Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Steve Young: ‘Awesomely raw’ Trey Lance capable of going a long way with 49ers

Jun 4, 2022 at 7:35 AM--

Steve Young recently chatted with Trey Lance during a San Francisco 49ers practice. Young is a Hall of Fame quarterback who played 15 seasons in the NFL, a two-time league MVP, three-time first-team All-Pro, seven-time Pro Bowl selection, and led the 49ers to a Super Bowl championship. Lance is entering his second NFL season and hopes to prove himself worthy of belonging to the great 49ers lineage of quarterbacks that came before him, including Young.

According to Cam Inman of Bay Area News Group, that conversation between Young and Lance included advice, which general manager John Lynch said the 22-year-old quarterback "welcomed with open arms."

San Francisco believes enough in Lance that it sacrificed a significant chunk of future draft capital to move up to the No. 3 overall spot in last year's draft to select him. Lance was Jimmy Garoppolo's backup last year, starting only two games and throwing just 71 passes all season as a rookie.

Most expect Lance to be the 49ers' starter in 2022.

"We're all sitting back and waiting," Lynch said at this week's "Dwight Clark Legacy Series" event via Inman. "We think we have a real good idea of what we have in Trey, but everything else is just talk."

Young does not doubt that Lance is capable of proving his skeptics—of which there are many—wrong. Talk is nice, but Lance needs to prove himself on the field. The young quarterback has been doubted, mainly because the national media focused on his inability to get onto the field last year. What they fail to do is look at the bigger picture.

Entering the draft, most viewed Lance as the quarterback with the highest ceiling. However, he lacked experience, even at the college level. He needed time to develop. The 49ers, who had a veteran starter in Garoppolo and a playoff-caliber roster, could afford that time.

"He understands 'The 49er Way,'" Lynch added of Lance. "I can't wait for him to show that to most of all his teammates—and I guess to the world."

Young believes Lance has all the potential to become the quarterback head coach Kyle Shanahan envisions. The talent, at least the mental aspect of it, is there. Now, the rest just needs to come together.

"Actually, he's processing as well as anybody," Young said. "He can understand what's happening. He can figure out who [is open]. And that's a real talent. That's not easy. That's not just given. There's a real skill there. So I have 100 percent confidence that Trey will figure out where to throw it.

"The challenge for Trey is, once he knows, then how to deliver it. That's another great talent that you have to have and develop. So for me, it's the accuracy that comes with [things] as he shows his processing power. I think his body will respond, and he'll find the open guys and figure it out. And then it gives you a confidence to deliver it.

"So more than anything, it's delivering the ball to the open guy over and over and over again, and getting that confidence, because that's the spot he needs to work on. This is more of a throwing thing than it is a mind thing. Some guys have mind things. Some guys have both. But Trey has a really sharp processing mind, and I think that's going to take him a long way."

49ers fans will get to watch that growth every week. There will likely be bumps along the road, which is expected of any young quarterback finding his NFL footing. The difference between Lance and other young quarterbacks selected at the top of the draft is that the 49ers passer has a solid supporting cast. If he stumbles along the way, the team can carry him.

"It's going to be super exciting," Young continued. "And I said earlier, he's awesomely raw, and we're going to watch the development. There's not going to be part of his development as a player that happens somewhere else. At North Dakota State, it happened a little bit, but it's all going to happen as a Forty-Niner. A lot of guys have it in college a lot more. They play a lot more, develop in other places. We're going to get to watch it all. So, we're all invested and are in it for the long haul."

The 49ers conclude organized team activities during the upcoming week. A three-day mandatory minicamp will follow that, and then training camp at the end of July.

San Francisco kicks off its regular season on September 11 against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field.

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