Should 49ers have drafted Mac Jones? Joe Montana gives candid take originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

Did the San Francisco 49ers make a mistake selecting Trey Lance over Mac Jones with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft?

A 49ers legend has joined the debate.

“If I were the 49ers, I would have taken the kid (Mac Jones) from Alabama last year,” Joe Montana said Tuesday on ESPN’s “College Football Live” show. “Nothing against the guy (Trey Lance) that they took, it’s just a more pro-style offense, more used to being in tough situations.”

It’s true that Jones played against better competition and got more experience in clutch situations playing for Alabama last season than Lance did as a North Dakota State player. Jones helped lead the Crimson Tide to a 13-0 record and a national championship.

The New England Patriots took him with the No. 15 pick in the first round, and so far it’s worked out pretty well.

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Jones is completing 68.1 percent of his passes for 1,997 yards with nine touchdowns and six interceptions through eight games. He ranks eighth among all quarterbacks in both completion percentage and passing yards. 

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Lance has played in four of the 49ers’ seven games. He’s completing 52.1 percent of his passes for 354 yards with three touchdowns and one interception. Lance also has tallied 123 yards and a touchdown on the ground. 

The 49ers have yet to give Lance full control of the offense. Veteran quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo remains the starter when healthy enough to play. Garoppolo has not played poorly enough for Lance to get an extended run of playing time.

So it’s still way too early to give San Francisco an accurate grade for their 2021 first-round pick. That said, the 49ers better hope Lance becomes a quality NFL starter because they gave up three first-rounders and a third-round pick to move up in the draft to select the former North Dakota State star.


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