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ESPN’s Bowen believes Trey Lance to the 49ers is a perfect fit

May 10, 2021 at 11:11 AM

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ESPN's Matt Bowen wrote a feature that looks at the rookies from the 2021 draft class who ended up landing with the perfect fit. The writer notes how important scheme fit and coaching are to the development of a young player. Match a prospect with the perfect coach or system for the said prospect, and you have an ideal fit.

The first rookie mentioned among Bowen's 10 listed prospects is Trey Lance, who the San Francisco 49ers selected at No. 3 overall. The Lance-49ers pairing is the writer's favorite among the five first-round quarterbacks.

"Let's focus on the arm talent and processing ability of Lance in Kyle Shanahan's play-action-heavy pass game," Bowen explained. "Back in 2019, when Lance led North Dakota State to an undefeated season and the FCS national title, he averaged 10.6 yards per attempt on play-action throws, with 16 touchdown passes and no interceptions, according to ESPN Stats & Information."

Lance ended up with 2,786 passing yards, 28 total touchdown passes, and no interceptions on all of his throws that season while adding 1,100 rushing yards and 14 touchdown runs on 169 carries.

"The play-action mechanics jump on Lance's college tape, and so does his decision-making," Bowen continued. "In Shanahan's system, Lance can read it out, making layered throws to intermediate windows and attacking vertically on scripted deep-ball shots. Plus, with the physical element he brings to the position, expect Shanahan to scheme Lance on designed rushes, where he averaged 6.8 yards per carry in 2019."

Bowen adds that the recently-turned-21-year-old quarterback has a steep learning curve in his transition to the NFL but loves that it will take place in Santa Clara with Shanahan. Not only will Lance benefit from the 49ers coach's scheme and creative play creation. Thanks to the athletic Lance, Shanahan will be able to do things with his offense that he hasn't been able to do in the past.

Lance was the only quarterback mentioned on Bowen's list. However, the writer mentioned another 49ers rookie among his five value picks who could make an early impact. That would be running back Trey Sermon, one of the team's two third-round selections.

"The 49ers will use multiple backs under Shanahan, but Sermon has the upside of a RB1 given his pro running style in a zone-heavy system," wrote Bowen. "Go to Sermon's tape versus Northwestern and Clemson last season. That's where we saw his ability to find daylight, using his one-cut running style on outside zone schemes, plus the contact balance -- which is a critical factor at the position.

"Sermon broke 24 tackles and averaged 3.64 yards after first contact last season. The 49ers got solid value here for a back who can handle volume in the pros."
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