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Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

49ers QB Trey Lance named among 15 second-year breakout candidates

Jul 18, 2022 at 12:03 PM--

Last month, Pro Football Focus named San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk as a third-year breakout candidate. Now, in a feature for ESPN, Mike Renner of Pro Football Focus revealed his list of NFL second-year breakout candidates, naming 15 players who could become stars. Among the names was the former No. 3 overall pick, quarterback Trey Lance, who ranked at No. 8 on the list.

Predicting what the 2022 season might have in store for Lance was challenging because the 22-year-old quarterback started just two games last season. As a result, there isn't much to go on when evaluating the film of his play.

"On 86 dropbacks as a rookie, he was ... fine," Renner shared. "His 61.1 passing grade ranked second behind Mac Jones in the rookie class, but that's not saying a whole lot given how the rest of the class fared."

Jones earned a 77.8 Pro Football Focus passing grade in 2021. After that, there was a significant drop-off, with Lance coming in at the 61.1 grade mentioned above. As for the remainder of the first-round quarterbacks, you have Justin Fields at 60.8, Trevor Lawrence at 58.2, and Zach Wilson at 54.8.

"All in all, it was a solid passing grade for a player who was the youngest quarterback in his draft class, played FCS competition at North Dakota State, and saw only one game of live action in 2020," Renner continued.

The Pro Football Focus analyst acknowledges that Lance may be in one of the better roster situations when it comes to the second-year players. The 49ers were in the NFC Championship Game last season, and still have a playoff-caliber team around the young quarterback.

"You won't find a second-year quarterback with a better situation around him heading into 2022, though," Renner adds. "Lance gets to play behind PFF's 14th-ranked offense line and throw to PFF's sixth-ranked receiving corps this season. Oh, and he gets to do it all with Kyle Shanahan calling plays. If Lance can't succeed with that around him, it might never happen."

H/t to Rohan Chakravarthi for the find.

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