Ex-49er Bourne offers interesting Mac-Jimmy G comparison

Mac Jones, Kendrick Bourne

Depending on what realm of reality you choose to reside in, there was a time when it looked like the 49ers were going to draft Mac Jones at No. 3 overall to replace Jimmy Garoppolo.

Whether there was fire to the smoke or not, the 49ers eventually ended up drafting Trey Lance and Jones fell to No. 15, where the New England Patriots picked him to be their next franchise quarterback.

The pre-draft criticism of the 49ers potentially selecting Jones was that the Alabama signal-caller was too much like Garoppolo. He was perceived to have a lower ceiling than Lance and Justin Fields, and many believed it would be silly for the 49ers to have spent two first-round picks to move up and select a younger quarterback with the same skill set and limitations as Garoppolo.

Kendrick Bourne left the 49ers this offseason to join the Patriots, so the wide receiver is in the perfect position to compare whether Jones and Garoppolo are indeed similar. On Tuesday, Bourne was asked how Garoppolo and Jones compare from a timing and velocity standpoint, and it's safe to say Bourne really enjoys having the rookie as his QB.

"The velocity part is just -- Mac, he's throwing it hard, but when you catch it, it's like a pillow," Bourne said (h/t NBC Sports Boston's Nick Goss). "I can definitely say that. He's special, man. Jimmy's got a rifle and it comes in harder. That's the difference I would say about the two. Timing-wise, I wouldn't say they're that different. They're both pretty solid. It's all about the pocket and pressure and stuff like that. Velocity is just the most difference between them, that's what I would say.


"Mac, man, I'm really blessed to be in a situation with him, starting this new era of New England football. It's the same, but with new players. I'm happy to be a part of it. We're showing a lot of flashes. I'm appreciative of that, and it just shows we got potential. If you've got potential, you know the ceiling is high. That play was just amazing, too. It's just crazy how it's playing out. The future is really bright, as well all can see."

On Sunday, Jones showed incredible resilience late in the fourth quarter of the Patriots' eventual overtime loss to the Dallas Cowboys.

With a little over two minutes left and the Patriots needing a first down to ice the game, Jones' pass intended for Bourne sailed and was picked off by Trevon Diggs, who returned it 42 yards for a touchdown to give Dallas the lead. While that might have broken most rookie's spirit, Jones bounced back and threw a dart to Bourne for a 75-yard touchdown on his very next pass to give New England back the lead.

RELATED: Schrock's observations: 49ers can learn from Jones, Fields

Jones was viewed as the most NFL-ready for the quarterbacks in the 2021 NFL Draft, and that has proven to be the case through six weeks. Jones is completing 71.1 percent of his passes for 1,472 yards, seven touchdown passes, and six interceptions.

As for Garoppolo, the veteran signal-caller started the 49ers' first four games before exiting at halftime of San Francisco's Week 4 loss to the Seattle Seahawks with a calf injury. Garoppolo missed the 49ers' Week 5 game vs. the Arizona Cardinals as Lance made his first-career start in the 17-10 loss.

Garoppolo returned to practice Monday after the 49ers' bye week and appears like he will be ready to re-enter the lineup Sunday when the 49ers (2-3) host the Indianapolis Colts (2-4). Lance's status for Sunday's game is unknown after the rookie suffered a knee sprain against the Cardinals.

Jones and Lance will be forever linked due to their draft class and the 49ers' decision to go with Lance's ceiling over Jones' NFL readiness.

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