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Why Trey Lance to the 49ers Could Be a Lock

Rohan Chakravarthi
Apr 19, 2021 at 12:15 PM


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Justin Fields. Mac Jones. Trey Lance. It seems like we have had an insurmountable number of rumors when it comes to these three quarterback prospects, mainly being linked to the San Francisco 49ers.

However, it seems as if all those unknowns may be finally leading to something.

On Saturday, Michael Lombardi, an NFL writer for the Athletic, came onto The Wrap with Patrick Meagher, and set the narrative straight: the 49ers are not going to draft Justin Fields. With all the speculation surrounding the three intriguing quarterback prospects, news like this is alarming.

While I personally would select Fields at number three, eliminating him from the picture clears up the story for the 49ers. Almost all of the rumors surrounding the third pick have been linked to either Mac Jones or Justin Fields.

Surely, this would mean the pick HAS to be Mac Jones, right? Well, it's actually the opposite. Lock it in, if Justin Fields is not the pick, it'll be Trey Lance for a multitude of reasons.



Trey Lance


Let's start with the obvious: the 49ers are visiting Trey Lance at his second pro day and while they will not draw up specific plays for him, the system out of which he operates is similar to the 49ers' style.

Earlier Monday morning, ESPN's Jeremy Fowler noted that a good pro day from Trey Lance could very well sway the 49ers into considering him as their top choice in the 2021 draft. While the pro day is certainly not anything significant and rather a day for the quarterback to showcase his skills, Fowler's comments indicate that the 49ers previously were thinking strongly of Lance and that an in-person visit could present them with what they like.

Also, while many sources have stated that Kyle Shanahan's trusted friends, most notably Chris Simms, believe the pick will be Mac Jones, Shanahan personally asked his friend and quarterbacks coach John Beck to work out with Trey Lance, and the 49ers even gave Beck a list of drills they would like to see Lance run, per ESPN's Dan Graziano.

In addition to Lance, John Beck has worked with two other names linked to the 49ers this offseason: QBs Zach Wilson and Justin Fields. The notable quarterback not on this list: Mac Jones.

However, with Zach Wilson most likely being selected at number two overall, and Justin Fields out of the picture, per Michael Lombardi, Trey Lance is the quarterback who the 49ers will know the most about after the extensive draft process is over.

Whenever "fit" is brought up with the 49ers, analysts are quick to notice Kyle Shanahan's past quarterbacks: Kirk Cousins, Matt Ryan, and Jimmy Garoppolo. The resounding similarity between the three: they all lack mobility, and work best as pocket passers as quarterbacks.

With that archetype in mind, Mac Jones has been seen as the best "fit" for the 49ers, just because he has been the type of player who Shanahan has targeted in the past.

However, Shanahan himself has stated in press conferences, most notably after facing Buffalo last year, how that archetype of a quarterback is a limited one, and how he has transitioned from that build to preferring a quarterback with a combination of size, strength, and speed.

With this archetype in mind, Mac Jones is almost automatically eliminated due to his lack of size compared to these other quarterbacks, lack of top-tier arm strength like a Trey Lance or Justin Fields, and lack of mobility.

In addition to that revamped archetype, the reason that Shanahan is in this position is the frustration with current starter Jimmy Garoppolo, whose lack of mobility and inclination to remain in the pocket have increased his chances of injury.

And since Justin Fields has been eliminated, per sources, Trey Lance should now be the resounding pick for the 49ers at number three. Lock it in.

As for play styles, during his time at North Dakota State, Trey Lance ran an offense that was similar to that of Kyle Shanahan. He ran a good amount of play-actions, and while the scheme may have been suited for power-run, Lance still had the bootleg installed on 14% of his dropbacks, on which he displayed a variety of short, intermediate, and deep throws and showcased his running ability as well. This quick-offense style also translates best to the NFL, while many rookies who lack experience in that type of offense struggle to adapt to the pro level.

Lastly, Lance's need for development with his accuracy and experience are problems that can be easily fixed within the 49ers' system. He would have Jimmy Garoppolo serving as a competitive bridge quarterback who he can learn from, and would get the year of adjustment that he needs to tap into his potential.

San Francisco holds the cards in its hands and everything is pointing to Trey Lance being the pick at number three right now.
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.


2 Comments

  • Ed Benton
    But, what if now because of the added work outs, the Jets pick Lance? Would not be a good scenario for Lance cause Jets gave away their prior starter in MacDonald. Maybe Fields would be more pro ready than Wilson for them..??
    Apr 19, 2021 at 2:23 PM
    0
    Response: I don't believe that the Jets would pick Lance. I wouldn't rule out Fields to the Jets as I stated in my video, because he is the best fit for them. However, between Fields and Wilson, I still believe that Shanahan would go with Wilson given his arm strength is a tad bit better, and he would not have to worry about durability behind the current O-Line. Again, this is what I believe Shanahan will do, not what I'd do. I personally have Fields as QB2, or more QB 1B to Lawrence.
  • Ed Benton
    Whole article is based on Lombardi quote as noted by others with Lombardi not willing to name his 1 source - for all we know its his mailman. But no doubt Shany is moving away from archetype JG because our know back-ups now are: Sud = Cousins; Rosen = Ryan. Yes all pocket passers but with bigger arms than JG. Think eventual #1 will be as close to a Mahomes as possible - for me that is LAnce.
    Apr 19, 2021 at 2:06 PM
    2
    Response: I agree, was using the Lombardi quote as evidence to construe the argument of how Shanahan is moving away towards a new type of quarterback and the evidence points to Lance.


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