Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports


Draft grade roundup: 49ers get (mostly) high marks for selection of Trey Lance

Apr 29, 2021 at 9:21 PM--


What do the pundits think of the 49ers' decision to use the third overall pick on North Dakota State quarterback Trey Lance?

Not everyone was a huge fan of the move, but for the most part, the feeling is the 49ers did the right thing.

The 49ers made Lance their selection Thursday night, choosing him over Alabama quarterback Mac Jones and Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields. Online writers mostly applauded the move after weeks of speculation that the pick would be Jones, but they cautioned that the 49ers would have their work cut out for them in trying to develop the raw but talented Lance.

Here's a roundup of grades that were handed out to the 49ers Thursday night by websites that were posting instant draft analysis. Click on a writer's name or site to see their full Round 1 grades.

* Bleacher Report/Brent Sobleski - A. "When San Francisco traded up, many immediately looked toward Alabama's Mac Jones as the likely selection. But Jones never made sense because he would have been a cog in the machine. Lance adds so much more from an athletic perspective," wrote Sobleski. "...Once Lance is ready to take over the offense, the 49ers will feature the most unstoppable unit."

* CBS Sports/Pete Prisco - C-minus. "I just don't see trading up with two first-round picks as the price to get a guy who is raw and needs time," wrote Prisco. "Lance has skills, but he will need time."

* Draft Network/Ryan Fowler - B-plus. "Ignore the inexperience issues," wrote Fowler. "Lance has all the tools to compete and succeed on Sundays. With a bazooka on his shoulder and tree trunks for legs, Lance will become the next unique chess piece in Kyle Shanahan's ever-developing offense."

* Draft Wire/Luke Easterling - B-plus. "Lance is a dynamic talent who can beat opposing defenses with impressive arm talent as well as top-level athleticism. He's still a work in progress, but considering how good he already is, that's good news for the 49ers. He can sit behind Jimmy Garoppolo until he's ready, and he might have the highest ceiling of any quarterback in this class, including Trevor Lawrence."

* FOX Sports/Rob Rang - A. "Lance is an ideal schematic fit, joining one of the NFL's most talented teams," wrote Rang. "With a steady veteran in Jimmy Garoppolo already in the fold, the 49ers can be patient and not rush Lance onto the field too soon – taking the same approach Kansas City used with Patrick Mahomes. It might take a year before he is the starter, but Lance is going to be a star."

* NFL.com/Chad Reuter - A. "His 2019 film (North Dakota State played only one game last fall), physical abilities and mental makeup will win the heart of San Francisco," wrote Reuter. "Lance will be able to learn a pro offense quickly while also creating plays outside the pocket when things break down. This was the correct pick, whether Garoppolo stays for 2021 or not."

* Niner Noise/Akshaj Dwivedula - B-plus. "Trey Lance is a pick for the future, and a risky one at that," wrote Dwivedula. "However, his knowledge and his pro-style background will make a transition much smoother, and his physical tools mean the sky's the limit. For a team with a starter in hand but looking for a superstar for the next 20 years, it's a risk worth taking."

* The Ringer/Danny Kelly - B. "Paired with the cost San Francisco paid to move up to no. 3 (the no. 12 pick plus two future firsts and a third), this is a risky bet for the 49ers," wrote Kelly. "Still, despite concerns over his lack of experience and hit-or-miss accuracy in the intermediate and deep zones, I'm bullish on his fit with the 49ers and what he'll do under Shanahan's tutelage."

* SBNation/James Dator - B-minus. "Thank God this team dodged a bullet," wrote Dator. "I truly believe there was equal chance the team could have taken either Lance or Mac Jones, and of those two players the team made the right choice. That said, this is a big, big, big risk. It's not about spending a third overall pick on Lance, it's about spending THREE first round picks on him."

* SI.com/Grant Cohn - A. "Kyle Shanahan sounded genuinely excited to coach Lance during Shanahan's press conference Thursday night," wrote Cohn. "Which is good to hear. Bill Walsh would want to coach a supremely gifted athlete like Lance. Shanahan should want to coach him, too. I applaud the 49ers for making such a bold pick."

* Sporting News/Vinnie Iyer - A. "The 49ers pull off a mild shocker by going with the high-ceiling prospect vs. the high floor of Mac Jones," wrote Iyer. "Lance is also a highly intelligent passer capable of making all the throws and offers a special brand of athleticism Jones can't. Lance needs some development to hone his skills, but he gets into a great passer-friendly system and inherits a loaded supporting cast to boost him under Kyle Shanahan. Look for Lance to start sooner rather than later and take a top offense to an unprecedented level."

* WalterFootball.com/Walter Cherepinsky - A. "I've been in contact with several 49er fans who have been incredibly fearful of their team selecting Mac Jones," wrote Cherepinsky. "They can all now be at ease, as their team made the correct decision. Trey Lance is a much better prospect than Jones. Lance may not be as accurate as Jones in the short passing game, but he has much better arm strength, and he's an incredible athlete. He also possesses high intelligence and character traits."

* Yahoo Sports/Eric Edholm - B. "There has never been a pick quite like it this high up in the draft," wrote Edholm. "Perhaps you can go back to Steve McNair from Alcorn State for a comp. But the 49ers are banking on the tremendous upside of Lance — he of the 318 college pass attempts — over the steadiness of Mac Jones. When will Lance see the field? Another huge mystery."

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