The San Francisco 49ers will draft a quarterback with the third selection in the NFL Draft on Thursday, April 29, after moving up from pick No. 12 in a trade with the Miami Dolphins.
However, according to a recent draft rumor, the 12th pick nearly turned into an embattled signal caller from the AFC East instead.
Cecil Lammey, of The Fan 104.3 FM and Football Guys, tweeted on Wednesday, April 14, that league sources told him the 49ers were poised to swap the 12th pick for New York Jets Quarterback Sam Darnold.
Ah, what might have been. League sources tell me #Jets turned down #49ers first-round pick for Sam Darnold earlier this offseason. Joe Douglas & co. had concerns about Zach Wilson’s shoulder & wanted to see his pro day. Now, super confident & will likely be no2 pick #NFLDraft
— Cecil Lammey (@CecilLammey) April 14, 2021
That trade never came to fruition, and the Jets and 49ers will now pick second and third in the upcoming draft, respectively.
Each team is projected to select a quarterback to carry them into the future, with the Jets linked to Zach Wilson of BYU and the 49ers linked to multiple quarterbacks including Alabama’s Mac Jones, Ohio State’s Justin Fields and North Dakota State’s Trey Lance.
Darnold to 49ers Fell Through Over Wilson Injury Concerns
Lammey, an NFL insider, said Jets general manager Joe Douglas was hesitant to pull the trigger on the trade because he was nervous about a shoulder injury Wilson had suffered and wanted to witness the BYU quarterback’s pro day before making any decisions.
Presumably, the Jets would have stockpiled first round picks by unloading Darnold to the 49ers, who New York was already set to move on from, but the potential severity of Wilson’s injury necessitated holding on to Darnold as a security blanket.
The 49ers instead went ahead with a trade that sent the 12th pick in this year’s draft, along with San Francisco’s first round choices in 2022 and 2023, to the Miami Dolphins in exchange for the right to pick third in a quarterback-heavy class.
Aside from mortgaging a significant portion of their future to move into a position to draft Jones, Fields or Lance, the 49ers also threw in a compensatory 2021 third round pick to get the deal done.
The Jets subsequently shipped Darnold off to the Carolina Panthers in return for a sixth round choice in the upcoming draft, as well as a second round pick and a fourth round pick in 2022.
49ers Have Several Draft Options at Quarterback
The hype around Buckeye standout Justin Fields to the 49ers continues to grow.
The likes of former San Francisco Cornerback Richard Sherman and former NFL All-Pro Joe Thomas, who played the offensive line for the Cleveland Browns, are just a few of the names pumping up the idea that Fields is the quarterback of the future in the City by the Bay.
And, according to a report Thursday, April 15, by Kyle Madson of Yahoo Sports, Fields is the new betting favorite to be drafted by the 49ers two weeks from now.
Based on odds released by BetMGM, Fields is now -140 to be picked in the third slot. Jones, on the other hand, has dropped to +110, while Trey Lance is a long-shot selection at +450 based on what odds makers are hearing.