D. Ross Cameron-USA TODAY Sports

D. Ross Cameron-USA TODAY Sports

‘Look for Trey Lance’: Garafolo expects to see the 49ers rookie play in 2021

Jun 22, 2021 at 7:34 AM--

NFL Media analytics expert Cynthia Frelund believes the San Francisco 49ers have the best chance to challenge the defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2021. She loves the fire the team, specifically head coach Kyle Shanahan, must have to avenge the loss in Super Bowl LIV. San Francisco is getting healthier, too, after enduring an injury-plagued six-win campaign in 2020.

RELATED Frelund picks 49ers as the best team to challenge Buccaneers in 2021

Much of the 49ers' success might depend on quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. He owns a 24-9 record as a starter (including the playoffs) but has also missed 23 games over the past three seasons. That includes being sidelined for 10 games in 2020.

The 49ers bolstered their quarterback room by trading up this offseason to draft Trey Lance at No. 3 overall. While Frelund is high on San Francisco as a whole, she also understands there are some questions about the quarterback position. Garoppolo is the starter for Week 1 and possibly the entire 2021 season. However, Lance is the future.

Mike Garafolo believes we may see Lance take the field sooner rather than later, and it doesn't sound like he's talking about Shanahan throwing the rookie in on some plays here and there.

"I do believe, at some point, we're going to see Trey Lance this upcoming season because everything that I've heard in the spring is how impressive he's been," Garafolo said. "Now, if they're competing, we're assuming that means Jimmy Garoppolo is playing well. But just look for Trey Lance."

From the sound of his comments, Garafolo doesn't believe San Francisco will necessarily suffer from having the talented but inexperienced rookie under center. The 49ers are considered a contender in the NFC with Garoppolo. Many wonder how big the drop-off would be if the quarterback's successor takes over.

"I know we talked about he needs some time to sit and watch," Garafolo added, "and the thought is maybe he'd have a redshirt season. I'm not so sure, and I'm not so sure that doesn't mean that they can't compete with Trey Lance."

Lance appeared in just one game for North Dakota State last season. That was no fault of his own. The Bison's season was postponed due to the pandemic. A year earlier, Lance threw for 2,786 yards while rushing for an impressive 1,100 yards and accounting for 42 touchdowns during his sophomore season without throwing a single interception in his 287 pass attempts.

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