It all comes down to this. Mac Jones, Justin Fields or Trey Lance? Which quarterback will the 49ers select with the No. 3 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft on Thursday night?
All three QBs took different roads to the draft, with different skill sets. But only one has a unique connection to the 49ers.
“I tell people: They flew Deion in, and I flew out," Lance's father, Carlton, recently said in a phone conversation with the Mercury News' Cam Inman.
Lance's father was a cornerback who spent two weeks in 49ers training camp ahead of the 1994 season, the last time the Niners won the Super Bowl. He was signed on July 22, 1994, and was waived two weeks later on Aug. 4, 1994. Now, his son could become a 49er just days from now.
Carlton played two seasons professionally, one in Canada and one in Europe, but never played in the NFL. He recorded four interceptions in two pro seasons, returning one for a touchdown.
The younger Lance might be the biggest question mark in the draft this year. His school, North Dakota State, played one game in the 2020 season. It was far from his best game, too, as Lance was intercepted for the first time in his college career.
But his redshirt freshman year couldn't have gone much better. Lance led NDSU to a national championship while throwing 28 touchdowns and running for 14 TDs as well. He might be the perfect QB to learn from Jimmy Garoppolo for a year before unleashing his skill set in Kyle Shanahan's offense.
“We did not want him to start his (2018) freshman year, especially at quarterback,” Lance told Inman. “He could get through it but it wouldn’t be at his potential. It was great to sit behind Easton (Stick) and learn what he needed to learn.
"Once on the field, he was ready.”
Will the 49ers take the same route with Garoppolo and Lance? Soon, we finally will find out.