As NFL.com framed it, "From North Dakota State, the San Francisco 49ers' franchise quarterback of the future has emerged. ..." Kyle Shanahan and the 49ers foreshadowed their general intentions in March by orchestrating a trade for the third overall selection, and their specific plan was quickly revealed with the selection of Trey Lance. Just how quickly Lance replaces incumbent starter Jimmy Garoppolo obviously remains to be seen, but San Francisco has its QB1 of the future. Big and physical, Lance showcases a strong pocket presence, the ability to shake off defenders, the versatility to play under center and out of the shotgun, and solid velocity on his ball. Any time a high-profile player emerges from an FCS program, questions abound regarding the level of competition he faced, but Lance has the tools and intangibles. During his one full season starting for the Bison, Lance threw for 2,786 yards, completed 66.9% of his passes and tossed 28 touchdowns in 16 games with no interceptions.
Lance's decision-making and accuracy are plusses, but still, he could use some time to develop at the NFL level. As such, the 49ers maintain they'd love for Garoppolo to lead the team successfully as Lance learns behind him, but it also seems like they'll be just fine if circumstances dictate advancing that timetable.
2021 Bottom Line
As noted above, the 49ers traded up to land Lance knowing exactly what they have in Garoppolo, who will turn 30 this season. The 49ers are built to win, but that doesn't necessarily mean it has to be with the veteran signal caller. If the coaching staff turns to Lance -- and we expect that to be the case, don't expect them to turn back.