Graziano: Don’t rule out the 49ers drafting Trey Lance at No. 3

Apr 2, 2021 at 6:50 AM--

It's a foregone conclusion that Zach Wilson is going No. 2 overall to the New York Jets. With Trevor Lawrence a lock to head to the Jacksonville Jaguars at No. 1, that leaves the San Francisco 49ers with their choice of Justin Fields, Mac Jones, and Trey Lance.

Many are predicting that the trade up to No. 3 was made for Jones. Others feel that is a massive reach that didn't necessarily require a move into the top 3. ESPN's Dan Graziano warns fans not to overlook Lance as the quarterback of the future in San Francisco.

"All you hear is Mac Jones, Mac Jones to (the) 49ers," Graziano said on ESPN's Get Up! "I mean, that's all over the league, and it could happen. He could be their guy. But conversations that I've had in the last couple of days have led me to think that I can't rule out Trey Lance as a possibility.

"Look, if Jimmy Garoppolo is really going to be on the team this year, which they've said, Lance is the one guy in this group that everybody kind of agrees needs a year, right? Because he hasn't really played much in college; only one game this past year. We've talked about how few throws there are to evaluate of Trey Lance.

"He has the athleticism. He has the size. He has the arm strength. He kind of gives Kyle Shanahan the opportunity to sort of evolve his offense beyond where it's been, and I just don't think we can rule that out, the idea that Kyle has in mind a guy that can take him places the others previously have not been (able)."

Jeff Saturday responded by saying the biggest winner in this draft is whichever quarterback ends up with Shanahan.

"The guy who goes three is going to be in the best position to win and be developed as a quarterback," Saturday said. "When you think about [Kyle] Shanahan and what he does in this system, this guy creates quarterbacks. I liken him to Andy Reid, right? Every time you go in here, he makes the best of his quarterbacks. You saw him take Jimmy Garoppolo to the Super Bowl. You saw him develop this football team. This team is ready to win right now. So, whoever is in that three spot has to be excited about where they are."

Saturday, a former offensive lineman, is noticeably frustrated by the knocks on Fields by draft evaluators. He obviously feels the former Buckeye could thrive with a coach like Shanahan.

"The kid scored [63] touchdowns and had nine interceptions in two years at Ohio State, where he is playing great competition." Saturday passionately declared. "We're going to talk about processing? And by the way, every offensive system in college is developed to take the first read. I lived on a football field for 14 years in the NFL. (Former Colts offensive coordinator) Tom Moore used to scream at Peyton Manning, 'If the first read is there, you take it right now.' Now, we're going to criticize a kid who's taking his first read and doing exactly as he's coached?

"... Justin Fields is fully capable of [processing the game at the NFL level] just like every other quarterback. I think this is absolute garbage, and it's just a way to put a guy (down) and kind of sabotage his draft status. I just don't get on board with it at all."

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