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Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports


‘This was never about this year’: Rapoport says 49ers should not regret drafting Trey Lance over Mac Jones

Nov 15, 2021 at 11:10 AM--


Mac Jones is having an impressive rookie year. His New England Patriots have won four in a row and sit at 6-4. The rookie quarterback completed 82.6 percent of his passes and threw three touchdowns in a 45-7 rout of the Cleveland Browns over the weekend.

Meanwhile, in Santa Clara, rookie Trey Lance, selected 12 spots ahead of Jones at No. 3 overall, hasn't received too many opportunities with the San Francisco 49ers. Of course, that was always the plan. Lance was drafted to eventually replace starter Jimmy Garoppolo, but use his rookie season to learn from the veteran quarterback and his coaches. Lance, after all, had limited experience at the collegiate level.

Shanahan fell in love with Lance's potential. That's what made the 49ers trade to move up to select the former North Dakota State quarterback instead of Jones, who probably would have been available at their original No. 12 slot.

San Francisco sits at 3-5, though, on the brink of another playoff-less campaign, while Jones and the Patriots appear to be surging their way into postseason contention. That has left many wondering if Shanahan and the 49ers made the right call selecting Lance over Jones.

NFL insider Ian Rapoport joined KNBR this morning. He was asked if it is time to admit that the Niners should have drafted Jones.

"No," Rapoport responded on the Murph & Mac show. "I know they liked him a lot, so they could have drafted him, but the story was never going to be told this year. Mac Jones was always going to be NFL-ready, come in, start Day 1, look adequate, and sometimes, more than adequate [rookie]. And I think he's playing awesome. Don't get me wrong.

"That's not what this is about for the 49ers. They took a quarterback that they planned to sit for a year, make the playoffs, and then have him take over. Now, the playoff thing hasn't worked out yet, but this was never about this year because Trey Lance was always a project with incredible tools, who they liked, who they believed in, and I haven't seen anything yet to indicate the 49ers should have any reason for regret."

Both quarterbacks likely have lengthy NFL careers ahead of them. There is no telling what they might accomplish with their respective franchises. Lance hasn't even begun to show fans what he might be capable of, in what could be a promising career. Shanahan and the 49ers believed in the now-21-year-old so much that they were willing to send a haul of future draft capital to the Miami Dolphins to move up in the draft.

Rapoport continued, "If we're four years down the road and Trey Lance is not playing, then [there should be regret]. But this year doesn't mean anything for Trey Lance."

You can listen to the entire conversation with Rapoport below.




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