Trey Lance faces the biggest challenge of any of the quarterbacks selected Thursday in the first round of the NFL Draft.
He comes to the 49ers as the No. 3 overall pick in the draft after playing just one game in the past 15 1/2 months. And he was playing at a lower level of college football, at that.
It might be that Lance needs to lean on Jimmy Garoppolo as he makes the transition to the NFL as a rookie.
Lance got only a brief slice of what life is like in Kyle Shanahan’s offense while taking part in multiple Zoom sessions with the 49ers.
Those video conferences were wide-ranging, from watching game film with coaches to talking about his upbringing and his family in Marshall, Minn.
But Lance paid his first visit Friday to 49ers headquarters in Santa Clara, where his No. 5 jersey was stitched. He knows he got a small sample of the voluminous Shanahan’s offensive menu.
“It’ll be a lot to learn, for sure. Without a doubt,” Lance told NBC Sports Bay Area. “There’s no way I could come in and say I have any idea what’s going on right now. I’m an outsider. But now I’m super-excited about having that opportunity to learn from the guys in the room, especially Jimmy. And learn from our coaching staff.”
Garoppolo experienced this dynamic from the other side upon entering the NFL as a second-round draft pick of the New England Patriots in 2014. Garoppolo spent 3 1/2 seasons behind Tom Brady.
Lance said he is looking forward to working with Garoppolo and experiencing a relationship in which both men push each other to get better.
There is no pressure on Lance to step in and make an immediate impact for the 49ers, so he can learn the 49ers’ system, NFL defenses and take notes on the example Garoppolo sets.
The 49ers felt as if they needed Lance’s immense skills as part of their organization for the long-term health of the team.
And Lance may very well need Garoppolo’s influence in Year 1 to assist him on his NFL journey.