- The odds now favor the San Francisco 49ers selecting North Dakota State quarterback Trey Lance with the third pick of Thursday’s NFL Draft
- Alabama quarterback Mac Jones had long been the favorite to go to the 49ers
- A look at the odds for the No. 3 selection along with analysis can be found below
With the start of the NFL Draft on Thursday night just a few hours away, Trey Lance has surpassed Mac Jones as the favorite to be taken by the San Francisco 49ers with the third pick of the draft.
Jones was the favorite as recently as Wednesday night to go 3rd overall in the NFL Draft odds with the Alabama quarterback listed at -278. Lance, the North Dakota State, QB, was second at +210, and Ohio State signal caller Justin Fields was third with +675 odds.
However, things have reversed on draft day.
Odds to Be 3rd Overall Pick in 2021 NFL Draft
|Trey Lance (North Dakota State)||-200|
|Mac Jones (Alabama)||+160|
|Justin Fields (Ohio State)||+850|
|Kyle Pitts (Florida)||+5000|
|Zach Wilson (BYU)||+9500|
|Penei Sewell (Oregon)||+1400|
Odds as of April 29th at FanDuel
Why is Lance Now Favored?
There is no definitive answer as to why the odds have shifted in favor of the 49ers drafting Lance. However, one reason might be a tweet from the NFL Network’s Michael Silver on Thursday.
There's a lot of Trey Lance/Niners noise out there in NFL GM/coach circles this morning… for what it's worth. Eight hours or so till we all find out…
— Michael Silver (@MikeSilver) April 29, 2021
Silver is based in San Francisco and plugged into the 49ers. Thus, any report he has on their plans is bound to carry weight, particularly since general manager John Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan have been tightlipped leading up to the draft.
Getting any news on the 49ers have been difficult, especially since they traded with the Miami Dolphins to move up to No. 3.
Shanahan has said Jimmy Garoppolo would still be the starting quarterback to begin the 2021 season. Garoppolo led the 49ers to the Super Bowl in the 2019 season and San Francisco has won their fair share of games wit him.
Active Quarterbacks with a 70% Winning Percentage Since 2017
• Tom Brady
• Patrick Mahomes
• Lamar Jackson
• Jimmy Garoppolo
*Minimum 30 Starts pic.twitter.com/pazocAK6t4
— NFLonCBS (@NFLonCBS) April 27, 2021
However, Shanahan also said that the 49ers wanted to draft a starting-caliber quarterback because of Garoppolo’s injury history. Garoppolo sustained a season-ending knee injury in Week 3 in 2018 then was limited to six games last year because of an ankle injury.
Is Jimmy G Long for SF?
Yet there are questions whether Garoppolo will be with the 49ers when training camp opens in July.
Plenty of rumors swirled Wednesday that the 49ers had a deal in place to trade Garoppolo back to the New England Patriots. San Francisco acquired him from the Patriots in 2017. Thus, New England coach Bill Belichick is quite familiar with Garoppolo.
It would also make sense for the Patriots to bolster the quarterback position after they went 7-9 last season with Cam Newton as the starter in the first year of the post-Tom Brady era.
Newton, of course, was a draft darling once upon a time. Or 10 years ago, to be exact.
Here is Mel Kiper Jr. breaking down the selection of Cam Newton in the 2011 NFL Draft: pic.twitter.com/qF9pUn2w01
— Marcus Mosher (@Marcus_Mosher) April 27, 2021
The Patriots missed the playoffs for the first time since 2008 and had their streak of 20 straight winning seasons ended.
However, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Thursday that the 49ers are unlikely to trade Jimmy G.
Multiple teams are expected to contact the 49ers today to inquire about the availability of QB Jimmy Garoppolo, per sources. But as of early this morning, the chances of him being traded are, in the words of one source, “remote.” Let’s see if anything changes in next 72 hours.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 29, 2021
Is that fact or fiction? We’re likely to find out sooner than later.
Lance Makes Sense if Jimmy G Stays
Lance’s improving odds seems to dovetail with Schefter’s report.
Lance is considered to have more upside than Jones or Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields. However, Lance also has less polish after playing the equivalent of less than two full seasons at the FCS level.
— Trey Lance (@treylance09) April 26, 2021
If the 49ers were indeed to trade Garappolo, it would seem a stretch to think Lance would be ready to a starting NFL quarterback in Week 1.
Conversely, Jones and Fields have shined at the very highest level of college football. They would theoretically be more prepared to step into the lineup as rookies.
The biggest reason why Jones had long been the favorite to be the 49ers’ pick was because he played in more of a pro-style offense at Alabama.
Who’s going to draft Mac Jones? 😤 pic.twitter.com/tACwQGkDYR
— Alabama Diehards (@AlabamaDieHards) April 29, 2021
Jones is also a dropback passer, which fits the quarterback model Shanahan has used with the 49ers with Garoppolo as well as Matt Ryan when Shanahan was the Atlanta Falcons’ offensive coordinator.
We’ll find out soon enough if the 49ers’ thinking has shifted from Jones to Lance at the 11th hour.
Jones still seems like the logical fit in Shanahan’s offense despite Lance having a higher ceiling. With Jones’ odds up to +160, he looks like a good value bet.
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