2021 NFL mock draft 2021 NFL mock draft: Experts' 49ers first-round pick predictions: 49ers' first-round pick predictions

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NBC Sports Bay Area Staff
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2021 NFL mock draft: Experts believe Jones will be 49ers' QB originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

The 49ers are the biggest story in the NFL with the 2021 draft less than three weeks away.

After pulling off a blockbuster trade to move up to No. 3 overall, the 49ers now have to decide which of the top quarterback prospects they want leading their franchise into the future.

With Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson expected to be the first two players selected, Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch will have three options on the table: Justin Fields, Mac Jones and Trey Lance.

While Jones is the favorite at the moment, Shanahan and Lynch are playing things close to the vest and will watch Fields and Lance throw again before the draft.

RELATED: 49ers' seven-round mock draft includes steal, surprise

Here's who the draft experts have the 49ers selecting at No. 3 overall with 17 days to go.

Josh Schrock and Dalton Johnson (NBC Sports Bay Area): Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State

Why: "The Mac Jones-to-49ers hype is deafening, and I'm not buying. Fields has top-level arm talent, elite athleticism, is incredibly accurate and has the highest ceiling of any quarterback in this class.

He's great on play-action and would give the 49ers an added weapon in the QB run game. Fields is the type of player you trade two future first-round picks for."

Todd McShay (ESPN): Mac Jones, QB, Alabama

Why: "The Niners sacrificed first-rounders over the next two years and then some to skip the line. Which player did they do it for? Coach Kyle Shanahan surely has his guy in mind already, and it's going to be a QB -- teams don't make these types of massive early deals for non-QBs. I'm hearing a lot of noise about Jones being the 49ers' preference. He is accurate and reads the field so well, which helps assuage mobility concerns. Plus, he excels when passing in the pocket or off play-action, two staples of Shanahan's system. San Francisco paid a hefty price, but quarterback was in need of an upgrade. Now it just has to hope it selects the right one."

Daniel Jeremian (NFL Media): Mac Jones, QB, Alabama

Why: "I'm not surprised San Francisco traded up to No. 3. I am surprised that everything you hear points toward Jones being the Niners' pick at No. 3."

Ryan Wilson (CBS Sports): Mac Jones, QB, Alabama

Why: "The top three players off the mock-draft board likely won't change down the stretch, and while fans and media seem perplexed by Mac Jones going here, if this is who Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch traded up for then Jones is headed for San Francisco."

Sam Monson (PFF): Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State

Why: "He was one of the most accurate passers we have ever seen in college, put together three straight seasons of elite PFF grades and provided a rushing threat at the position that Kyle Shanahan hasn’t had since Robert Griffin III‘s rookie year in Washington."

Danny Kelly (The Ringer): Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State

Why: "For one, his skill set perfectly fits head coach Kyle Shanahan’s scheme: Lance’s transition from North Dakota State’s run-centric, play-action-based approach to Shanahan’s system with the Niners would be smooth. And two, if the reports that San Francisco is planning to roll with Jimmy Garoppolo as its starter for at least one more season are to believed—a big if—they would make a lot more sense if the franchise was grooming the inexperienced Lance, who played just one full college football season against lower-level FCS competition. In that case, Lance would be afforded the necessary time to get reps before being asked to helm the offense."

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