Todd McShay believes 49ers should draft Trey Lance but probably won’t

Apr 19, 2021 at 3:22 PM--

ESPN analyst Todd McShay sounds torn. He strongly believes that the San Francisco 49ers should draft quarterback Trey Lance of North Dakota State with the No. 3 overall pick in 10 days. However, he can't envision that happening. Everything he is hearing is pointing toward another prospect.

"I would take Trey Lance. I'm just going to be honest," McShay told Rich Eisen on Monday. "I would take Trey Lance of North Dakota State. I think that he has the highest ceiling of the other quarterbacks after the top two, but I keep hearing -- the intel I keep getting is that Mac Jones is going to be the pick."

Jones of Alabama and Justin Fields of Ohio State remain strong possibilities for that selection at No. 3. Jones is seen as more pro-ready, but Fields and Lance are more athletic, and most experts feel the two have the higher ceilings. San Francisco plans on keeping Jimmy Garoppolo for the upcoming season, which means Fields or Lance might make more sense, given the team will have the luxury of allowing its rookie quarterback to sit and learn for a season.

Still, everyone keeps hearing that it's most likely going to be Jones, despite Fields currently being the betting favorite.

McShay may disagree with the narrative that he continues to hear, but he understands the reasoning. The analyst acknowledges that Jones feels like more of a fit for what Shanahan is looking for.

"If you look at the analytics, from the pressure QBR to the blitz QBR to 21-plus-yard QBR, Mac Jones has the best numbers," McShay explains. "But he's not as athletic as Justin Fields or Trey Lance, and personally, I would take Lance. But Mac Jones makes a lot of sense, and that's what everyone keeps telling me."

Lance is the best quarterback available after Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson, says McShay. Justin Fields of Ohio State would be fourth in his ranking, followed by Jones.

"I keep hearing [Jones will be the 49ers' pick], but it's hard to buy it, to be completely honest," McShay added. "I keep looking at this, and I think about Kyle Shanahan watching Matt Ryan getting out of field-goal position in [Super Bowl LI] and losing that Super Bowl. And then watching Patrick Mahomes run around in the second half (of Super Bowl LIV) and extend plays with that mobility.

"And I know that he wants football intelligence, and I know what he's had before, but to me, don't you want someone that you can develop and have the higher ceiling? It's going to be fascinating to see (what they do)."

While Lance has just 17 collegiate starts on his resume, McShay explained why he likes the North Dakota State product so much.

"He's built like a tight end," McShay shared. "He's strong. He's so competitive. He extends plays. He has a big-time arm. His biggest issue is that he, mechanically, his footwork is not where it needs to be. And footwork equals ball placement. I mean, that's how it works.

"So, he needs to go somewhere where he can probably sit for a year, and that's why I think San Francisco at three makes sense. Atlanta at four makes sense (too). Where you can sit behind a Jimmy Garoppolo for a year or a Matt Ryan and have the time to work on the things that he needs to work on."

Added McShay: "When I watch him, I just see so much potential. I just think that he has a chance to be a star in the league, but he needs the right development."

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