Fields seems to be the quarterback who most carefully checks the boxes Shanahan has placed. He is big, fast, strong and can sit in his pocket and make throws. His athleticism is an additional asset, not the quality on which much of his success depends. Fields has a great hand and uses it out of pocket and on the go when the game falls apart. The ability to create off-schedule when needed can quite easily help outweigh any advantage that another quarterback may have out of pocket.
This added layer of speed would be a defense nightmare to worry about against a game with a 49-year start that is already difficult to defend. Adding another number to the combination will allow Shanahan to take more action that creates inconsistencies for the 49’s line of attack.
An interesting wrinkle to watch will be how Lance introduces factoring into the discussion. He is the most experienced in delivering action with his back to the defense. ESPN’s Nick Waggoner tweeted a number of figures showing Lance’s readiness to play an action game, such as Shanahan’s, better than the other callers expected to be available when the 49s choose. Lance checks many of the same fields that Fields does, but his 17 starts at FCS level make his professional readiness a significant question mark. Still, it wouldn’t be a big surprise if he became the third selection in this year’s version.
While the distinction between Lance and Fields boils down to different nonsense, what really stands out is where Jones is missing in the areas Shanahan has outlined. He is neither the biggest, nor the fastest, nor the strongest, and his pocket game is not so much better than the other two that it makes sense to overtake him.
Jones seems to fit in with the cousins Shanahan mentioned when he said he was a quarterback with whom a team could win. Jimmy Garopolo is that too. Apparently the 49 are looking for more than that, and if they weren’t, they could have sat at number 12 to see if Jones had fallen, or found a prospect they liked in the second round to try to get involved. .
So while Shanahan may not have given us enough to let us know who he will be, he certainly seems to have exhibited some qualities that tell us who he will not be.