to trade up and draft a bust.

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