Mac Jones and Trey Lance will have their careers compared forever after the 49ers decided to pass on the Alabama star to select the North Dakota State product with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Jones fell all the way to No. 15 where the New England Patriots quickly snapped him up. Jones beat out Cam Newton for the starting job in training camp, while Lance has seen action in four of the 49ers' seven games, including one start when Jimmy Garoppolo was injured.
49ers legend Joe Montana recently poured gas on the embers of the Jones-Lance debate when he said on ESPN's "College Football Live" that he would have taken Jones if he was the 49ers.
On Friday, 49ers general manager John Lynch responded to Montana's comments, noting the 49ers have full faith in Lance.
"Well, I'm never going to argue quarterbacking with Joe Montana," Lynch told KNBR's "Murph and Mac." "But I can tell you this, we are extremely confident in Trey Lance and what he is going to be. I think we have seen glimpses of that. We're taking our time, you know? Because we have another quarterback who we believe in in Jimmy. But it's also about putting Trey in the best possible situation. Mac's playing right now so I can understand why Joe said that, but we studied that hard. We made our decision. We're still as convicted as ever that we made the right decision there. ... He's entitled to his own opinion. We'll always respect that but we've got a ton of belief in Trey Lance that he is going to be a tremendous player for us for a long time."
Jones had some struggles early in the season, but he has played well over the last month. The rookie signal-caller is Pro Football Focus' top-rated QB since Week 5 and has the Patriots at 4-4 and primed for an AFC playoff run.
Lance, meanwhile, didn't see the field in the 49ers' Week 8 win over the Chicago Bears and it's clear coach Kyle Shanahan still thinks the rookie has some developing to do before he is ready to take over an NFL offense.
The Jones vs. Lance storyline will continue for years, but the Patriots rookie has already convinced Montana he should have been the pick at No. 3. Time will tell if that is indeed the case.