Updated April 2, 2021
By Charlie Campbell. Follow Charlie on Twitter @draftcampbell.
Last week, the 2021 NFL Draft and the entire league were shaken up by two monumental trades involving the Miami Dolphins. First, the San Francisco 49ers moved up to the third-overall pick and the Dolphins moved back to No. 12. Then, the Dolphins moved back up with the Eagles, exchanging No. 12 for No. 6. The 49ers been transparent that they are targeting a quarterback with their tradeup, but there have been a lot of rumors and uncertainty about which quarterback. Some in the media have said the 49ers moved up to be in position to select North Dakota State's Trey Lance, but others say its for Alabama's Mac Jones, and additional rumors say it is for Ohio State's Justin Fields. The majority of the NFL sources WalterFootball.com surveyed about the intention of the 49ers went with targeting Fields, although a few staffers said Lance or Jones.
Some league sources feel San Francisco would not have needed to trade up at all to land Jones, and they believe the 49ers wouldn't have needed to move up so far to land Lance.
"You would think it's Fields. They definitely didn't need to be at three for Trey Lance," said a NFC general manager. "They didn't need to go to three for Jones either. It doesn't make sense to trade that high for Jones. They could have traded the other [direction]."
Some sources thought the 49ers had to get to No. 3 to get ahead of Atlanta at No. 4 and Carolina at No. 8 in order to ensure they land Fields, or BYU's Zach Wilson if the Jets pass on him. Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan is aging and expensive, plus Fields is from Atlanta. The Panthers have been clear they want to find a replacement for Teddy Bridgewater this offseason.
Some league staffers did think that San Francisco wants Lance or Jones, as some media reports have suggested, but there were more votes for Fields as the franchise's target. Of course, everyone is making educated guesses and could be wrong. Five years ago, there were some league people who thought the Rams were trading for Carson Wentz right after they made the trade with the Titans, but before long, it became apparent that Jared Goff was the Rams' target. Thus, anything is possible and the 49ers are being coy while talking with friends at other teams on the pro-day tour. The initial reaction, however, was that San Francisco wants Justin Fields.