The San Francisco 49ers have been the talk of the 2021 NFL Draft leading up to them selecting No. 3 overall Thursday evening in Cleveland. That all came to a culmination after San Francisco selected former North Dakota State quarterback Trey Lance with the pick.
Lance was seen as one of the two betting favorites to land in San Francisco with Mac Jones from Alabama. Moving up from the 12th selection to No. 3 overall, it was always a foregone conclusion that the 49ers were going to look for a quarterback to eventually unseat Jimmy Garoppolo.
In Lance, San Francisco nabs a high-ceiling dual-threat quarterback who dominated lesser competition in 2019 before playing in just one game this past season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 6-foot-4, 224-pound signal caller is seen as a complete package. In fact, he put up 42 total touchdowns against zero interceptions for North Dakota State in 2019. You don’t just happen into those numbers, regardless of the level of competition.
“Lance is the complete physical package at the quarterback position, possessing a tremendous build, athleticism and arm strength. He’s an RPO quarterback with outstanding size and the potential to make all the throws in or out of the pocket,” NFL Draft guru Tony Pauline noted in his scouting report. “He needs to fine-tune his passing skills, and more than anything else, needs more experience and playing time at a high level of competition.”
It’s going to be an interesting dynamic to look at with the San Francisco 49ers this coming season. Despite his incredibly high ceiling, Lance can’t be seen as a Day 1 starter. This means Garoppolo will likely be under center Week 1. That dynamic would have changed if Mac Jones were the pick.
Coming off an injury-plagued six-win 2020 season, the San Francisco 49ers view themselves as a Super Bowl contender. That’s why it was so surprising to see head coach Kyle Shanahan and Co. trade up from 12 to three for an unproven signal caller. Said move cost two future first-round picks and change.
At the very least, these 49ers now appear to have a future in place at quarterback with Trey Lance.