49ers' Lance draft pick gets mostly high grades from experts

/ by Ali Thanawalla
Presented By Big O Tires
Roger Goodell and Trey Lance

When the 49ers traded up from No. 12 to No. 3 in the 2021 NFL Draft last month, the consensus was that they had to nail the pick.

Coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch couldn't miss on the selection after also giving up their first-round draft picks in 2022 and 2023 to make the move up the draft board.

After weeks of speculation about which quarterback they would select, Shanahan and Lynch settled on North Dakota State's Trey Lance, much to the delight of 49ers fans.

Not only did the pick satisfy The Faithful, but most experts and pundits loved the Lance pick for the 49ers.

Now, no one knows if Lance will pan out. He played just 17 FCS games in college. But the 20-year-old arguably has the most potential of any of the five quarterbacks taken in the first round Thursday.

It will be a few years before we can realistically grade Lance as a player, but in the here and now, the 49ers are getting mostly solid marks for picking Lance over Alabama's Mac Jones and Ohio State's Justin Fields.

NBC Sports Bay Area's Josh Schrock: A-minus -- "Lance has arguably the highest ceiling of any QB in the class if he puts it all together. If we have learned anything in the past few years with Josh Allen and Justin Herbert, it's that you bet on the guys with all the tools. Put them in the right situation and good things will follow."


CBS Sports' Pete Prisco: C-minus -- "I just don't see trading up with two first-round picks as the price to get a guy who is raw and needs time. Lance has skills, but he will need time."

Sporting News' Vinnie Iyer: A -- "Lance needs some development to hone his skills, but he gets into a great passer-friendly system and inherits a loaded supporting cast to boost him under Kyle Shanahan. Look for Lance to start sooner rather than later and take a top offense to an unprecedented level."

USA Today's Luke Easterling: B-plus -- "He’s still a work in progress, but considering how good he already is, that’s good news for the 49ers. He can sit behind Jimmy Garoppolo until he’s ready, and he might have the highest ceiling of any quarterback in this class, including Trevor Lawrence."

The Athletic's Sheil Kapadia: B-plus -- "Lance has smarts and athleticism and offers a huge upside. The 49ers’ goal now immediately becomes to maximize their chances of competing for a Super Bowl while Lance is on a rookie contract."

Sports Illustrated's Grant Cohn: A -- "Of those three, Lance was the only choice for the 49ers. He's the youngest quarterback, the biggest quarterback, the most athletic quarterback, the strongest-armed quarterback and the smartest quarterback the 49ers could have picked. He has a legitimate chance to become great one day."

RELATED: Why 49ers picked Lance as franchise QB

The Ringer's Danny Kelly: B -- "Lance makes a ton of sense for San Francisco: He’s a big, strong-armed signal-caller who cut his teeth at North Dakota State in a run-oriented, play-action-heavy offense that resembles Kyle Shanahan’s scheme. Lance has all the tools, and plenty of football IQ, but he may need some time to refine his skills."