Kyle Shanahan: 49ers were ‘locked in’ on Trey Lance and Mac Jones leading to 2021 draft

Kyle Shanahan: 49ers were 'locked in' on Trey Lance and Mac Jones leading to 2021 draft

Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan joined the I Am Athlete podcast and was asked about the process leading to the team selecting quarterback Trey Lance with the No. 3 overall draft pick last year. There was a lot of speculation surrounding who the 49ers were looking to draft after trading up from the No. 12 spots. Many felt Shanahan had targeted quarterback Mac Jones, while many fans scoffed at the idea.

Jones was a target—along with Lance.

“We did the trade so early that it made me feel good about it because I knew before we did it how I felt about the quarterbacks,” Shanahan said, “and how good we would be to take [one] at 12. There were two that I really wanted.”

Shanahan was asked to name the second quarterback.

“Mac,” the 49ers coach responded. “Yeah, Mac Jones and Trey. Those were the two guys that we were locked in on from the beginning, and if we never moved up to [No. 3], we would have never had the chance to learn more about Trey. That was the hardest thing. You’ve got to be so sneaky and stuff when you’re back there because you don’t want people hopping in front of you, and I had a very strong feeling people were going to hop in front of us.

“So to go through that process to get to know both of them—Trey was tough because he didn’t play the year of football before, and it was a small school. So we got to learn so much about them once we knew we were there because we didn’t have to hide stuff, and that made me a lot more confident in it.”

Shanahan added that he can’t pinpoint when the decision shifted to Lance, but the coach obviously got to the point where he felt good about picking him over Jones.

“Mac had so much good stuff on tape, the way he played,” Shanahan said. “And Trey, I loved what he put on tape. It was a year of football, so it wasn’t totally enough, and especially the division. But the more you dive into it, the more I got to know the guy, the more I got to find out some stuff about him, the more I believed in what I didn’t see and what I believe we will see.”

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