Kyle Shanahan explains why 49ers picked Trey Lance over Mac Jones in 2021 NFL Draft
The 49ers may have struck gold without realizing it.
San Francisco was traded to 3rd overall pick on March 26, leaving no doubt that the team chose to select a passer there in the 2021 NFL Draft.
While early rumors and speculation assumed that head coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch would take Alabama QB Mac Jones with the pick, Shanahan said he only made a decision on April 19 – day two. professional Trey Lance.
Speaking to NBC Sports’ Peter King, Shanahan revealed why the team opted for Lance over Jones despite all the ‘Bama QB’ push.
His natural ability to play the quarterback position, just in terms of how he plays in the pocket, how he can go through the progressions, how, when no one is open, that he gives him a chance, that he recognizes her. And how quickly it reacts to make it an off-schedule piece. He’s been performing on tape like he’s a very balanced and intelligent person who’s been playing the role for a while.
Then you look in the other attributes, and you’re like, “Oh, I haven’t even hit running skills.” I didn’t understand how much he can improve the more he plays. That’s what made me love him so much right away.
Shanahan’s reasoning is very much in line with what scouts and analysts have said about Lance from the start: while raw, Lance’s pure physical attributes may be the best in the 2021 draft class and his intelligence. and his football IQ also play a big part in who he is as a passerby.
After spotting Lance and watching more tapes, Shanahan and Lynch came to an agreement that Lance would be the 3rd overall guy, leading to his selection on April 29. While Shanahan has said he covets first-round picks, he understands the price to pay for the salary it is worth for a high-caliber player.
Shanahan did not inform the team’s coaches that Lance would be the pick until Trevor Lawrence’s name was called on draft night.
While Lance should have some time on the pitch this season, for now the 49ers still have Jimmy Garoppolo ahead of Lance on the depth chart, although business rumors suggest Garoppolo may go before the start of the 2021 season.
The 49ers gave up two future first-round picks to move on to third overall pick. Now it’s up to Lance to prove them right.