Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Bruschi: 49ers’ Trey Lance has ‘most to prove’ among second-year QBs

Jun 24, 2022 at 4:35 PM--

The quarterbacks from the 2021 draft class will be linked together and compared for a long time. Most received a significant amount of playing time during their rookie seasons. The one who did not was San Francisco 49ers quarterback Trey Lance. He started just two games and spent most of his freshman NFL season learning behind veteran Jimmy Garoppolo.

The upcoming season will be different, though. Lance is slated to become the 49ers' full-time starter, with Garoppolo likely to be shipped out of Santa Clara. One ESPN analyst believes Lance has the most to prove among the 2021 first-round quarterback class that also includes Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, Justin Fields, and Mac Jones.

"He is the one that has the most to prove because you almost have to prove your head coach and your general manager know how to evaluate quarterbacks," Tedy Bruschi said on NFL Live (h/t The Spun). "Redshirt year is over, bro, OK? The redshirt year is over. Now, you got to go and play.

"They've got Jimmy Garoppolo still there, who's very, very capable [and] who's taken them to the playoffs and won playoff games. So you've got to show why you gave up all that draft capital and why they feel you should be the starter because [the 49ers] are coming off a very successful season.

"So, definitely, Trey Lance has a lot to prove, in my opinion."

Lance has taken most of the practice snaps at quarterback this offseason. That's thanks to Garoppolo still recovering from shoulder surgery and the 49ers looking to trade the veteran quarterback. That probably won't change once Garoppolo is healthy and training camp begins.

Another ESPN analyst, Rob Ninkovich, looked at last year's rookie quarterback class and expects Lance to make the "biggest jump" in Year 2.

"You look at the team that's built around him," Ninkovich explained, "and what he has on the roster—the tight end position, the offensive line, Deebo [Samuel] ... the defense, the head coach, the offensive line that they have there to put him in the right position. I really think, last year, with the small sample size—I know he got banged up a little bit doing the platooning with Garoppolo—now we all know that he's going to be the guy.

"I really think he's going to take a big jump forward this year, especially with that roster. They have a playoff roster. Now he just has to go out there and perform."

Bruschi isn't convinced. He clearly doesn't believe 71 pass attempts last season make the 22-year-old quarterback eligible to be considered a player likely to make the biggest jump.

"We're talking about jumps, though," Bruschi countered. "I don't know what Trey Lance is jumping from. He just basically did nothing last year."

You can watch the entire ESPN segment below.

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