D. Ross Cameron-USA TODAY Sports

D. Ross Cameron-USA TODAY Sports

Why analyst doubts 49ers QB Trey Lance’s chances for Offensive Rookie of the Year

Jul 26, 2021 at 9:12 AM--

Right now, DraftKings has San Francisco 49ers quarterback Trey Lance tied with Pittsburgh Steelers running back Najee Harris for the third-best odds (+800) to win NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year honors during the upcoming season. Only Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence (+300) and Atlanta Falcons tight end Kyle Pitts (+750) own better odds.

While NFL Media analyst Lance Zierlein is high on the No. 3 overall pick, he isn't buying into the hype when it comes to the quarterback's chances to be named the NFL's best rookie. Any 49ers fans who have been listening to what the team has said this offseason will certainly understand his reasoning.

Yes, Lance was a high draft pick. However, he is in a unique situation. San Francisco drafted Lance for the future but intends to enter the regular season with Jimmy Garoppolo as its starting quarterback, giving Lance the time he needs to sit and learn from the veteran.

At some point, Lance will take over. There is no pressure to get him onto the field right away, though. Coaches have confidence in Garoppolo and the team, at least on paper, appears to own a championship-caliber roster. Lance may not play much — if at all — this season.

Zierlein recently ranked the top candidates for NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, with Lawrence coming in at No. 1 and Harris at No. 2. Lance is listed at No. 8.

"Some like Lance's chances here much more than I do," Zierlein explained. "The reason for the disparity might be that I see this playing out in a similar fashion to Patrick Mahomes' rookie season with the Chiefs, when he started only one game."

While Garoppolo has missed 23 games over the past three seasons, sandwiched between two injury-plagued campaigns was an impressive 2019 season that ended with San Francisco falling just short of a championship. The 49ers are hoping to rekindle some of that season's magic and put last season's injury-plagued disappointment behind them.

"The 49ers nearly won a Super Bowl with Jimmy Garoppolo at the helm of Kyle Shanahan's offense just 17 months ago," Zierlein continued, "so it shouldn't surprise anyone if San Francisco plays the veteran and allows Lance to gain much-needed seasoning from the sideline. However, any talented rookie quarterback under the direction of Shanahan has a shot to win this award."

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