After more than a month of speculation, the San Francisco 49ers have decided who will be the quarterback of the future.
The Niners selected North Dakota State product Trey Lance third overall. The 20-year-old played in 17 games at the FCS level but has the physical and mental tools to be a successful NFL QB.
Head coach Kyle Shanahan said the 49ers were high on Lance from the very beginning of the process.
"We've been very high on Trey Lance since the beginning. Since Day 1." - Kyle Shanahan on the 49ers No. 3 overall pick.— Niners Nation (@NinersNation) April 30, 2021
Some draft pundits suggested that San Francisco was still unsure which prospect it would select with the No. 3 pick coming into the week, but Lynch says the team locked in on Lance on Monday.
Lynch says that the 49ers have known for a couple of weeks that the pick was Trey Lance. He said the team "put a bow on it" this past Monday.— Niners Nation (@NinersNation) April 30, 2021
During the pre-draft media availability, Shanahan said he was looking for a QB that was a mix of Lamar Jackson and Drew Brees. Given the recent trend of dual-threat NFL quarterbacks, he felt Lance was the best option.
Kyle Shanahan on Trey Lance on @KNBR:— Jake Hutchinson (@hutchdiesel) April 30, 2021
"He's always going to be a threat at any time...
Once we had time to connect with him, we fell in love with him... He checked every single box."
Leading up to the draft, most NFL insiders believed the 49ers would go with Alabama’s Mac Jones. The hot takes were at a fever pitch that Jones was the perfect fit for Shanahan’s system. Shanahan’s close friend, Chris Simms, was on the Jones hype-train, but maybe he just helped his buddy out by adding fuel to the fire. Shanahan said the Niners’ brass was content with letting the talking heads do what they do best.
Kyle Shanahan -- to put it lightly -- was amused by the reporting that immediately connected the 49ers with Mac Jones when they made last month's trade.— Matt Barrows (@mattbarrows) April 30, 2021
"We weren't going to look to correct that," Shanahan said of the Jones-to-SF reports. "At all."
Give credit to Lynch and Shanahan. They kept the entire NFL world guessing which signal-caller they were going to take at No. 3. That isn’t easy to do in today’s day and age. San Francisco did such a good job of keeping the pick a secret that Lance only found out he was heading to the Bay Area shortly before the selection was made official.
Are Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch good secret keepers?— Matt Barrows (@mattbarrows) April 30, 2021
Trey Lance: “I just found out (I was the pick) two minutes ago. I really did.”
Draft day started with a bang when reports surfaced that future Hall-of-Famer Aaron Rodgers doesn’t want to play for the Green Bay Packers anymore. Shanahan was asked if the 49ers checked in with the Packers on what it would cost to pry the reigning league MVP from Green Bay.
Lynch, on Aaron Rodgers:— Niners Nation (@NinersNation) April 30, 2021
I don't know about you guys, but when the MVP might be available....yeah we inquired.
It was a quick end to the conversation. It wasn't happening.
It’s crazy to think, but after all of the QB talk leading up to the draft, Jimmy Garoppolo remains on the roster. When the trade was originally made, Shanahan and Lynch said they intend on keeping Garoppolo for at least the next season. The head coach reiterated that during the draft-day press conference.
"It would be a very tough situation if Jimmy isn't on our team. I expect Jimmy to be here, and I'd be surprised if he wasn't." - Shanahan— Niners Nation (@NinersNation) April 30, 2021
The Niners were in a situation rarely seen in the NFL. They have a Super Bowl-ready roster and took a potential franchise QB in the top-three of the draft. Drafting Lance and keeping Garoppolo gives San Francisco flexibility moving forward.
The 49ers have a nucleus of George Kittle, Nick Bosa, Trent Williams and Fred Warner. They also have a veteran QB who has helped lead them to a Super Bowl and hopefully a future superstar signal-caller learning behind him until he is ready to lead the franchise for the next decade-plus.
September can’t get here soon enough.