Joe Montana claims he wouldn’t have selected Trey Lance over Mac Jones with the third overall pick in the NFL Draft.
“If I were the 49ers, I would have taken the kid from Alabama last year (Mac Jones),” he said on ESPN’s College Football Live show Tuesday. “Nothing against the guy that they took (Trey Lance), but more pro-style offense, more used to being in tough situations.”
Mac Jones, the eventual 15th overall selection by the New England Patriots, has been impressive through his first eight game. He has thrown for 1,997 yards with a 68.1% completion rate.
“Alabama reminds me of the USC of old,” he continued. “They are putting out quarterbacks like crazy and I think the kid (Bryce Young) that is there now is fun to watch. Alabama has such great teams and are so far above other teams that their talent level usually carries them.”
My only gripe with Montana’s logic — and it’s a big one — is that supporting casts largely dictate success in both the NFL and college football. Mac Jones and the USC quarterbacks Montana mentioned from the past were all beneficiaries of those supporting casts that helped them develop their skills. So with that logic, wouldn’t Mac Jones’ situation be Nick Saban-esque when he was drafted into Bill Belichick’s quarterback room where he can learn under Josh McDaniels, one of the top offensive coordinators in the sport?
We can’t simply look at numbers and make fair comparisons between the two draft picks. Sure, the 49ers may be more talented with offensive weapons like George Kittle and Deebo Samuel, but perhaps Mac Jones is faring better because his situation is more ideal? Maybe we place entirely too much credit and blame on the chests of rookie quarterbacks when their situations aren’t taken into account. Joe Montana could be right that the 49ers made a mistake in their draft choice, however it’s only fair we also mention Mac Jones is in the perfect spot.