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Albert Breer discusses why the 49ers drafted Trey Lance

Jul 18, 2023 at 2:24 PM--

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The San Francisco 49ers traded the No. 12 overall pick in 2021, a 2022 third-round pick, and first-round picks in 2022 and 2023 to move up to the No. 3 overall pick in 2021, where they selected quarterback Trey Lance. Leading to the draft, there was a lot of speculation surrounding who the Niners would choose. It was a massive deal, after all. Many felt that making such a move for someone like Mac Jones didn't make much sense.

Eventually, head coach Kyle Shanahan revealed that the 49ers were indeed "locked in" on Jones and Lance leading to the 2021 NFL Draft.

"Those were the two guys that we were locked in on from the beginning," Shanahan said last year, "and if we never moved up to [No. 3], we would have never had the chance to learn more about Trey."

Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer joined "The Herd with Colin Cowherd" this week and explained why Lance made more sense to the 49ers.

"A big part of the Niners picking Trey Lance over Mac Jones in 2021 was because so many teams are now running the Niners offense, and so many teams are defending the Niners offense in practice," Breer told Cowherd. "And so he felt like, how do we add on to the offense? How do we change the dynamic of the offense? How do we be a little different than the other people who are running my offense in other places?"

Breer notes that one of the reasons Shanahan has been so fond of quarterbacks like Kirk Cousins and Matt Schaub is because they can operate his offense the way the coach envisions it needs to be run. While Lance was named the starter before last season, injuries thrust Brock Purdy into the role.

And from everything the 49ers have said this offseason, it sounds like Purdy will remain the starter. That is interesting to the Sports Illustrated writer because Shanahan seemingly wanted to evolve his offense using someone like Lance.

"And then, he winds up back in the place with Brock Purdy where he's running his offense again," Breer continued. "So part of this could come down to what Kyle Shanahan wants. I mean, does he want Brock Purdy, who is going to run his offense as prescribed, who's kind of got the Kirk Cousins thing going on, or does he still have it in his head, like, 'I want to add a little something here with some athleticism and arm strength,' which is the idea of bringing Trey Lance in?"

Breer wants to clarify that he believes Purdy will be the 49ers' starting quarterback, assuming he is healthy. However, he notes that even when there was a chance former starter Jimmy Garoppolo might return sometime last postseason, Shanahan made it known that it would likely be as Purdy's backup. The team had moved on already.

Breer added, "If there's a coach in the league who's shown us that he's willing to change his mind and doesn't care what anyone else thinks and is just going to play the best player, I think Kyle Shanahan would be that coach, at least on offense."

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