The uncertainty about the two picks ahead of the 49ers in the 2021 NFL draft is dwindling. Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence has been a lock to go No. 1 since his freshman year in college. After that there was a little room for debate, but BYU signal caller Zach Wilson was the popular choice to go to New York. The Jets’ trade of former No. 3 pick Sam Darnold ensured the Jets would pick a quarterback, and then their general manager Joe Douglas on Tuesday lent some credence to the rumors of Wilson being the pick for New York.
In his press conference Tuesday with Jets reporters, Douglas was asked about former 49ers quarterback and BYU alum Steve Young’s report that the Jets were committed to selecting Wilson. The GM didn’t do much to dispel the notion, offering “Steve’s plugged in to BYU pretty well,” with a slight smile before trying to deflect the question.
“It was good being out there at the pro day,” Douglas said. “And just had an opportunity to speak to his representatives. Say hello to a couple members of his family, quickly. And BYU put on a great pro day for the entire NFL – first class, first class organization. It was a good day out there. Like I said, we’re excited about this class and we’re excited about this quarterback class. So, we still have a lot of our process left in these three-plus weeks leading up to the draft, and a lot of productive conversations in the future.”
Douglas didn’t explicitly say Wilson will be the pick, but he didn’t do anything to indicate either verbally or nonverbally that they’d be going another direction. The piece of his answer about a lot of process left and excitement for the whole class has the look of the required GM-speak from a person who doesn’t want it to be explicitly clear who he intends to draft.
There’s not much left to the imagination regardless. The Jets were expected to pick Wilson after he lit up his pro day, but there was enough uncertainty that it made it worth wondering if they might go a different direction. Perhaps they still will and something will change in the next three-plus weeks, but Douglas appeared to make the Jets’ intentions known whether he intended to or not. While it’s not officially official, it sure seems as though the 49ers are on the clock.
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