clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Adam Schefter still believes the 49ers pick was Mac Jones and not Trey Lance

ESPN’s NFL expert joined the Pat McAfee show Wednesday to discuss the 49ers quarterback carousel.

2021 NFL Draft Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

ESPN’s Adam Schefter made an appearance on The Pat McAfee Show Wednesday where he discussed Brock Purdy’s recovery timetable, Trey Lance, and Sam Darnold. It seems as though each update reads like the previous one.

Schefter stated the obvious, saying there was never much of a trade market for Lance: “There was really never a lot of interest in Trey Lance. For what they gave up and what they get back, which is not very much at all, it doesn’t make sense to trade him. There was no trade market, and Kyle Shanahan has said that they didn’t have any trade talks with teams. He’s not going anywhere right now. He’s there.”

San Francisco moving on from Lance for a Day 3 or possibly even a conditional pick made little to no sense, especially since they’re still unsure about their No. 3 overall pick and what he brings to the table.

Speaking of No. 3 overall picks, it wouldn’t be a 49ers discussion if there wasn’t misplaced faith in Darnold. Here’s Schefter on the Niners free agent signing:

“Now, I will say this, Sam Darnold signed with the 49ers on the first day of free agency. And if there’s a player signing with the team on the first day, that tells you that the team really liked that guy. And they really did like Sam Darnold. He was looking at a couple of different options. He chose the 49ers.”

That’s fair when talking about players landing with teams on the first day of free agency. It’s generally a sign that both sides were eyeing each other. There’s no denying Darnold fits well with what Shanahan wants from his quarterbacks. Darnold is enough of a risk-taker to raise the ceiling of this offense. But will he be consistent enough? We’ll find out come training camp.

Schefter made it clear that the job is still Purdy’s to lose once he’s healthy. He also said Darnold has the leg-up over Lance. This is where it’s difficult to tell when Schefter is sharing his opinion or what he’s being told. More from Schefter:

“Brock Purdy is the one, if healthy. And I think going into camp, Sam Darnold, I think, has the edge going into camp. But, by the way, Trey Lance could play great. He worked over the summer with Patrick Mahomes, and I heard he’s made tremendous improvement. I’m anxious to see how much he’s improved and whether he can make that jump. Let’s see.”

Schefter also said that Darnold “has a chance to really shine and excel.” If you are a quarterback, whether No. 3 overall, last pick in the draft, Jimmy Garoppolo, you name it, and cannot excel with the weapons on the 49ers, this job may not be for you.

More Mac Jones

The national reporters still have egg on their faces after swearing the 49ers would select Mac Jones No. 3 overall. Logically, it never made sense to trade up for a quarterback who doesn’t possess the physical gifts to warrant a selection that high.

There have been plenty of excuses, and, according to Schefter, the 49ers fell in love with Lance at the last minute, which swayed them, after multiple months of research, away from selecting Jones:

“I don’t think that’s right. I’m just telling you, they traded up with the idea that they loved Mac Jones, okay? When they made that trade, they traded up with the idea that they’re going to draft Mac Jones while also having—I think it was six weeks to the draft, maybe a little less—a month or so to look at the other prospects.

And while they looked at the other prospects, they fell in love with the intangibles that Trey Lance demonstrated. He did testing and tested off the charts in terms of intelligence. They brought him in the building. The guy was ultra-impressive. And even though they traded up with the idea of picking Mac Jones, while doing their work, they became enamored with this guy and the upside that he had.

And I think they felt like if they take Mac Jones, then their offense, which many teams run versions of, and they copy what they do, will continue to be duplicated. But it would be harder to duplicate what they do with a guy like Trey Lance, who freelances and plays spontaneous football the way he does.

And so in the end, they went for the guy with the bigger upside, a guy who had great intangibles, and they went for Trey Lance. But I’m telling you, when they made the deal, the motivation, initially, was Mac Jones.”

The most plausible part of Schefter’s statement is when he spoke about not being able to duplicate the offense with Lance. Shanahan has said in the past that it’s becoming more and more difficult as his offense spreads around the league.

But I’m calling BS on Schefter still digging his feet in that the pick was Jones. A few of us at Niners Nation have spoken to people inside of the building, and they were adamant that Kyle had long had his eyes on Lance.

This tweet was from the college football season prior to the 2021 NFL Draft, and before Brock Purdy had declared.

Plus, at the time, Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer had made a connection to the Niners and Lance:

It was always Lance.