49ers draft Trey Lance, bidding on his massive upside

North Dakota State Bison quarterback Trey Lance (5) Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
North Dakota State Bison quarterback Trey Lance (5) Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports /

The pick is in. The San Francisco 49ers have taken quarterback Trey Lance, with the third pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.

The San Francisco 49ers have decided to swing for the fences by selecting North Dakota State’s quarterback, Trey Lance, with the third pick in the NFL Draft.

General manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan attended numerous pro days this spring. They felt Lance was the right decision to replace current quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.

Lance wasn’t always featured at the third spot on many mock drafts like Ohio State’s Justin Fields and Alabama’s Mac Jones were. But the Niners’ future starter has the potential to make a big name for himself, especially if he can lead a young San Francisco squad to the playoffs in the next couple of seasons.

Lance had a phenomenal 2019 campaign throwing for 2,786 yards, 28 touchdowns, and zero interceptions. In a COVID-19-filled 2020, Lance only played one game where he threw his only interception, two touchdowns, and 149 yards.

Trey Lance comes from a football family. His father, Carlton, played in the Canadian Football League with the Saskatchewan Roughriders in 1993 as a cornerback. the elder Lance was a part of the 49ers training camp back in 1994, the last time the Lombardi Trophy was in San Francisco.

Trey Lance will certainly last longer than a few preseason games, as he’s expected to be the quarterback of the future, sitting behind whoever is starting for the 49ers.

Pro Football Focus writer Michael Renner (h/t 49ers.com) broke down Lance’s play and why he’ll fit into head coach Kyle Shanahan’s offense:

"What he does have, though, is the strongest arm and best pure rushing ability of any quarterback in the draft class. And by the way, he’s also the youngest quarterback in the class — only 20 years old. If Shanahan thinks he can scheme around any quarterback’s tools to take advantage of them, no one offers more than Lance in the class."

Lance should have a full year to grow under Shanahan’s wing and could see some playing time during the season, depending on how the 49ers are doing.

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Lance is certainly the wild-card pick in the draft, but the 49ers are banking on his upside and hoping he can lead the organization to the promised land.