Everyone seems to want the next Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen or Lamar Jackson.
Coach Kyle Shanahan on Monday suggested he is just fine with landing a quarterback out of the mold of Drew Brees or Philip Rivers.
The 49ers own the No. 3 overall pick and are set on choosing the top quarterback on their board after the Jacksonville Jaguars and New York Jets make their selections.
Trevor Lawrence of Clemson and Zach Wilson of BYU are expected to be the first two players selected on Thursday during the 2021 NFL Draft.
“There's lots of different ways you can do it,” Shanahan said Monday during a pre-draft video call with reporters. “I don't look at it as in trends of the league. I look at it as there's some special players or special people.”
The 49ers’ choice will come down to the dual-threat quarterback skills of Ohio State’s Justin Fields and Trey Lance of North Dakota State, or the traditional pocket play of Alabama’s Mac Jones.
“I don't care when Drew Brees comes out, whether it's 30 years from now, 30 years ago, or today. Drew's going to be pretty good,” Shanahan said. “So was Philip Rivers. So is Lamar Jackson, Patrick Mahomes. They would have been good 40 years ago also. Really good. They’re going to be good for years in the future.
“You’ve got to take guys you believe are good enough to do it, whatever way that is.”
It was easy to interpret how Shanahan reframed the question about mobile quarterbacks as a signal that Jones could be the answer for the 49ers.
On March 26, the 49ers traded swapped first-round picks with the Miami Dolphins to move up to No. 3 overall in a trade in which they also parted with first-round picks in 2022 and ’23, as well as a third-round pick next year.
Ultimately, the 49ers will select the best individual for their system — the one Shanahan determines has the best chance of being a top quarterback for a long time. But he made it clear he is not looking for a clone of a particular style of quarterback.
“To make this so black and white is not right. It's, who's the best quarterback and why?” Shanahan said “And there's lots of different ways and whatever those whys are. How does that pertain to your offense, what you have, the building you have, and do you think that gives you the best chance to win?
“That's what was so exciting about this year. I do see five guys. No one's ever a slam dunk.”
When the 49ers made the trade last month, they had three quarterbacks in mind. With additional research and examination, Shanahan said he believes each of the five — Lawrence, Wilson, Fields, Jones and Lance — have the capabilities to play high-level football for long periods of time.
“Quarterbacks can come whatever way you want them to, just like receivers, but there aren't 32 people in this world who can play quarterback at an acceptable level for a fan base, for a coaching staff, for a GM,” Shanahan said. “There's not. So when you find a guy who can play at that level, however it is, then you compare them to the next guy and see which one you get one more, and you roll with it.”