Why 49ers were in attendance at Lawrence's NFL draft pro day


It's no secret where Trevor Lawrence will be playing football come fall. The Clemson star is seen as the best quarterback prospect since Andrew Luck came out of Stanford, and likely already is looking at real estate in Jacksonville with the Jaguars owning the No. 1 pick.

And yet, a number of teams showed up to Lawrence's pro day Friday at Clemson, including the 49ers. No, the 49ers aren't looking at making the Jags an insane offer for the No. 1 pick. Their reason for having two scouts on hand to watch the show Lawrence put on is much simpler.

"It wasn’t just Trevor Lawrence," 49ers vice president of player personnel Adam Peters told The Athletic's Matt Barrows. "There were a couple of (Clemson players) there. And Ethan Waugh, our college director, he lives in South Carolina. So it’s an easy trip for him. And then Steve Rubio, who’s our Southeast scout, there are a couple of other Clemson players there along with some pro free agents. So it was good for him to see them. And this is Steve’s first year in the Southeast. This is actually his first time on Clemson’s campus since he got the Southeast area job. So it’s a good time for him to go in there and make some contacts and see some coaches that he wasn’t able to see in person until now.


"And then Trevor Lawrence — obviously, he’s going to be the first pick. But you close the book on it. You finish up your report and you’re done with it. And you get to see a couple of other players at that time, too."

Lawrence, who is set to have surgery on his non-throwing shoulder, was as advertised during his pro day. With his soon-to-be head coach Urban Meyer looking on, Lawrence showed all the traits that have NFL teams salivate over him since he torched Alabama as a freshman in the 2019 College Football Playoff National Championship Game.

Lawrence didn't need to throw, but he wanted to show Meyer and his future offensive coordinator and pass-game coordinator what they are getting when they turn in the card with his name on it.

"I (told) him there are three choices. No. 1, you can wait until the March 11 pro day, but now your (recovery) is getting near August, because it's a five to six-month injury. The second (choice), you can not throw. He's probably a good enough player, he could've said 'I'm not doing it,' him and his agent," Meyer told NFL Network's Jane Slater. "Or the third (choice), I said 'Why don't you just go grab a ball and throw for a little bit? … And he said 'Let's go.' That was it. Next thing I know, we're here at a pro day that they put together (quickly). That's a guy that loves football and is confident in his ability."

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As for the 49ers, they still are on the outskirts of the quarterback carousel. It's likely that Jimmy Garoppolo will return as the starting quarterback in 2021. Matthew Stafford already has been traded to the Los Angeles Rams, and while Deshaun Watson has requested a trade, the Houston Texans aren't currently in the mood to give in to the star quarterback's demand.

Lawrence, BYU's Zach Wilson and Ohio State's Justin Fields all likely will be off the board before the 49ers go on the clock at No. 12 in the 2021 NFL Draft. North Dakota State's Trey Lance could potentially fall to them, and Alabama's Mac Jones, who just put together the highest-graded season by a Power Five quarterback in Pro Football Focus history, could also be an option.

We know Lawrence will not. But the 49ers got a good look at the future of the NFL and the thing that they are still missing as they look to keep their Super Bowl window open.

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