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There’s no rest for the weary. Until the 49ers actually, officially make their selection on April 29, we’ll be hearing takes on who is and isn’t the guy for Kyle Shanahan with the No. 3 overall pick.
On Wednesday, Richard Sherman, who co-hosts a podcast with Chris Collinsworth via Pro Football Focus, said he believes that Justin Fields should be the pick for the 49ers. He also mentioned, as perhaps the biggest free agent remaining on the market, that he won’t be signing until after the NFL draft concludes.
Sherman’s logic is that Fields has by just about every measure, been at least at Trevor Lawrence’s level against elite competition, and plays his best football in the toughest games, which is supported by statistics and, well, our eyes.
He said Fields has been unfairly criticized (cough cough, people like Dan Orlovsky) because he is a Black quarterback, and there are unfair stereotypes that come with being a Black quarterback. There are always critics who report or claim that Black quarterbacks in the draft are lazy, or not hard-working, or should play another position, or like to run too much; all common, racist dog whistle tropes that get peddled year-in and year-out.
What Sherman highlights is that Fields has faced tough competition (in fact, the toughest, substantially, over the last two years of any of the top five projected QBs) and has elite numbers. In his career, including his time at Georgia, Fields has a 68.4 completion percentage for 5,701 yards with 67 TDs and 9 INTs. That’s before mentioning the 1,133 rushing yards and 19 rushing touchdowns.
Sherman explained why he sees similarities between Fields and Garoppolo and why he thinks the latter will stay on and the former should be the pick.
“He’s one of the most efficient, if not the most efficient quarterback in the draft, and he was completing, I think, 70 percent of his passes and he has similarities to what Jimmy does because Jimmy G is a very efficient quarterback,” Sherman said. “[Jimmy’s] gonna get the ball, he’s gonna have a high completion percentage, he’s going to get the ball in his spots, he’s gonna move the ball down the field, he’s really smart. He has great command of Kyle’s offense.
“It’s really awesome to see and I think he’s gonna still be the starting quarterback day one for San Francisco, because they have a chance at a Super Bowl this year. They have a Super Bowl-capable roster. Obviously, he’s already taken him to one, but I think Justin Fields is the one, even if you take him as a standalone pocket passer and his efficiency, his completion percentage, what he’s able to do week in and week out. He’s a winner. He’s been at a program that competes at a high level year in and year out, always in the championships, always in the big games. And he’s played well. He’s managed those situations really well.”
Listen to the full podcast here, with Sherman bringing on Bills corner Tre’Davious White as a guest.