Most 49ers fans got their wish last week when the team didn't select Mac Jones with the No. 3 overall draft pick, instead selecting North Dakota State product Trey Lance. Kyle Shanahan and the rest of the organization have been adamant that there is no pressure for Lance to play right away, but things evolve rapidly in today's NFL.
Lance is a unique quarterback coming out of the college ranks, a prospect that ran a pro-style offense featuring a number of under-center concepts, yet also ran for over 1,000 yards in his lone full season as a starter. ESPN's Dan Graziano explains why Lance is the most intriguing rookie to him.
"The whole time we were leading up to the draft, some of the people I was talking to were having trouble embracing the concept of Mac Jones would be the pick, was the idea that Kyle Shanahan is looking at a guy that maybe can elevate the offense beyond where it's been, and that's why Trey Lance ended up being the pick," Graziano said on Get Up. "I'm fascinated, and a lot of people I talk to are fascinated to see what kind of plans Kyle Shanahan, the great play designer, the great play caller has for this quarterback who is unlike any he's really ever had before. I think once Trey Lance plays, could be a lot of fun for the 49ers."
Shanahan told Rich Eisen earlier this week that he doesn't believe there is a quarterback competition between Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo as of now, because the rookie isn't ready compared to the 49ers' incumbent.
"Jimmy is definitely our starter right now, and right now there isn't a competition because I don't believe Trey would be in a position to compete," Shanahan told Rich Eisen on Peacock. "Jimmy is too good of a player, he's got too good of a grasp of our offense, he'll start out OTAs running like he's done before and he'll be the starting quarterback."
ESPN's Todd McShay cited history Thursday for why he believes Lance will start more games than Garoppolo in 2021, despite all the public messaging to the contrary.
"I don't care about the message, I care about reality. And yes, I understand, Trey Lance 17 starts, FCS, only one game this past season. When you study the tape, he processes as fast as Mac Jones from Alabama or any other quarterback in this entire class," McShay said Thursday on NFL Live. "Being real, last 13 years there's been 39 quarterbacks drafted in the first round, only three of them did not start a game. So history tells us its a longshot that Lance is not going to start."
"First of all, I think they're going to try and work him in regardless. Second of all, there's a real good chance Jimmy G gets injured. Third of all, you don't trade all the way up, and even if it was for Mac Jones, and adjust your mindset because Trey Lance blew you away, and then not play him this upcoming season. I think Trey Lance is going to start more games than any other quarterback for San Fran."
Lance likely already is diving into the 49ers' playbook and studying Shanahan's schemes. We're four months from the 2021 regular season, and we'll find out as the opener draws closer just how close Lance has come to earning the starting job.