Pelissero: Mac Jones a good draft fit for 49ers but keep an eye on Trey Lance

Apr 22, 2021 at 1:47 PM--

NFL insiders Tom Pelissero and Ian Rapoport joined NFL Network on Thursday and discussed the looming quarterback question that the San Francisco 49ers have to answer next week during the draft. Will it be Mac Jones of Alabama, as many are predicting? Or will the team ruin everyone's mock drafts and take Justin Fields of Ohio State or Trey Lance of North Dakota State?

While Jones is viewed as more pro-ready right now, Fields and Lance are viewed as more athletic and having higher ceilings.

"But what Mac Jones brings to the table are two characteristics that Kyle Shanahan really highly values," Pelissero explained. "He is a quick processor, and he is accurate with the football, which in that system, can allow you to make up for some things that you lack."

While analysts would probably take Fields or Lance over Jones if the decision were theirs, many in NFL circles can understand why Jones has climbed up draft boards. The Alabama quarterback threw for 4,500 yards, 41 touchdowns, and had just four interceptions while leading his team to a National Championship — all while completing 77.4 percent of his passes.

"Mac Jones is someone who is brilliant, has a photographic memory, the kind of mind that Kyle Shanahan — really any quarterback coach — would like," Rapoport said. "Is his ceiling a little lower than some? Maybe. But if you're getting a starter for the next 10 years, that would be a lot to argue with.

"Plus — and I want to be careful how I say this — I'm not saying that he's Joe Burrow, but I've had many high-ranking executives tell me his film, just the film, looks just like Burrow's from last year."

Lance held his pro day this week. Shanahan and general manager John Lynch were in attendance. While the former Bison may sit behind Jones and Fields when it comes to prospects with the best odds to be selected at No. 3, Pelissero hears from sources around the league that a Lance-to-49ers scenario shouldn't be dismissed.

"[K]eep an eye here on Trey Lance because I've spoken to a number of relatively plugged-in people in recent days who all say Lance has to be at least a consideration at No. 3," Pelissero said. "He had his second pro day on Monday. I've talked to people who watched that pro day either live or on tape. All say that it was better than the first pro day.

"And at that pro day, Ian, Lance was running some Kyle Shanahan staple drills, concepts, throws, because the 49ers wanted to make sure, with no private workouts allowed because of COVID restrictions, that they got the best look possible of one of the mystery men in this draft."

As for Fields, Rapoport added that the sky is the limit for the former Buckeye before commenting on Lance.

"Physically, he is everything you would ever want," Rapoport said of Fields. "And then Trey Lance, whose potential is through the roof, really, it's all over the map as far as where people view him. Some people view him as a perennial future Pro Bowler, and some simply do not, especially with the game he played this year being not that great."

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