The San Francisco 49ers still have plenty of time to decide which quarterback they will choose third overall at the 2021 NFL Draft. General manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan attended Justin Fields’ second pro day earlier in the week and will be on-hand for Trey Lance’s workout on Monday.
Lance, who played for Division I-AA school North Dakota State has been getting the least hype to be the Niners’ selection. The 20-year-old only started one season for the Bisons, which came as a redshirt freshman in 2019. Lance threw for two touchdowns and ran for two more in North Dakota’s 39-28 win over Central Arkansas in an exhibition game that took place in October of 2020.
The Bison pushed their 2020 season into this year, but Lance opted out, instead choosing to focus on preparing for the draft.
Lance is listed at 6’4, 226 pounds. He has all of the physical tools to be a high-level NFL quarterback, but some scouts believe he still needs some seasoning before being ready to be a pro starter.
The lack of experience against top competition isn’t scaring one NFL analyst. Monday Night Football commentator and former NFL safety Louis Riddick shared his thoughts on why he thinks Lance will have a stellar pro career.
“Right from the very beginning of this, I said that either Trey Lance or Justin Fields would fit perfectly with what Kyle [Shanahan] likes to do offensively. Trey Lance in particular, of all these quarterbacks, I think is the guy. Especially in the context of this kind of offense could have an All-Pro, like legendary type of career.
“He is the guy I gravitate towards in this scenario, that being Trey Lance. But, that being said, I’ll tell you this too. I spend as much time trying to figure out how people are able to identify quarterbacks on a consistent basis, and what it is that the great play callers and great quarterback developers are looking for, because it’s such a hard position to evaluate. I can see why San Francisco is going down the road of Mac Jones, but I personally love Trey Lance.”
Lance completed 65.4 percent of his passes in college for 2,947 yards, 30 touchdowns and just one interception. He also rushed for 1,325 yards and 18 scores in 19 games. Lance’s numbers look great, but he put them up against inferior competition compared to what Fields and Jones were playing against.
Still, Lance’s raw ability has some scouts drooling over his NFL potential. Here is the scouting report on Lance from 247Sports:
In an utterly loaded class, Lance may have more pure physical talent than all of these QBs. However, quarterback is still a performance position, and that’s where Lance will be a difficult eval. Operating a run-heavy offense against FCS competition is a massive difference from operating a pass-happy system against an NFL defense. But even with some accuracy issues, Lance still has a high floor because of his rushing ability. He is a battering ram with the ball in his hands and will be a weapon in the red zone and short-yardage situations. Combine that with an arm capable of slinging it 70-plus yards downfield in a flick, and it’s scary to think what he could become.
The sentiment is that if the 49ers go with Lance, he will likely sit for a season behind presumptive 2021 starter Jimmy Garoppolo while he learns the pro game.
Lance will have his opportunity to impress Lynch and Shanahan on Monday.
How do you feel about Lance as a prospect? How likely do you think it is that the 49ers will select him over Fields and Jones?