The San Francisco 49ers wrapped up their rookie minicamp and are getting set for their upcoming OTAs. All eyes were on quarterback Trey Lance at minicamp, and the No. 3 overall pick didn’t disappoint.
The North Dakota State product completed 19-of-24 passes on Friday as he continues to learn head coach Kyle Shanahan’s complex system. Lance doesn’t have the pressure most QBs who are selected in the top five do when entering the NFL.
San Francisco still has veteran Jimmy Garoppolo on the roster, and the 49ers’ brass has stated several times that they intend on keeping him for at least the 2021 season.
Tight end George Kittle — who has a close friendship with Garoppolo — attended a community event in Nashville and was asked about the quarterback competition between Jimmy G and Lance.
“If my starting quarterback was scared of competition, I don’t know if he’d be my starting quarterback, Kittle said.
“Competition’s what makes you a good football player. If you weren’t competitive every single day, fighting for your job, you’re not going to perform at your best.”
George Kittle sighting! At a community event in Nashville today, Kittle was asked about Jimmy G's reaction to competing with Trey Lance. #49ers— Kate Rooney (@TheKateRooney) May 15, 2021
Thanks @CalBaxter for the video. pic.twitter.com/5ixhFdLFNK
Kittle has been named an All-Pro in two of his four seasons. He was one of Garoppolo’s favorite targets during the 2019 season when the Niners made it all the way to the Super Bowl. Kittle had 85 receptions for 1,053 yards and five touchdowns in 2019.
Shanahan was on The Rich Eisen Show earlier this month and stated what the team’s plans are for next season at the quarterback position (h/t Yahoo Sports):
“Jimmy’s definitely our starter right now, and right now there isn’t competition, because I don’t believe Trey would be in a position to compete. Jimmy is too good of a player, he’s got too good of a grasp of our offense.”
San Francisco will hold its mandatory minicamp next month, so we will get to see how the QBs stack up against each other. The 49ers have the luxury of giving Lance time to learn the complicated playbook and the speed of the pro game while Garoppolo holds down the fort.
Both Lance and Garoppolo played at the FCS level in college. The rookie was asked about meeting Jimmy G at minicamp and had nothing but good things to say.
“Yeah, I got to meet him over the last couple of days, which is awesome. Him and the rest of the quarterbacks in the room and they’re awesome. Just awesome personalities, awesome guys to hang around and obviously great football players. So I’m just thankful that these guys are the guys that they are. Jimmy actually said that in his first text to me just, ‘It’s going to be awesome to have another FCS guy in the room.’ So he’s another guy that’s obviously been in a similar position to me, having been where I am. So just looking forward to learning as much as I can from him and, like I said, all the rest of the guys in the room.”
The Niners are in a unique situation. They have a deep roster that is capable of challenging for a championship while also having a young QB waiting in the wings. Garoppolo has shown he can perform at a high level when healthy. He didn’t miss a start in 2019 and helped the 49ers to an impressive 13-3 record.
It will be interesting to see how the situation plays out over the next few months. If Lance outplays Garoppolo at training camp, Shanahan won’t hesitate to have him under center for Week 1.