Joe Montana wishes the 49ers picked Mac Jones instead of Trey Lance

The 49ers took Lance with the third overall pick while Jones fell to the Patriots, who selected him with the 15th overall pick.

Jeff Haynes
Mac Jones was all smiles after the Patriots took him at No. 15 in late April.

The start to Mac Jones’s NFL career already has some people second-guessing if he was drafted too low in the 2021 NFL Draft.

One of those people is NFL legend Joe Montana. The iconic 49ers quarterback admitted that he wished his old team picked Jones this past April.

“If I was the 49ers I would have taken the kid from Alabama last year,” Montana said on ESPN’s “College Football Live” this week.

The reasoning as to why Montana likes Jones over Trey Lance is based on the fit more than the talent between the two quarterbacks.


“Nothing against the guy that they took,” Montana said. “It’s just that more pro-style offense, used to being in pressure situations than that. Again, we’ll see what happens in San Francisco. Nothing against Trey, but it’s one of those things that here’s a guy that’s got a great team behind him. They’re always fun to watch.”

Not long after the 49ers traded up from the No. 12 pick to the No. 3 pick in March, reports came out that Jones was who they were targeting with the pick. Those rumors lasted all the way until draft night when the 49ers opted to pick Lance with the No. 3 pick instead. Jones fell to the 15th overall pick, where the Patriots selected him.

Both players have had completely different rookie seasons so far. After Cam Newton was cut at the end of the preseason, Mac Jones became the Patriots’ starting quarterback and has started every game this season. Jones, who was viewed as the more “pro ready” quarterback between the two by most draft experts, has led the Patriots to a 4-4 record, throwing for 1,997 yards, nine touchdowns, and six interceptions so far.


Lance, who was viewed as more of a raw prospect during the draft process, began the season on the bench for the 49ers behind Jimmy Garoppolo. The 49ers have used Lance though in games Garoppolo’s started, particularly for red zone plays.

Lance did get the start for the 49ers in Week 5 against the Cardinals, filling in for an injured Garoppolo. He threw for 192 yards with an interception and rushed for 89 yards in the loss. A week prior, he played in the second half of the 49ers’ loss to the Seahawks. He threw for 157 yards and rushed for 41 yards in that game.


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