The 49ers all but surely are going to try to find their next franchise quarterback with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, which San Francisco acquired last week.
John Lynch, Kyle Shanahan and Co. reportedly considered a different trade before moving up in the first round, however.
“The Niners have close ties to the Jets staff. Lynch and Jets GM Joe Douglas are friendly and, of course, Shanahan is new Jets coach Robert Saleh’s old boss” Breer wrote in his latest Monday Morning Quarterback column. “The Niners did have some internal discussion on Sam Darnold. And in the process of vetting they figured that the Jets weren’t moving the second pick.”
Darnold and the 49ers potentially could have made for a great match. The 23-year-old is a California native who played his college ball at USC, and Darnold possesses a skill set that could allow him to thrive in Shanahan’s offense.
But the fact that San Francisco didn’t really pursue Darnold suggests the franchise is higher on one — or multiple — of the QB prospects in this year’s draft class than it is on the Jets signal-caller.
It remains to be seen who inspired the Niners to bolt up the board, but one report indicates San Francisco has its eyes set on Mac Jones.