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Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Schefter insists Patriots’ interest in Mac Jones influenced 49ers trading up to No. 3

Sep 12, 2021 at 7:31 AM

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Head coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch have insisted that the San Francisco 49ers were interested in Trey Lance since they started scouting this year's rookie quarterback class. For Shanahan, that process started in January after last season ended. The 49ers traded up to the No. 3 overall pick and eventually selected Lance despite most in the media and around the league believing that the target was Mac Jones of Alabama.

The 49ers insist that Lance was always the player to beat in their minds. He was the one for whom they made the trade.

ESPN's Adam Schefter disputed that this morning, believing Jones, not Lance, was the target. Not that any of that matters now. Lance is in San Francisco, and the New England Patriots selected Jones. However, nearly five months after the draft, the NFL insider decided to release this tidbit that now has sports media outlets talking.

"One of the many reasons the San Francisco 49ers traded up to the third overall spot in this year's NFL draft was their belief that the New England Patriots could trade up to No. 3 and beat them to Alabama quarterback Mac Jones, league sources told ESPN," wrote Schefter.

The insider adds that the 49ers were worried that the Patriots would leapfrog the 49ers, who initially sat at the No. 12 overall pick, for Jones.

"This belief contributed to the Niners completing the late-March trade that sent three first-round draft picks to the Miami Dolphins to move up to the No. 3 spot, which gave them the opportunity to draft Jones or any other quarterback they deemed worthy in that slot," Schefter continued.

The timing of this report from Schefter is odd. The 49ers are set to open the season this morning against the Detroit Lions, and Jones will start for the Patriots against the Miami Dolphins. Back in April, Shanahan shared how long he had been interested in Lance.

Said Shanahan after drafting Lance: "We can go back to January for the timeline, which we don't have enough time to go all the way through. ... We've been very high on Trey since the beginning, since day one. Yes, the person everyone else was speculating about (Jones), we liked him, too. ... When we made the trade, we knew exactly where we were going and what we were doing. ... I wouldn't have said there's no chance we wouldn't have (changed our mind and drafted Jones). We were going to go through this process, and I would never have said it couldn't have ended up being him, but I know how we felt about Trey the whole time."

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