When the 2021 NFL Draft began, the 49ers had to wait just minutes until making the No. 3 overall pick. They had a chance to take the former Ohio State star, Justin Fields. Instead, Kyle Shanahan went with Trey Lance out of North Dakota State. It’s still unclear whether or not it was the right decision.
Lance has made one start this season for the 49ers with Jimmy Garoppolo sidelined because of an injury. The rookie completed 15 of his 29 pass attempts for 192 yards with one pick and added 89 yards on 16 carries in a 17-10 loss to the Arizona Cardinals in Week 5. Unfortunately, the rookie suffered a knee sprain during the game and has been sidelined ever since.
Fields, meanwhile, has become the new face of the Chicago Bears since replacing the veteran Andy Dalton when he became injured in Week 2. It’s been tough sledding for the former Ohio State star. He’s completed just 57.3 percent of his throws for 816 yards and two touchdowns with six interceptions this season.
Shanahan and the 49ers have been preparing all week for the quarterback they considered taking with the No. 3 overall pick. The San Francisco head coach discussed Fields’ rookie season during his press conference on Thursday afternoon.
“He’s getting thrown in there and playing and he’s having some up and down moments, which is expected,” Shanahan said of Fields, via Clutch Points. “But you have to always be ready for him. If he breaks away, he’s got the size and he’s got the speed to outrun almost anybody, he throws a great deep ball, has got a big arm, can make every throw and he’s getting better each week.”
Unfortunately, Fields and Lance won’t go head-to-head on Sunday. It’ll be Garoppolo who gets the start as Lance continues recovering from his knee injury. But it would have been fun to see the two rookies duel it out in Chicago.
Fields, meanwhile, will no doubt be out to prove why the 49ers should have taken him with the No. 3 overall pick.
The 49ers take on the Bears in Chicago this Sunday at 1 p.m. ET.
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