Sam Darnold is the best quarterback choice for the 49ers over what will be available with the No. 12 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, according to NFL Media's Daniel Jeremiah.
Moving on from Jimmy Garoppolo is a common topic outside of 49ers headquarters. Where the team sits in the draft makes all the difference to Jeremiah, who believes that Darnold would be a more advantageous option than the QB options that will be available when the 49ers are on the clock.
“Talent wise at 12 there’s a chance Trey Lance could be there, Mac Jones I think will be there,” Jeremiah said via conference call on Tuesday. “To me, faced with those options, or a trade that’s palatable for Sam Darnold, I’d be tempted to go in the Sam Darnold direction because the fit with him, with Kyle Shanahan. I think it’s a beautiful fit.
“I would rather have Sam at that option I think, than what is likely to be there at No. 12.”
Shanahan values intelligence and that is what Jeremiah believes the 23-year-old quarterback brings to the table while not breaking the bank. Darnold also would be ready to play more quickly than North Dakota State's Trey Lance or Alabama's Mac Jones, who would take some time to develop.
“That to me would make sense,” Jeremiah said about trading for Darnold. “The next three years, $18.3 million a year -- very affordable number.”
As the New York Jets' quarterback, Darnold has played under two different head coaches and has a 13-25 record over three seasons. His highest completion rate, 61.9 percent, was in 2019 and he has thrown 45 career touchdowns with 39 interceptions.
There is an argument to be made that Darnold has not had top tier weapons to throw to. Jamison Crowder led the team in receptions the past two seasons, and in Darnold’s rookie season, Robby Anderson was his top target.
If the 49ers could pull off a trade, what happens next is what intrigues Jeremiah the most.
“The interesting thing if the 49ers did that, is do you immediately trade Jimmy or do you need Sam to come in to beat Jimmy out?” Jeremiah said. “That would create an interesting storyline."
Both John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan have been adamant that they are sticking with Jimmy Garoppolo heading into the 2021 season but they also admit to constantly looking at ways to improve the roster. After all, they did admit to considering Tom Brady during the 2020 offseason.