Zach Wilson or Justin Fields? Steve Young examines 49ers’ NFL draft decision

Why Young believes 49ers comfortable with Fields or Wilson originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

The 49ers made a blockbuster trade Friday for the No. 3 overall draft pick, likely to select one of top quarterback prospects available in this year’s class.

Trevor Lawrence is all but guaranteed to be the No. 1 overall pick by the Jacksonville Jaguars, but at least one of either BYU’s Zach Wilson or Ohio State’s Justin Fields will be available for the 49ers at No. 3, after the New York Jets select No. 2.

So, which of the young signal-callers would the 49ers prefer to select? Legendary 49ers QB Steve Young joined ESPN’s SportsCenter on Friday shortly after the breaking news, and explained why he could see his former team going either way if both players end up being available when San Francisco goes on the clock on April 29.

“Well, clearly Hannah, they’re comfortable with either one,” Young told Hannah Storm. “The pressure is now on the Jets and what’s Sam Darnold. I think they’re OK with however it goes. Clearly to make this kind of commitment to the No. 3 spot, they’re good with either one.

“Now if you kind of want to parse it, we can do that all day long and it’s a lot of fun because Zach Wilson, look, Justin’s played against the top college performers. He’s been in big games. He grew up in Ohio State, which there’s a certain kind sense of competition that you see. BYU plays San Diego State, Boise State, Houston in the COVID kind of crazy year, and you have to (interpret) a lot of it.”

It was a bizarre season to try to evaluate college football talent, with NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision teams all playing differing numbers of games and dealing with myriad cancellations and postponements throughout the season amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Both Wilson and Fields have been extensively linked to the Jets, although the BYU product seems to be the consensus projection in recent mock drafts.

RELATED: 49ers acquire No. 3 pick from Dolphins in huge trade

Young, like Wilson, played his college football at BYU, and did elaborate on what has made him stand out at a school with a number of star QB products over the years.

“There’s a lot of ways that you can try to cut this, but the facts are with Zach Wilson, is that he, every time they ask more of him, he gave you even more,” Young said. “It was like an Indy car driver. Can you go 210? No, I can go 230. Well, can you go 240? No, I can go 270. Miles per hour I mean. And so in many ways that’s what the excitement is about Zach.”

Wilson’s pro day just so happens to be Friday, so he’ll likely be asked a number of questions about a potential fit with the 49ers and playing under coach Kyle Shanahan.

Although they reportedly don’t have plans to trade incumbent quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, the 49ers clearly are going all-in on finding the next face of the franchise in this year’s draft. Whether it’s Wilson, Fields or even North Dakota State phenom Trey Lance, it seems likely there could be a new face under center for the 49ers at some point in 2021.

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