The possibilities are endless.
But that’s for another day.
The 49ers’ selection of North Dakota State quarterback Trey Lance with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft presents a myriad of ways he can be deployed as a passer and runner.
Offensive coordinator Mike McDaniel, however, emphasizes patience.
“You try not to get too far ahead of yourself,” McDaniel said. “Of course, it tempts your mind a little bit, but really you have to get back to the basics. And with a guy like Trey, you’re just teaching him the offense and coaching him on fundamentals and seeing where he can get — preparing him to compete in training camp.”
Jimmy Garoppolo remains, for now, as the 49ers' No. 1 quarterback. But Lance will be given every opportunity to rise up the team's depth chart. He possesses some unique physical dual-threat abilities that the 49ers envision will eventually lead to him becoming the team's long-term starter.
Upon Lance’s arrival for the 49ers’ rookie camp and offseason program, the No. 1 priority was to teach him the framework of the offense.
He has already gone through all the installation meetings and taken a large number of the team’s on-field repetitions during seven practices.
Lance started 16 college games in 2019 but saw action in just one game during the fall of 2020. Rust aside, the 49ers’ first exposure to Lance was a positive experience for everyone involved, McDaniel said.
“We’re all very excited and fired up about where Trey is in terms of being coachable, wanting to be coached, his expectation for himself,” McDaniel said.
The pre-draft process led the 49ers to select Lance over Ohio State's Justin Fields and Alabama's Mac Jones, who also received serious consideration for the team’s top draft pick.
All the 49ers’ intelligence has been supported in what they have already witnessed from Lance since he arrived in Santa Clara.
“Having Trey in-house is exciting because he is who we thought he was in terms of the diligent worker,” McDaniel said. “The guy is very smart, and he wants to do well but he takes coaching.”
McDaniel said the ability to handle constructive criticism and make the adjustments is an undervalued aspect that can prove beneficial for players to carve out long, successful careers.
“(He’s) a guy who is willing to hear constructive criticism, hear that and move forward instead of getting their feelings hurt,” McDaniel said. “We’re not in the business of feelings. We’re in the business of end results. We’re here to coach you for the betterment of all of our existences.”