It's only been a handful of practices, but Trey Lance has popped early on in his 49ers tenure. The No. 3 overall pick has made a number of eye-opening throws against the second unit, and has even gotten some run with the first team as Kyle Shanahan looks to install some running plays for the North Dakota State product.
While there is no quarterback competition in Santa Clara at the moment, 49ers offensive coordinator Mike McDaniel has liked what he's seen from the rookie when commanding the offense.
"There's an element of confidence that is unique," McDaniel said. "I wouldn't say he's loud or boisterous. He has a confident swag that I think really appeals to players. He knows the pressure that's on him, like any other player. So, he's really comfortable in his own skin, I would say, and he's getting to the point where he can correct other players, which from a coach's perspective, is all you're looking for.
“You want a coach on the field. The person that a receiver is going to listen to, much more than a coach, is the guy that's throwing him the ball. So he's been very good with that, and I think a lot of the guys respond to that.”
49ers coaches and teammates have universally praised Lance, who is destined to take the reins from Jimmy Garoppolo when Shanahan deems he is ready.
Left tackle Trent Williams was effusive in his praise of Lance in an interview with KNBR on Thursday, while noting that the 2021 49ers still are Garoppolo's team.
“Trey is an outstanding talent. It’s hard to deny that," Williams said. "You see him throw the ball and you seem him run the ball and you know that’s a generational talent. We’re lucky to have QB1 and QB2 be extremely talented, and they both have what it takes to get us where we need to go.
“Trey has just turned 21. I don’t think it would be a good thing for anybody if someone tries to rush him. We have time to let him develop and personally I think that’s what’s best. Trey has been developing at a very high speed, but for right now Jimmy is in control, and I think everybody is okay with that.”
While Lance has wowed early on, most members of the 49ers have been quick to pump the brakes on the hype train and head off any potential quarterback controversy.
“I don’t really look at it like that,” Shanahan said when asked about Lance's first-team reps meaning there soon would be a QB competition. “I thought he had a decent day. I thought he did good with his reps — not perfect. We’re just evaluating everybody right now.”
It's still early on, but so far Lance has been exactly what the 49ers hoped he would be.