Why Riddick prefers Fields over Jones as QB in 49ers offense


The collective eyes of the 49ers Faithful have been trained on the 2021 NFL Draft quarterback class for months, as each signal-caller has been dissected and analyzed as a potential replacement for Jimmy Garoppolo.

But which of the handful of first-round talents at the position could best command Kyle Shanahan's offense in the Bay Area? Much has been made of Mac Jones in recent weeks, including the comparisons to a certain seven-time Super Bowl champion, but ESPN NFL analyst Louis Riddick believes the better mold for Shanahan's scheme is the QB Jones defeated in the 2021 College Football Playoff National Championship.

"Look I love Justin Fields, I just think Justin Fields would be perfect in the same type of scenario as Trey Lance, so to San Francisco, I think that would make more sense," Riddick said Friday on "Get Up."

Before the first round of the draft commences on April 29, analysts will link just about every QB available in the class to the 49ers at one point or another. That is the nature of draft season, speculation is the name of the game.

Jones' stock, especially among 49ers fans and pundits, has risen in recent weeks. His footwork and consistency has been lauded, and particularly for the 49ers sitting with the No. 12 overall pick, Jones is expected to be available later in the first round than Fields or Lance.


Todd McShay's latest mock draft, which had the 49ers moving up to No. 9 to select Jones, has the Carolina Panthers trading up to No. 3 and selecting Fields.

The projected talent and depth of the 2021 QB class seems to have experts convinced that a number of teams might be leveraging their futures to anoint one of these prospects their next franchise QB. There is a hype around this group as a whole like we haven't seen since the 2018 class, when Josh Allen, Lamar Jackson, and Baker Mayfield all found themselves as three of five first-round quarterbacks taken.

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The 49ers happen to have the fourth QB taken from that year on the roster currently in Josh Rosen, who ended up being by far the most underwhelming as San Francisco is the fourth franchise to give the UCLA product a chance since he came into the league just three years ago.

The point here is, outside of all but assured No. 1 overall pick Trevor Lawrence, expect to hear from different analysts that Lance, Fields, Jones, BYU's Zach Wilson or even Texas A&M's Kellen Mond are the best fits for the 49ers and Shanahan's system.

No one really knows who is going to be the best out of this group of signal-callers, and NFL success is incredibly team-dependent in this day and age.

It might be Jones one day, Fields the next and Wilson the day after that.

Given the success the 49ers have had with Garoppolo in the one fully healthy season he has given the franchise, fans should be confident that whoever lines up under center in Week 1 next fall will be in good hands with Shanahan and new offensive coordinator Mike McDaniel.

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