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49ers jump up to #3 pick in draft


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Why Trey Lance is Better for the 49ers than Justin Fields or Mac Jones

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I would not advise the 49ers to draft a quarterback with the No. 3 pick in the upcoming draft. But if they do take a quarterback, they'll most likely choose between three imperfect ones: Mac Jones, Justin Fields and Trey Lance.

Jones is the pocket quarterback with exceptional accuracy, anticipation and decision-making, but he's an non-athlete. Not big, not fast, not strong-armed. He looks like C.J. Beathard. But he can execute the 49ers offense if everything goes according to plan.

Fields is the dual-threat quarterback with exceptional athleticism and accuracy -- a rare combination -- but he's not a good decision maker. He hesitates in the pocket, holds the ball the too long and turns the ball over when he's under pressure. But he can execute the 49ers offense if everything goes according to plan.

Lance is the dual-threat quarterback with exceptional athleticism and decision-making -- he called the protections and route combinations at the line of scrimmage when he was 19, and never committed a turnover in college. But he's inaccurate. So can he execute the 49ers offense even if everything goes according to plan, or will he miss wide-open receivers?

It seems quarterbacks can improve their accuracy with hard work and attention to detail -- see Josh Allen. Which means Lance might improve, while the other two quarterbacks might not. Because you can't turn an adult into a good athlete or a good decision-maker if they're not those things already.

And while Lance played only one season of college football, he played in a pro-style offense. So his one year of experience might be more valuable than Fields' two years of experience at Ohio State, which does not run a pro-style offense, and never has produced a good NFL quarterback.

Lance might actually be more pro-ready than Fields. Lance has shown the ability to think for himself on the field at a high level, unlike most college quarterbacks. And if he improves his accuracy, he'll be able to execute the 49ers offense when everything goes according to plan, AND make smart, athletic plays when things break down.

Don't be surprised if the 49ers shock everyone and take Lance.

 

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1 minute ago, Faust said:

I'm not sure I agree with moving up to 3 for what they gave up just to land a project, even if Atlanta might draft him.  For me it has a feeling of desperation.  If they do select Lance and throw him to the wolves, they could ruin him.  If there ever was a QB that needs to sit a year it is Lance.  Maybe the 49'ers know this and plan on tanking 2021 anyway.

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21 hours ago, JohnnyU said:

I'm not sure I agree with moving up to 3 for what they gave up just to land a project, even if Atlanta might draft him.  For me it has a feeling of desperation.  If they do select Lance and throw him to the wolves, they could ruin him.  If there ever was a QB that needs to sit a year it is Lance.  Maybe the 49'ers know this and plan on tanking 2021 anyway.

I agree -- that was a significant price to pay.  It leads me to believe that they see exactly what they want at QB.

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22 hours ago, JohnnyU said:

I'm not sure I agree with moving up to 3 for what they gave up just to land a project, even if Atlanta might draft him.  For me it has a feeling of desperation.  If they do select Lance and throw him to the wolves, they could ruin him.  If there ever was a QB that needs to sit a year it is Lance.  Maybe the 49'ers know this and plan on tanking 2021 anyway.

They still have Jimmy G under contract and have said a few times that he will start this year - so maybe the plan is to let Lance sit for a year and learn behind Jimmy G.

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11 minutes ago, Dr. Octopus said:

They still have Jimmy G under contract and have said a few times that he will start this year - so maybe the plan is to let Lance sit for a year and learn behind Jimmy G.

Yeah, that's always the plan until it isn't because of pressure.

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22 hours ago, JohnnyU said:

I'm not sure I agree with moving up to 3 for what they gave up just to land a project, even if Atlanta might draft him.  For me it has a feeling of desperation.  If they do select Lance and throw him to the wolves, they could ruin him.  If there ever was a QB that needs to sit a year it is Lance.  Maybe the 49'ers know this and plan on tanking 2021 anyway.

Jimmy Grapes took them to the Super Bowl two years ago, no tanking necessary.

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22 hours ago, JohnnyU said:

I'm not sure I agree with moving up to 3 for what they gave up just to land a project, even if Atlanta might draft him.  For me it has a feeling of desperation.  If they do select Lance and throw him to the wolves, they could ruin him.  If there ever was a QB that needs to sit a year it is Lance.  Maybe the 49'ers know this and plan on tanking 2021 anyway.

I don't think they'd start him right away but even so this isn't a typical "ruin the rookie QB" type of situation in San Francisco. There's a good O-line in front of him with a HoF calibur LT protecting his blindside and loads of talent at the skill positions. 

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NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah and ESPN's Mel Kiper both believe the 49ers will select Alabama QB Mac Jones with the third overall pick.

Neither talking head had Jones locked in at No. 3 but Kiper did give Jones a 70-percent chance of being the pick. Sentiment on who San Francisco is going to take has been all over the place since they traded up, presumably to take a quarterback. Interestingly, both Kiper and Jeremiah named North Dakota State QB Trey Lance as the runner-up at No. 3, leaving Ohio State QB Justin Fields out of the conversation. Both Kiper and Jeremiah are simply doing some informed speculating but their opinions hold some weight. Jones was originally reported to be the likely choice for HC Kyle Shanahan and the 49ers but San Francisco staff have been present at Ohio State and North Dakota state Pro Days.

SOURCE: NFL Network on Twitter

Apr 21, 2021, 4:22 PM ET

 

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49ers notebook: NFL draft expert makes the case against Mac Jones; two veterans added

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A prevailing belief from many NFL circles hasn’t gone anywhere with just over a week ahead of the draft: many expect the 49ers to take Alabama quarterback Mac Jones with the third overall pick April 29.

It’s not a popular sentiment from fans or a number of draft experts who have ranked prospects in their “big boards.” That’s true for NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah, who ranks Jones as the No. 32 prospect in the class but still projects him to San Francisco in his mock drafts.

It represents an awfully wide chasm. Why would the 49ers, who traded away three picks to move up nine spots in the draft, take a quarterback that isn’t considered the quality of prospect as others who could be available, like Ohio State’s Justin Fields and North Dakota State’s Trey Lance?

“I don’t think Mac Jones fits all 32 teams,” Jeremiah said on a conference call Wednesday. “I don’t think he fits all the teams that are in the quarterback market. But I understand why the 49ers value what he does, because this is really an opportunity for San Francisco to duplicate what Mac Jones had at Alabama, which is you have a really good offensive line, you’ve got guys that can win one-on-one matchups all over the field, and you’ve got a very creative play-caller that’s going to find those matchups and then rely on an accurate, efficient quarterback to function in that system.”

The decision made by head coach Kyle Shanahan will be a referendum on his tenure with the 49ers. He’s never going to make a more important call as a coach and the player he settles on will have to compete for Super Bowls or otherwise be considered a failure.

Jones, of course, is considered a similar player to Kirk Cousins, a former fourth-round pick by Washington. Shanahan helped select Cousins as the offensive coordinator in 2012 three rounds after the team traded up to take Robert Griffin III second overall. Shanahan has admitted to planning to sign Cousins in the 2018 offseason before he was presented with the Jimmy Garoppolo trade by the Patriots midway through 2017.

Four years later, Garoppolo can’t be counted on to stay healthy, leading to Shanahan making the trade with the Miami Dolphins, presumably for his next face of the franchise. And the draft discussion has revolved heavily around Jones, while the 49ers have also done work to evaluate Fields and Lance, who had their pro days over the last week which the 49ers were heavily involved in setting up.

Even while Jeremiah understands why Jones would fit with the 49ers, he would go another direction with the pick, which has been a far more popular line of thinking from fans.

“It looks like it points towards Mac Jones,” Jeremiah said. “But if I was there even with knowing how much they value the things that Mac is good at, I would still take Trey Lance because I think Trey is going to eventually get to the point where he can deliver all the things that Mac can deliver in terms of being able to process very quickly, make great decisions, and you’re going to be able to do more with him in terms of getting him on the move.

“Accuracy-wise, (Lance) trails Mac Jones, but I think there are some mechanical things you can fix with him, much like we saw with Josh Allen, and I think you could see Trey Lance get to that level.”

Allen is an interesting comparison to Lance. He also played at a small school (Wyoming) that had many questioning how his game would translate to the NFL after playing against a lower level of competition in college. 

Like Lance, the knock on Allen was his accuracy before going seventh overall in 2018. Though Lance is considered a more polished prospect than Allen. He completed 67% of his throws in 17 starts for the Bison while Allen’s completion rate was 56% in college. 

Allen’s completion rates were hardly spectacular during his first two NFL seasons when he completed just 53% and 59% of his passes to rank dead last in both campaigns.

But in 2020, Allen took a significant step forward improving his completion rate to 69.2%, good for fourth in the league. He finished second in MVP voting behind Aaron Rodgers and helped the Bills reach the AFC title game. He also torched San Francisco’s defense by throwing for 400 yards, completing 32 of 40 throws with four touchdown passes during a “Monday Night Football” win in December.

Back to the idea of taking Jones, it would be viewed by many as a pick made to satisfy Shanahan’s ego. The thinking would be Shanahan only needs a quarterback to run his system, and that would be enough to overcome all else, even in a league where quarterbacks that excel outside of structure have been the most successful, with the lone exception being Tom Brady.

“I think if you talk to some people around the league, they would say if they take Mac Jones, that’s an arrogant decision,” Jeremiah said. “You always hear, ‘It’s about the Jimmy’s and Joe’s not the X’s and O’s.’ It’s an X’s and O’s decision. ‘I believe so much in the X’s and O’s, I need somebody that can just see the game through my eyes and make those decisions.’

“But I don’t call it arrogance because I don’t know how you argue with him. You watch the tape every week of these teams and Kyle gets these guys more open than anybody else in the league.”

That might be a strike against taking Jones. If Shanahan is so good at getting pass-catchers open, why would accuracy be the highest priority? Jeremiah also made the point Jones would likely be the worst starting quarterback in the talented NFC West that features Russell Wilson, Matthew Stafford and former No. 1 overall pick Kyler Murray.

“That’s where I struggle with it,” said Jeremiah. “Do I think whoever the 49ers pick he’s going to be successful? Yes. Because Kyle is so good, the roster’s so good, they’re going to plug him in and they’re going to be good. But I just look at it and say, man, Trey Lance or Justin Fields could do what we saw (with) Aaron Rodgers. 

“When you saw (Rodgers) plugged into that system and you saw him go, okay, Aaron’s always been good, but now you have him in a great offense, an elite elite player at this position. I think you’re going to see it with Stafford with an elite system and an elite quarterback. You’ve seen it with (Patrick) Mahomes and with Andy Reid.” 

Shanahan saw it up close with Mahomes famously in Super Bowl LIV. When talking about the idea Cousins is his perfect quarterback, Shanahan last month said, “You want an elite player and of course if you can get a guy who is elite with his arm and can play in that pocket and do everything and still run around and make off-schedule plays. I mean, that’s what you’ve seen with Mahomes.”

Which leads to Jeremiah’s ultimate point about why he would take Fields or Lance, far more athletic quarterbacks than Jones, who both are believed to have more upside.

“An elite play-caller and a good quarterback, you can win a Super Bowl,” Jeremiah said. “An elite play-caller and an elite quarterback, you can become a dynasty. And that’s why I would lean in the other direction (away from Jones).”

 

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On 4/21/2021 at 8:59 AM, farfromforgotten said:

I don't think they'd start him right away but even so this isn't a typical "ruin the rookie QB" type of situation in San Francisco. There's a good O-line in front of him with a HoF calibur LT protecting his blindside and loads of talent at the skill positions. 

This is an excellent point, any QB taken at 3 if San Fran selects one, that guy is walking on to a team that has a lot of talent and whoever that QB is, they should excel on the Niners and if they could also sit for a year, half a season, it would be very beneficial. 

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2 hours ago, Ministry of Pain said:

This is an excellent point, any QB taken at 3 if San Fran selects one, that guy is walking on to a team that has a lot of talent and whoever that QB is, they should excel on the Niners and if they could also sit for a year, half a season, it would be very beneficial. 

To add to this excellent point, it’s not just the number of weapons, but consider the types of weapons, and how they’d be of benefit to a young passer.

the entire offense are basically YAC monsters. The way Shanny calls plays especially so. They’ve even got a fullback to dump off to in Juice, plus TEs, Debo, Aiyuk &’pass catching RBs. It’s such a beneficial set-up for a young passer. They can run like they did last year & use short and intermediate passing to get the ball out quickly while the young passer develops. It’s a fairly ideal situation for a rookie to come in & have success.

the last few days I became reasonably certain that regardless of which QB the Niners pick, JimmyG is a goner. I wouldn’t be shocked to see him dealt during the draft.

Edited by Hot Sauce Guy
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3 hours ago, Faust said:

Lol Mel kiper. “If you want someone who can run you take fields or lance, if you want accuracy and decision making you take Mac Jones.” Ever hedging. 
I think half the reason people have picked apart Justin Fields is because they needed a reason to prop up their Mac Jones talking points. What changed here- Mac Jones was a mid 1st prediction, maybe 15, then SF trades to 3 and suddenly he’s a lock there, but now he may not be the guy but he’s definitely a top 10 lock now, after deep ball inaccuracies on both pro days? I’ll be shocked.

Ill also point out the hedging by other analysts in that article- “he would fit that system” is a hedge for when he flops somewhere else.

Edited by Snorkelson
Not shocked at top 10, but shocked at 3
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21 hours ago, Faust said:

So he was told that an NFL team moved-up to the #3 spot in the draft and has still not made up their mind as to what they will do with that pick?

If anyone actually believes that ...

Edited by Bracie Smathers
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2 hours ago, Snorkelson said:

Lol Mel kiper. “If you want someone who can run you take fields or lance, if you want accuracy and decision making you take Mac Jones.” Ever hedging. 
I think half the reason people have picked apart Justin Fields is because they needed a reason to prop up their Mac Jones talking points. What changed here- Mac Jones was a mid 1st prediction, maybe 15, then SF trades to 3 and suddenly he’s a lock there, but now he may not be the guy but he’s definitely a top 10 lock now, after deep ball inaccuracies on both pro days? I’ll be shocked.

Ill also point out the hedging by other analysts in that article- “he would fit that system” is a hedge for when he flops somewhere else.

Look at this Kiper clip - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hugymbrVqJM&ab_channel=VersaceBoyEnt3

Edited by JohnnyU
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2 hours ago, Snorkelson said:

Lol Mel kiper. “If you want someone who can run you take fields or lance, if you want accuracy and decision making you take Mac Jones.” Ever hedging. 

He is really just encapsulating what a ton of these TV people are saying over and over again. 

Take this kid, he's an athlete; this kid, he's smart.  

Now, we know Mac isn't the athlete.  We have proof.  Not the athlete Field/Lance is anyway.  But the manner in which they just gaslight everyone in to assuming these athletic QBs cannot see the field is frankly silly.  They don't do it on purpose.  Kiper and McShay and Greenberg (all guilty of this) aren't racist.  They are just sliding into comfortable tropes, familiar patter. Whatever their reason for pumping up Mac Jones is beyond me, but I have seen enough of their "breakdowns".

Anyone caught any of these? Some guy with the oversized telestrator, showing Mac Jones doing an RPO, where he fakes a handoff to the best RB in the nation, behind the best center in the country, and hits a wide open Jaylen Waddle who is running free across the middle, 6 yards downfield.  'Look at the way he makes the correct read, and throws the pass in time (which Waddle takes the rest of the 60 yards for a TD)'.  

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Who trades up with what the 9ers paid and isn't decided on their target? I mean I know it's one thing to know you need a QB so you trade up, but all that capital tells me they have someone in sight. For my money it is Lance. Not sure Fields or Jones needs to sit a year (or part of one). I do think Jones is elite at the short passing game so there's that. (hedging 🙃)

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13 minutes ago, pizzatyme said:

Who trades up with what the 9ers paid and isn't decided on their target? I mean I know it's one thing to know you need a QB so you trade up, but all that capital tells me they have someone in sight. For my money it is Lance. Not sure Fields or Jones needs to sit a year (or part of one). I do think Jones is elite at the short passing game so there's that. (hedging 🙃)

They've known who they were picking since they began negotiations for the trade. The 'uncertainty' that's swirling around is because it's a subject that generates clicks and eyeballs from consumers.

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11 minutes ago, MAC_32 said:

They've known who they were picking since they began negotiations for the trade. The 'uncertainty' that's swirling around is because it's a subject that generates clicks and eyeballs from consumers.

Yep.

And not for nothing, teams love seeing themselves on TV every single day. Jets are getting ZERO coverage.  49ers dominate TV talk, they love it.  

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1 hour ago, MAC_32 said:

They've known who they were picking since they began negotiations for the trade. The 'uncertainty' that's swirling around is because it's a subject that generates clicks and eyeballs from consumers.

Yep

The only (mild) uncertainty here is whether the Jets will take Wilson. that's almost a certainty (like 99%), but things can happen to change minds. It does seem the first two picks are locks, but you never really know. 

Edited by -OZ-
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7 hours ago, Dr. Octopus said:

Mac Jones is back to being the Vegas favorite to go 3. Justin Fields overtook him last week but it’s back to Jones now.

 

Probably because Vegas likes taking people‘s money. 💡 

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1 hour ago, Hot Sauce Guy said:

Probably because Vegas likes taking people‘s money. 💡 

They also don’t like losing money. I’m thinking they end up taking Lance, but since it was discussed last week that Fields passed Jones I figured I’d let people know the odds changed back.

If the Niners take Lance, I’ll get a nice ROI on the few bets I’ve booked.

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This Brown trade if I'm reading this right, KC sent the No 31 but get Brown AND the 58 back in return...it's more like they slid from 31 to 58 than they just flat traded a 1st round pick for their new Tackle, great move if your a Chiefs fan I think. 

Chiefs also sent No 94 pick, No 136 and then swapped a 4th for a 5th in '22. They did sacrifice some picks but really the biggest hit was the 1st down to the 2nd and that seems like a good deal for the Chiefs. 

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58 minutes ago, Dr. Octopus said:

They also don’t like losing money. I’m thinking they end up taking Lance, but since it was discussed last week that Fields passed Jones I figured I’d let people know the odds changed back.

If the Niners take Lance, I’ll get a nice ROI on the few bets I’ve booked.

Rich Eisen has your back. If you listen to the audio of that, he was emphatic that it’s been Lance all along. 

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7 hours ago, massraider said:

Yep.

And not for nothing, teams love seeing themselves on TV every single day. Jets are getting ZERO coverage.  49ers dominate TV talk, they love it.  

They went to Jones 2nd pro day to see him throw, and everyone on TV went “they want Jones at 3” and spent a couple weeks pumping that narrative, now would look stupid to switch so they’re sticking to their guns. Just go watch Mac Jones highlights and then Justin fields highlights and trey lance highlights. 

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Michael Silver @MikeSilver

1) As per NFL Network policy, I am not allowed to "tip picks"... and, in any case, this is not a report. But I've been asked a lot, on here & elsewhere, which player I think the 49ers are targeting with the third pick, and I've had some conversations w/ people who know things...

https://twitter.com/mikesilver/status/1385705673342681089?s=21

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Michael Silver @MikeSilver

2) I have not talked to Kyle Shanahan, who will make the ultimate decision, as he should. He's got a much envied offensive system and a very specific idea of what kind of QB can thrive in that system, and the Niners just made perhaps their boldest trade in history to get to 3...

https://twitter.com/mikesilver/status/1385705674596700163?s=21
 

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Michael Silver @MikeSilver

3) It is my belief that the player the Niners were targeting when they made the trade--under the assumption that Lawrence & Wilson would go 1-2 to the Jags and Jets--was Alabama QB Mac Jones. (Obviously, you only make this move if you also are very high on Lawrence and Wilson)...

https://twitter.com/mikesilver/status/1385705675796336641?s=21
 

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Michael Silver @MikeSilver

4) Once they made the trade, Shanahan, GM John Lynch & other important decision-makers had the luxury of doing some extra digging. Both Ohio State's Justin Fields & North Dakota St.'s Trey Lance have many attractive qualities, and there's no reason not to continue the process...

https://twitter.com/mikesilver/status/1385705676970741761?s=21
 

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Michael Silver @MikeSilver

5) I'd expect, in all likelihood, that Shanahan will stick with his original inclination and won't end up deciding he likes Fields or Lance more than Jones... and that he'll never get a shot at Lawrence or Wilson, who will be off the board...

https://twitter.com/mikesilver/status/1385705678094831624?s=21
 

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Michael Silver @MikeSilver

6) Why Jones? Among other things, the Niners believe he has uncanny pocket skills, especially out of the shotgun formation, and next-level footwork. He can slide in the pocket to either side and react quickly to onrushing defenders, even unblocked ones...

https://twitter.com/mikesilver/status/1385705679218900992?s=21
 

 

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Michael Silver @MikeSilver

7) Jones comes from a tennis-playing family and spent some time on the hardcourt as a kid, and that seems to correlate with the exceptional footwork. He clearly has absorbed a lot of football knowledge, and the synchronization of his throwing motion and footwork is impressive...


https://twitter.com/mikesilver/status/1385705680355553285?s=21
 

 

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Michael Silver @MikeSilver

8) Again, this is not a report; just telling you what I perceive to be going on. Unless and until Kyle proclaims it, there will be enough drama to keep us at least a little on edge until the pick is announced next Thursday night.


https://twitter.com/mikesilver/status/1385705681500524546?s=21

 

 

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Man, I think the 49ers are nuts if they don't take Fields. I think the drop off from Lawrence to Fields is smaller than the drop off from Fields to Lance or Jones. I don't know why it happened(maybe Fields is being looked down on because of other OSU QBs?) but I think its entirely reasonable that he's actually the best player in this entire draft. 

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1 hour ago, travdogg said:

Man, I think the 49ers are nuts if they don't take Fields. I think the drop off from Lawrence to Fields is smaller than the drop off from Fields to Lance or Jones. I don't know why it happened(maybe Fields is being looked down on because of other OSU QBs?) but I think its entirely reasonable that he's actually the best player in this entire draft. 

I'm not sure I agree completely but I respect the conviction and stepping out there, shooting from the hip, that's what is missing at times in here. 👍

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3 hours ago, Faust said:

Silver is guessing, and frankly his logic is kind of embarrassing for him.

Mac Jones arguably shouldn’t be a 1st rounder. He won because everyone from that school wins. He’s not athletic enough & all the talk about his quick decision making / cerebral QB sounds like reaching for excuses to hype up the least athletic QB of the 5 potential 1st rounders.

If you want the next Mahomes, you move to 3 to take Fields or Lance. 

You don’t trade up to 3 to draft the next JimmyG, especially when you already have JimmyG. 

i’m getting pre-draft Mac Jones fatigue. If he ends up the pick I may get physically ill for how absolutely stupid that pick would be at 3. 

Edited by Hot Sauce Guy
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10 minutes ago, Ministry of Pain said:

I'm not sure I agree completely but I respect the conviction and stepping out there, shooting from the hip, that's what is missing at times in here. 👍

I’ve said it a couple of times as well. And if it’s not Fields it’s Lance. 

Those are the only 2 QBs (not named Wilson or Lawrence) to trade to 3 for. 

They coulda easily moved to 6 & would have 100% been able to take Jones there, and IMO it would be a reach even at 6. 

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Wow, big board from Nystrom has the Jets taking Pitt 2 & the Niners taking Fields 3, with Wilson sliding to 10.

Sounds like someone’s thirsty for attention, because that seems insane in literally every way (except the Niners taking Fields, which I would question if Wilson was still on the board) 

who’s the Jets QB in this incredibly unlikely scenario? 😳

https://www.nbcsports.com/edge/article/rankings/thor500-nystroms-big-nfl-draft-board

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4 minutes ago, Hot Sauce Guy said:

Wow, big board from Nystrom has the Jets taking Pitt 2 & the Niners taking Fields 3, with Wilson sliding to 10.

Sounds like someone’s thirsty for attention, because that seems insane in literally every way (except the Niners taking Fields, which I would question if Wilson was still on the board) 

who’s the Jets QB in this incredibly unlikely scenario? 😳

https://www.nbcsports.com/edge/article/rankings/thor500-nystroms-big-nfl-draft-board

HSG, it's just a big board and not a mock. They're different. What each evaluator does with a big board is rank the prospects in order of their ability and overall grade, not where they think they will go in the draft.

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6 minutes ago, Hot Sauce Guy said:

Wow, big board from Nystrom has the Jets taking Pitt 2 & the Niners taking Fields 3, with Wilson sliding to 10.

Sounds like someone’s thirsty for attention, because that seems insane in literally every way (except the Niners taking Fields, which I would question if Wilson was still on the board) 

who’s the Jets QB in this incredibly unlikely scenario? 😳

https://www.nbcsports.com/edge/article/rankings/thor500-nystroms-big-nfl-draft-board

Usually a "big board" is not meant to be a mock draft where he calls which-players-to-which-teams -- usually it simply means how he views the top prospects in order (as he appears to do in this case).

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