The 49ers may be hesitant to aggressively trade up in the NFL Draft, but CBS Sports has them doing so for Trey Lance in their latest mock.
If he does, he’ll cost the Niners $26.6 million in cap space. And whatever your take on Garoppolo is, it’s a surefire bet he wouldn’t receive that kind of money on the open market if he suddenly became a free agent.
Garoppolo’s recent injury history and seemingly uncertain future has led to the idea San Francisco could explore first-round quarterbacking options in the 2021 NFL Draft. And while mock draft season is always fuel for discussion, there’s going to be no shortage of possible outcomes general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan could explore.
Barring an insanely aggressive trade-up from the No. 12 overall spot in the draft, the 49ers are going to miss out on one of the big three quarterback prospects in this year’s class: Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence, BYU’s Zach Wilson and Ohio State’s Justin Fields.
Yet San Francisco might not get Lance at No. 12 anyway, particularly if there are a lot of draft-day trades taking place over the course of the first 15 picks.
And that’s the scenario CBS Sports’ Ryan Wilson laid out in his most recent Round 1 mock where he had the 49ers moving up to No. 10 overall in a deal with the Dallas Cowboys to select Lance:
The 49ers trade up for the most athletic QB in this class, Trey Lance. Kyle Shanahan said in recent weeks that Jimmy Garoppolo is his QB for 2021, but that doesn’t mean the team can’t (or won’t) plan for the future. Lance has the athleticism and arm strength to be a legit NFL QB, he only lacks experience. But if anyone can get the most out of his abilities it’s Shanahan, who did just that with Robert Griffin III during his rookie year in Washington back in 2012.
San Francisco sent off the No. 108 overall pick in the draft to move up to No. 10, FYI.
49ers intrigued by Trey Lance’s upside, but there are questions
As is the case with any smaller-school prospects, there are going to be some concerns about the level of competition Lance faced at North Dakota State.
That said, the 6-foot-4 and 226-pound quarterback was absolutely dominant during his 2019 campaign where he tossed 28 touchdowns against zero interceptions while boasting a 66.9 completion percentage paired with 1,100 rush yards that season.
Yet that opens up the other problem: Lance has had only one true year where he was the difference-maker. The quarterback didn’t suit up in 2020, so the book essentially looks at that lone 2019 campaign as an indicator of whether or not he’ll pan out at the NFL level.
On top of that, head coach Kyle Shanahan has predominantly stuck with traditional pocket passers ever since leaving Washington at the conclusion of 2013. Whether or not that’s a mark against Shanahan’s reluctance to explore dual-threat options under center is up for debate, but recent history suggests Shanahan might be more intrigued to pursue a less-mobile quarterback like Alabama’s Mac Jones later in Round 1.
And certainly not with the need to trade up.
That said, Lance’s dynamic skill set could be something enticing for San Francisco, and drafting him wouldn’t necessarily close the book on Jimmy G right away. If anything, the 49ers could give Lance some much-needed development time behind Garoppolo in 2021, then look to make the change under center a year from now.
Perhaps that’s the added caveat to Wilson’s suggestion as the Niners look to revamp their quarterback room this offseason.