The 2021 NFL Draft is a day away, and all the focus right now is on the third pick and San Francisco 49ers. The Niners will almost certainly select a quarterback at that spot, but no one knows which one. Rumors have intensified that the team is deciding between Alabama's Mac Jones and North Dakota State's Trey Lance. But by selecting Jones, San Francisco could be capping its ceiling long-term.
We all know Trevor Lawrence is going No. 1 to the Jacksonville Jaguars and most believe the New York Jets are taking BYU quarterback Zach Wilson at No. 2. After that, the fun will start. While Jones might be more pro-ready than any quarterback other than Lawrence, Lance represents a multidimensional threat with huge upside. Taking Jones might help the team win now but hurt in the long run.
Colin Cowherd discussed this on his show Wednesday. Check out the debate he had with himself as he broke down what taking Lance or Jones would mean:
The rest of the NFC West has better quarterbacks than Mac Jones. Russell Wilson, Kyler Murray and Matt Stafford all provide higher upside to their teams. Trey Lance's untapped potential could vault him into an elite category. Yes, he has more developing to do, but he can reach a high that Jones couldn't touch. On the flipside, Kyle Shanahan has proven he can win with quarterbacks built like Jones. He did it with Matt Ryan, Kirk Cousins, Jimmy Garoppolo and even Matt Schaub.
Jones feels like a win-now selection for the 49ers, while Lance would be the guy to build with long-term. And if Lance was the pick, San Francisco could keep Garoppolo around as insurance, then release or trade him after the 2021 season.
To acquire the third pick in the draft from Miami, 49ers traded the 12th and 102nd picks this year, plus first-rounders in 2022 and 2023. That's a hell of a lot to give up for a guy who is widely regarded as a low-ceiling, win-now quarterback. If you make that bold trade to move up, you should probably be doing something bold with the selection. Drafting Lance would be a bold move.
Jones might wind up being a fine NFL quarterback, but he simply doesn't have the upside of the other guys available at his position.