NFL Draft: 49ers not interested in QB Trey Lance?

Quarterback Trey Lance #5 of the North Dakota State Bison (Photo by Sam Wasson/Getty Images)
Quarterback Trey Lance #5 of the North Dakota State Bison (Photo by Sam Wasson/Getty Images) /

The 49ers were reportedly not one of the teams attending NDSU quarterback Trey Lance’s pro day, which suggests they aren’t in on him for the NFL Draft.

If the San Francisco 49ers are looking at using their first pick in the 2021 NFL Draft on North Dakota State quarterback Trey Lance, they’re certainly not tipping their hand about it.

According to a Thursday report from Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer, Niners brass was not included in the attendance sheet for Lance’s pro day on March 12. A number of other teams naturally sent representatives, including the Atlanta Falcons, New York Jets, Detroit Lions, Carolina Panthers and the Washington Football Team.

But not San Francisco.

Lance is widely viewed to be the fourth of the big-four quarterbacks expected to be selected early in this year’s draft, the other three being Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence, BYU’s Zach Wilson and Ohio State’s Justin Fields. Those latter three, however, are all expected to be picked within the first 10 picks, perhaps even within the top five.

If anyone was to fall to the 49ers’ top selection at No. 12 overall, it would likely be Lance, who didn’t play in 2020 yet put together an impressive 2019 campaign for the Bison.

49ers not being in attendance for Trey Lance doesn’t exactly mean anything

There are going to be portions of the fanbase thinking this apparent “lack of interest” in Lance is a signal the Niners remain fully committed to their current quarterbacking starter, Jimmy Garoppolo.

Maybe. Maybe not. It doesn’t necessarily mean anything either way.

Teams frequently do their due diligence on top-name players, sending scouts to observe pro-day workouts for players who still might be high priorities on their big boards. San Francisco surely has Lance ranked somewhere, especially with the team’s need to revamp at least the depth chart behind Garoppolo in 2021. Backup quarterbacks Nick Mullens and C.J. Beathard are free agents this offseason anyway.

At the same time, the non-attendance isn’t totally an indication the 49ers will automatically pass on Lance if he’s available at No. 12, nor does it rule out the possibility of a would-be trade-up to secure the rights to draft him.

The Niners have passed on attending players’ pro days before, essentially coming to the conclusion they have all the necessary information needed to select him. And in the “smoke and mirrors” world of NFL Draft season, where teams never want to truly reveal their intentions, not attending a pro day could ultimately be meant as a smokescreen.

Even if the last game tape on Lance is from 2019.

The fact we have no clue, or are at least assuming San Francisco isn’t interested, is a sign it could possibly be working.

Unless there’s a bona fide statement from the 49ers front office, which won’t materialize, no one will actually know until Lance is selected.

By the Niners or someone else.

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