He might have been selected 63 picks later, but Chris Simms believes Kellen Mond is the superior quarterback to Trey Lance.
In the NBC Sports NFL analyst's latest edition of his NFL QB rankings, Simms has the Texas A&M product ranked one spot ahead of the 49ers' No. 3 overall draft pick. Mond is ranked 37th out of 40 quarterbacks, while Lance comes in at No. 38. Justin Fields checks in one spot behind Lance as the No. 39 quarterback.
"A lot of the same conversations we had with Justin Fields, hasn't played as much football, but I love the top-end talent, and there is more consistency with Trey Lance's throwing," Simms said. "His arm, like a Justin Fields too, it's really powerful, really powerful. And I would say, really in a lot of ways, more powerful than Justin Fields because there is a little more consistency with the mechanics and controlling of the football to where he can throw it hard and still control it. Fields can throw it hard, and sometimes control it, other times you're going, 'Oh no that's not good.'
"So that's the reason Lance is in front of Fields, but yes I still have questions with the lack of playing time, the mechanical issues, the consistency hitting some passes that you go, 'Wait, hey you're the No. 3 pick in the draft, I'm not supposed to see that many where the guy had to go to the ground or turn around or we just missed that throw all together. Those are the things I just have to see improve a little bit before I can make these guys top 25-type talents in the NFL."
Simms has been higher on Mond's potential in the NFL than most, as he ranked the former Aggie quarterback his fourth-best among the 2021 draft class, behind Mac Jones, Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson. Lance was behind Fields in Simms' pre-draft rankings as the No. 6 QB.
Some thought Mond could be a late first-round or early second-round draft pick, but he ended up being the seventh quarterback selected in April's draft, as Florida product Kyle Trask was selected with the final pick of the second round by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
There are more unknowns with Lance than any of the other six QBs mentioned above. His experience at North Dakota State lining up against inferior competition, his limited number of college starts and the gap between his last appearance in a live game all are marks against him.
However, Lance also is a national champion and clearly demonstrated the talent and skillset to be a dual-threat option at the quarterback position for the 49ers. Jimmy Garoppolo's presence also minimizes the pressure on Lance to come in and take over the starting job right away.
Mond also likely will sit behind Kirk Cousins for at least one season, so we won't know for several years who ends up being the more prolific signal-caller.
The idea of a Kyle Shanahan offense built around a player with Lance's skillset has 49ers fans fired up, regardless of where some analysts might rank the young QB.