49ers: Ex-NFL GM Has Telling Comments on Trey Lance’s Outlook

Trey Lance

Getty Trey Lance warms up while head coach Kyle Shanahan stands in the background before the 49ers' Week 3 home game versus the Packers.

Randy Mueller may no longer hold a key position in an NFL office. Plus his days of making personnel decisions as a general manager may be gone, but that doesn’t mean he’s stopped evaluating talent.

And that includes one key position on the San Francisco 49ers following a blockbuster move they made one year ago: Trading up to draft Trey Lance.

Mueller got the chance to reevaluate that move, plus re-examine the 2021 NFL Draft class of quarterbacks in a Facebook live appearance with Heavy’s Brian Mazique.

Mueller’s comments are certainly telling in how he views the incoming starter for the 49ers.

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How Does Mueller Feel About Lance?

Mueller let it be known that if he were to redraft the 2021 class of signal-callers, the one who would be at the bottom of the five? Lance.

He believes that if the draft were to be redone, it would be Mac Jones of the New England Patriots who goes in front of the North Dakota State star.

“If I was going to make a case for one of those guys to drop below Mac if we were re-drafting, it would probably be Trey Lance,” Mueller said. “Because I thought Trey Lance was the furthest away.”

Why does Mueller believe Lance would be placed at the bottom of the quarterback pecking order?

“For me, he was a year away from being a year away…if that makes any sense,” Mueller said. “He just hadn’t done it, hadn’t had the exposure, hadn’t had the college throws, I felt like he was going from the dock of the bay to the auto barn in going to San Francisco. And I know they traded a lot to go up and get him, but I still see a guy that, a majority of a time, is still a project.”

Mueller on Why he Favors Jones

In tracing back to the pre-draft process, Mueller noticed the number of draft experts and analyst who believed that Jones was the most prepared after coming out of Alabama.

“All of the experts said that Mac would be the quickest to play,” Mueller said. “I don’t think that changes now.”

Mueller dove into why he thought Jones was best prepared for the league. It had nothing to do with his arm or accuracy, but as the former general manager pointed out, it was the former Crimson Tide quarterback’s ability to “process” information on the field.

“I think the big thing with Mac is, he does it between his ears,” Mueller said. “We know he’s a processor, he’s an instinctive guy, he can figure things out but I think the ceiling comes in his physical talent. He’s not a big guy, he’s not really an athletic guy, the arm is slightly above average as is the accuracy. So there’s some ceiling there. And it’s a matter of can what is between his ears take him to the next level? Not necessarily any physical things that are going to take him to the next level. It’s really his instincts, his intangibles, those kind of things.”

Again, if Mueller had to choose between Jones and Lance, he would pivot to the one who ended up taking the signal caller reins in Foxboro.

“Mac was never a project. So if you were asking me to redraft them, I would probably have Lance at the bottom of those five just because of the amount of learning curve that he has to experience,” Mueller said.

Mueller isn’t the only one who lists a different quarterback over Lance for the 49ers. Matt Ryan of the Atlanta Falcons has been the subject of trade rumors. Ryan, who played for 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan when he was the offensive coordinator before taking over the head coaching job with the ‘Niners, was listed as a possible trade option for S.F. by former NFL lineman turned Sirius XM radio host Geoff Schwartz.

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