The 49ers have a big decision to make when they go on the clock at No. 3 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Will they side with the high ceiling of Justin Fields? The timing and anticipation of Mac Jones? The unknown of Trey Lance? Or, does Zach Wilson fall into their lap (unlikely)?
Fields is the favorite among 49ers fans, but all that matters is who coach Kyle Shanahan believes would be the perfect trigger man for his lethal offense. If you ask former NFL QB John Beck, who now coaches Fields, Lance and Wilson, and played for Shanahan during his pro career, the answer is easy to decipher.
"Here's the thing, there are quarterbacks that have skill sets that fit in a lot of offenses," Beck told NBC Sports' Peter King on the latest podcast episode. "What that quarterback needs is time to develop within that offense. ... Maybe you have some teams sitting like a New England or a Denver who says, 'Can we bump up a few spots and get [Fields]? Absolutely.' So I still think he can be a great fit in those offenses? I do.
"When I see a Kyle Shanahan offense and the coaches who coached in that system at other organizations, I see so many things that Justin does and I say wow that fits those offenses really well. And those coaches when they watch him on tape, watch him throw, they can see things that would be great utilized in their offense."
Fields held his second pro day on Wednesday with Shanahan, general manager John Lynch and QB coach Rich Scangarello in attendance.
While Jones has been getting a lot of pre-draft buzz as the 49ers' preferred selection, a look at the tape and numbers shows why Fields would be so effective in the 49ers' offense and be able to elevate Shanahan's lethal attack to an entirely new level.
Fields has top-level arm talent, is extremely accurate, good on play-action and outside the pocket, and has the elite athleticism to extend plays and make second reaction throws. His arm strength allows him to dissect the intermediate area of the field with precision, something that is necessary for Shanahan's offense. He also throws a great deep ball, which could allow the 49ers to add a more vertical approach to their passing attack.
Oh, and we shouldn't forget about his drive to be great.
"He’s shown all the traits that you need to have to be an NFL starting quarterback," Beck told King. "He’s shown the work ethic. He’s shown the desire to stay late. There have been so many times where we finished the throwing session. He walks over, grabs a drink, grabs his football, and walks right over and says, ‘Hey, I just want to hit a few more things. I just want to work on this. I just want to work on that.’
"A lot of times with him, he asks to come in on an off day and work on extra things. ‘Hey, I just got information from this team, and I want to go over it. Can you help me go over it the best I possibly can?’ To me, that demonstrates somebody that has a great desire to want to be the very best that he can, and he absolutely loves the game.
"I think whatever team that picks Justin, they’re going to love the way he approaches the things that he does, and they’re going to love the way he approaches improving his craft."
Fields has all the tools a coach and offensive maestro like Shanahan should want in his signal-caller. Shanahan has said there are very few quarterbacks in the world who are truly elite throwers, and he's been hoping to get his hands on one while trying to win with quarterbacks who have limitations.
The 49ers made the massive move up the draft board to be able to select the quarterback Shanahan wants to work with. Maybe it's Jones or Lance. But Fields has everything the 49ers coach has been looking for.