Why Trey Lance is Better for the 49ers than Justin Fields or Mac Jones

Lance has shown the ability to think for himself on the field at a high level, unlike most college quarterbacks.
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I would not advise the 49ers to draft a quarterback with the No. 3 pick in the upcoming draft. But if they do take a quarterback, they'll most likely choose between three imperfect ones: Mac Jones, Justin Fields and Trey Lance.

Jones is the pocket quarterback with exceptional accuracy, anticipation and decision-making, but he's an non-athlete. Not big, not fast, not strong-armed. He looks like C.J. Beathard. But he can execute the 49ers offense if everything goes according to plan.

Fields is the dual-threat quarterback with exceptional athleticism and accuracy -- a rare combination -- but he's not a good decision maker. He hesitates in the pocket, holds the ball the too long and turns the ball over when he's under pressure. But he can execute the 49ers offense if everything goes according to plan.

Lance is the dual-threat quarterback with exceptional athleticism and decision-making -- he called the protections and route combinations at the line of scrimmage when he was 19, and never committed a turnover in college. But he's inaccurate. So can he execute the 49ers offense even if everything goes according to plan, or will he miss wide-open receivers?

It seems quarterbacks can improve their accuracy with hard work and attention to detail -- see Josh Allen. Which means Lance might improve, while the other two quarterbacks might not. Because you can't turn an adult into a good athlete or a good decision-maker if they're not those things already.

And while Lance played only one season of college football, he played in a pro-style offense. So his one year of experience might be more valuable than Fields' two years of experience at Ohio State, which does not run a pro-style offense, and never has produced a good NFL quarterback.

Lance might actually be more pro-ready than Fields. Lance has shown the ability to think for himself on the field at a high level, unlike most college quarterbacks. And if he improves his accuracy, he'll be able to execute the 49ers offense when everything goes according to plan, AND make smart, athletic plays when things break down.

Don't be surprised if the 49ers shock everyone and take Lance.