D. Ross Cameron-USA TODAY Sports

D. Ross Cameron-USA TODAY Sports

Rosenthal: Trey Lance could become 49ers starter sooner than you think

Jul 6, 2021 at 7:34 PM--

Right now, the plan is to have Jimmy Garoppolo be the San Francisco 49ers starting quarterback when the team travels to Detroit to play the Lions on September 12. However, the No. 3 overall draft pick, Trey Lance, sits behind the veteran passer, learning the offense and waiting for his opportunity to take over the reins.

Garoppolo's presence means there is no pressure to throw Lance into action. Instead, the rookie can take his time absorbing head coach Kyle Shanahan's offense and adapting to the speed of the NFL. Assuming Garoppolo doesn't struggle or get injured, maybe we don't see much of Lance at all in 2021, aside from a few plays designed specifically for the athletic 21-year-old.

NFL Network's Gregg Rosenthal thinks we might see Lance sooner rather than later, though. Maybe much sooner.

"It's Trey Lance's job, essentially, to win in camp," Rosenthal told Rich Eisen on the Rich Eisen Show. "They spent this offseason evaluating and teaching. You know how it is. It's go time once you're about three or four days into camp. And if he is as good as they think he is, I think he'll be starting as soon as Week 1 if he is a little more accurate than he was in college.

"The amount of talent on that roster is breathtaking. To me, they are one of the favorites."

On paper, the 49ers roster appears stacked and primed to compete in the NFC. Whenever Lance does hit the field, he may find himself in a good situation with a significant amount of talent around him.

The Los Angeles Rams are currently slightly favored above the 49ers to win the NFC West, per MyBookie. DraftKings currently has the Rams tied with the 49ers for the second-best odds among NFC teams to win the Super Bowl.

"I was kind of surprised when I saw right now the Rams are No. 2 NFC favorites if you're just kind of going by [oddsmakers] and everything," Rosenthal continued. "To me, I don't see the Rams as being particularly better this year. There's a lot of reasons to think they'll decline outside of the quarterback position. And the 49ers and the Seahawks in that division is just so loaded.

"We've seen Kyle Shanahan with a similar type of quarterback in [Robert Griffin III] light up the league as a rookie, and I don't see any reason why he would be afraid to play Trey Lance, as long as he has a good August."

You can listen to the conversation about Lance below. It begins at about the 2:30 mark.

Shanahan said last month that he would not be against starting his rookie quarterback. However, the coach believes in Garoppolo and doesn't feel the veteran will be beat out for the starting job just yet.

"I definitely see it as Jimmy's the starter," Shanahan told The Athletic, per Kirk Larrabee. "But if Trey's ready to compete, I have no problem with it. I don't sit there and say, 'Hey, we're not playing a rookie quarterback. We have to rest him the first year.' I don't really make any decisions like that until I actually have an opinion on it. That'll take to how I see him in camp. If he comes in and he's playing at a high level and we think he gives us the best chance to win, we wouldn't hesitate to do that.

"But like I kind of said before this happened, it'd be really hard for any rookie quarterback. Jimmy is a very good player. He's not just coming in trying to beat out a guy who hasn't done it before. When Jimmy's played, he's played at a very high level."

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