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49ers have gained the fifth-most WAR by non-quarterbacks drafted since ‘19

It helps when you have two MVP-caliber players in one draft.

NFC Championship - San Francisco 49ers v Los Angeles Rams Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images

So far, the talk has been centered around the quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers early in the offseason, and for a good reason. Where will Jimmy Garoppolo land? Is Trey Lance ready? Most of the talking points stem from those two questions.

Have the Niners put Lance in a position to succeed? That’s the question we should be asking. We know Lance is physically gifted and will add a different dimension to the offense. In football, it takes a lot more than physical gifts to excel.

Quarterbacks have to be sound during situational football. Garoppolo played over Trey this past season as he was experienced in two-minute, end of the game, and other critical parts such as third down.

The hope is that Lance learned from Jimmy in those aspects and will hit the ground running come training camp. It helps when stars surround you.

PFF recently wrote an article detailing the teams who have gained the most WAR (wins above replacement) by non-quarterbacks drafted since 2019. The 49ers were fifth:

You're not alone if you’re wondering why the Raiders are ahead of the 49ers. For me, that raised plenty of questions.

It tells me that if you hit on a late-round gem — like Maxx Crosby — you’re bound to get more credit, and the numbers will be skewed. It also ignores the Raiders' whiffs in the first and second rounds.

“WAR” has more issues in football than it does in baseball. In baseball, you’re comparing players to identical situations. In football, you’d be hard-pressed to find similar situations when comparing players for one drive, let alone one game.

OK, enough ranting and back the 49ers. Nick Bosa missing an entire year and the 49ers still being ranked as high as they are tells you how dominant he’s been. Deebo Samuel was in and out of the lineup during 2020, but we saw what he’s capable of this past season when healthy and given an opportunity to be “the guy.”

Tying it back to Lance, he’ll be surrounded by Samuel, George Kittle, and Brandon Aiyuk. If there’s a quarterback walking into a better situation as a first-year starter, I’d love to know who that is.

That’s before we talk about having the best left tackle and one of the best play-callers in the NFL at his disposal. We will see how the team continues to build around Lance this offseason. It’s fair to assume we’ll see better versions of unheralded names such as Jauan Jennings.

I’d like to see the offensive line solidified, which will only make Lance’s first full season as a starter easier. That, in turn, will make Lance’s ascension to becoming a top-flight quarterback quicker.