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Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

PFF: 49ers QB Trey Lance one of players under most pressure to perform in Year 2

Rohan Chakravarthi
Jun 18, 2022 at 6:20 PM--

While there are several success stories of rookies flourishing immediately in the NFL, there are certain players, especially quarterbacks, whose learning curves require some more seasoning.

Take Peyton Manning, who threw for 28 interceptions in his rookie year before becoming one of the best quarterbacks of all time, as an example.

Earlier this week, PFF named ten players from the 2021 NFL Draft class that are under the most pressure to perform in Year 2, and unsurprisingly, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Trey Lance was amongst the group.

Lance, who was selected third overall in the 2021 NFL Draft, played just 179 snaps as a rookie, despite the 49ers moving three first-round selections to get him, which is why PFF believes he's under pressure in 2022, although his situation differs from some of the other high selections in the draft.

"Lance is in a slightly different situation than the rest of the quarterbacks that underwhelmed as rookies because he barely saw the field. Jimmy Garoppolo stayed healthy for most of the season, which led to Lance playing only 179 snaps (including the playoffs) and dropping back to pass 86 times," PFF wrote.

"San Francisco didn't even elect to use him as a gimmick player for most of the season, and so far, the 49ers have been unable or unwilling to trade away Garoppolo this offseason. An injury to Garoppolo reportedly made that difficult, but the fact remains that he currently stands between Lance and the starting job, and the 49ers haven't exactly displayed total confidence in Lance, either. A year ago, San Francisco traded three first-round picks to move up to No. 3 overall and select Lance despite that Garoppolo was already entrenched as the starter. Lance enters Year 2 under pressure to prove that was the right move, and his biggest issue so far is being afforded the opportunity to show it."

Throughout the offseason, Lance has been nothing short of impressive according to his teammates and coaches, and even completed 74.6% of his passes during the offseason practices available to media, according to Sports Illustrated's Grant Cohn.

During the 49ers' annual State of the Franchise event earlier this week, head coach Kyle Shanahan praised his young quarterback, while pointing to the untapped potential inside of him as he begins his NFL career.

"I think the biggest thing on Trey that everyone's got to realize is he is younger," Shanahan said. "Trey's got more horsepower inside of him than I think he even knows of, just from the whole talent, but also what he's made of, how intelligent he is."

The 49ers will get an even closer look at Lance during training camp, when players will be in pads and more 11-on-11s will be conducted.

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