Mac Jones has far outshined the rest of his fellow rookie quarterbacks so far in 2021, including the 49ers' No. 3 overall draft pick, Trey Lance. However, NFL Media's Ian Rapoport tells KNBR it isn't time for fans to start second-guessing whether Jones should have been the 49ers' choice at No. 3 (H/T 49ers Web Zone).
"I know they liked him a lot, so they could have drafted him, but the story was never going to be told this year," Rapoport said on "Murph & Mac" on Monday. "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."
Jones, who went No. 15 overall, has the New England Patriots riding a four-game winning streak and has thrown for 2,333 yards with 13 touchdowns and seven interceptions on a 69 percent completion percentage.
Lance has seen limited action so far this season as Jimmy Garoppolo remains the starter, but apparently was progressing toward taking the QB1 role before a knee injury delayed his development.
Unlike the rest of the teams that chose a QB in Round 1, the 49ers had championship expectations coming into this season. However, injuries across the board and underperformances from Garoppolo and several other key starters has thrown a wrench into those plans.
It is far too early to determine whether any rookie is a gem or a bust at this stage in their rookie season, especially since we have not seen Lance play a full game outside of his lone spot start for a banged-up Garoppolo against the Arizona Cardinals.
Once these quarterbacks near the end of their rookie contracts, it will be much more simple to accurately grade each selection and determine whether the 49ers' choice of Lance was the correct one.