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Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Riddick: Someone should have to answer for 49ers drafting Trey Lance

Aug 24, 2023 at 1:28 PM--

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The San Francisco 49ers gave up a lot to draft Trey Lance, and ESPN's Louis Riddick believes someone in the organization should have to pay for that mistake.

The analyst points out that the Niners shipped three first-round picks and a third-rounder to the Miami Dolphins to move up to the No. 3 overall pick in 2021, where they selected Lance. Two years later, the quarterback lost the offseason QB2 competition to NFL journeyman Sam Darnold.

Even though the 49ers have been to two NFC Championship Games since drafting Lance, the move may go down as one of the most costly roster blunders of the John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan era.

"That's enough said right there. Enough said," Riddick said on ESPN after breaking down the draft compensation that San Francisco surrendered to acquire Lance. "Now, that same guy is now your third quarterback, and now has lost his job to Mr. Irrelevant, lost his job to another former first-round pick that has now supplanted him as the number two quarterback, who, if you remember, we talked about in the offseason, as someone there had told me, 'Don't be surprised if Sam Darnold flourishes in this offense.'

"That's a huge miss, especially considering this—remember before the '21 draft, when there was a lot of speculation about who it was exactly that Kyle Shanahan was moving up from 12 to three to get? Remember all the talk about it being Mac Jones and then it switching to Trey Lance? And then there was a lot of speculation about, internally, there was disagreement about who the people wanted, who exactly wanted who, who did the coaches want versus who did the scouting department want."

The 49ers have maintained a talented roster in recent years. The pressure to win a Super Bowl after coming close three times during the Lynch and Shanahan era may have never been higher than it is now, especially considering the team owns one of the best rosters in the league.

Still, trading Lance would be seen as an admission by the 49ers that they botched the decision to get him in the first place, even if starter Brock Purdy flourishes.

"Well, this right now is going to be something that's going to be dissected internally in San Francisco because you cannot do that," Riddick continued. "I don't care what Brock Purdy has returned to you. You can't do that and not have some people have to answer for that."

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