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NFL and San Francisco 49ers GOAT heaps praise on Trey Lance

Andrew Buller-Russ

There were a total of five quarterbacks selected in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft. All of them, except one, had at least 270 passing attempts as a rookie, giving the league a fair chance to assess the young QBs. But we haven’t seen much of Trey Lance yet, who attempted just 61 passes, appearing in a total of six games.

It’s not because the San Francisco 49ers weren’t sold on Lance’s abilities. They felt they had a playoff roster with Jimmy Garoppolo at the helm, and after reaching the NFC Championship game, it’s hard to argue with the results.

But that won’t be the case ahead of the 2022 season, when Kyle Shanahan and Co. are fully expected to hand the keys to the offense to Lance, their top pick from a year ago.

Is Trey Lance ready? Jerry Rice thinks so

NFL: NFC Championship-Green Bay Packers at San Francisco 49ers
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Some might question whether Lance, at the age of 22, is ready to take over the 49ers and still lead them to the playoffs. After all, he came into the NFL as an extremely raw prospect, playing Division I football with the North Dakota State Bison. His transition to the speed of the NFL is a bit different than most prospects who come from the most pro-ready situations in college.

Then again, if there’s one thing that Lance doesn’t lack, it’s speed. Still, there’s several other aspects, such as the speed of other players, specifically defenders who have the ability to close passing windows just as quickly as they open up. That mental development could take much longer.

But we just don’t know yet. You would be insane to judge a quarterback after two starts in the NFL, especially when they come as highly-touted as Lance.

Instead, like the 49ers, everyone wants to see what Lance can do with a full season of starts.

But former 49ers legend, and arguably the greatest wide receiver of all-time, Jerry Rice, thinks the kid is ready right now.

“Trey Lance, I think he’s ready to go. And I think he’s incredible because he has that one aspect that Jimmy doesn’t have, and that’s the threat of running with the ball and stuff like that. So his mobility, his strong arm, and this guy, he’s before his time.”

Jerry Rice on Trey Lance

There’s no telling just what Lance can do until he gets out there and shows it. As we’ve seen in the past, some players just turn it on when the lights are on, and Lance just might be that type of talent.

Garoppolo may be the more conservative of the two, but Lance has a much higher ceiling, and certainly has the ability to play a much more exciting brand of football. But no one will care if it doesn’t lead to wins. We’ll see what happens later this fall, but for now, Jerry Rice is on board, which should have several other Niner fans excited as well.

Related: Trey Lance set up for success as the face of the San Francisco 49ers