2021 NFL Draft Grade: San Francisco 49ers

Jan 11, 2020; Frisco, Texas, USA; North Dakota State Bison quarterback Trey Lance (5) scores a touchdown in the fourth quarter against the James Madison Dukes at Toyota Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports


Round 1 Pick 3: QB Trey Lance

Round 2 Pick 48: G Aaron Banks

Round 3 Pick 88: RB Trey Sermon

Round 3 Pick 102: CB Ambry Thomas

Round 5 Pick 155: G Jaylon Moore

Round 5 Pick 172: S Talanoa Huganga

Round 6 Pick 194: RB Elijah Mitchell


The one position that San Francisco truly needed going into this draft was quarterback. It was clear they would go that direction after trading up to No. 3, but their options were open to a number of players. While many assumed going into the draft that it would be Mac Jones, the Niners opted with Trey Lance. This feels like the better choice right now, although Justin Fields may ultimately be the most talented player. Lance brings a strong arm, pinpoint accuracy, and he is always a threat to run. Under Kyle Shanahan, Lance’s talent should be maximized.

It would have been safe to assume that at least one pick would go towards the defensive front, especially after trading DeForest Buckner last offseason and losing Nick Bosa to a torn ACL in Week 2. San Fran did no such thing, though. In the second round they went with a decent guard in Aaron Banks, but with many other interior o-linemen on the board, including Wyatt Davis, this feels like a reach. 

A round three running back seems strange with Jeff Wilson, Raheem Mostert, and Jamychal Hasty still on the roster, too. Trey Sermon is, again, a decent player, but he doesn’t fit any real needs for San Fran. The fact that they traded up for him makes it a bigger head scratcher with edge rushers like Patrick Jones II and Ronnie Perkins still on the board.

Ambry Thomas at the end of the third round is one of the better picks for San Fran. His opt out season took his stock down, and he doesn’t have incredible speed or size. However, he has all the skills and intangibles that you want from a corner. He makes plays on the ball and could also find a spot on special teams. The Day Three picks are all guys that should have been taken there, too. That said, Jaylon Moore has some great potential as a run blocker in the NFL. 

Grade: B-

Taking Trey Lance instead of Mac Jones saved the grade here because I’m not a massive fan of any of their second or third rounders. None of them are real needs, and there’s an argument to be made that they weren’t even the best players available at their own positions. Trey Lance has an opportunity to lead a very talented roster, though, which in and of itself should be very exciting for 49ers fans.