49ers NFL Draft 2021: 5 ‘boom or bust’ prospects to worry about

Gregory Rousseau #15 of the Miami Hurricanes (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
Gregory Rousseau #15 of the Miami Hurricanes (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /
2 of 5
Trey Lancec, NDSU Bison
North Dakota State Bison quarterback Trey Lance (5) scrambles from James Madison Dukes safety D’Angelo Amos (24) Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports /

49ers Boom-or-Bust Risk No. 4: QB Trey Lance, North Dakota State

Hear me out on this: North Dakota State quarterback Trey Lance arguably has the most upside out of any of the top signal-callers in this year’s NFL Draft, potentially even more than the top-ranked Trevor Lawrence out of Clemson.

Lance has a cannon for an arm, is exceptionally mobile and a threat to run at any time. He has the accuracy and playmaking skills to suggest he’s a generational talent, too.

Simply put, Lance should be a top-five pick. If he falls out of the top five, some team is in line to get a massive steal.

But out of the top quarterbacks, Lance also has the lowest floor of any. This, for a number of reasons, but most particularly because he’s essentially had just one full year as a starter, 2019. He had only a so-so single game in 2020 before North Dakota State cancelled its season. And while Lance’s 2019 numbers were impressive — a 66.9 completion percentage, 2,786 pass yards, 28 passing touchdowns against zero interceptions — all one has to do is go back at the 2019 tape and look at a number of risky throws that should have been picks. They were there.

There’s a reason why most NFL Draft analysts point out Lance, out of all the top quarterbacks slated to go in Round 1, will need the most time to develop.

A team like the 49ers, which already has Jimmy Garoppolo poised to start in 2021, might benefit from this scenario. But anytime a squad opens up the door for a less-than-pro-ready prospect, there are going to be much greater risks associated with his development.

Lance could still be a stud and hopefully will be. But he has the biggest risk factor out of any of the top QBs in this year’s class, too.