4 bold predictions for 49ers 2021 rookie NFL Draft class

Trey Lance of the 49ers poses with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Trey Lance of the 49ers poses with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /
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Trey Lance, NDSU Bison, 49ers
Quarterback Trey Lance #5 of the North Dakota State Bison (Photo by Sam Wasson/Getty Images) /

Niner Noise explores some bold predictions for the 49ers’ 2021 rookie NFL Draft class, including what happens with quarterback Trey Lance.

The San Francisco 49ers are hoping all eight of their 2021 NFL Draft rookies wind up providing some sort of legitimate contributions over the course of their first seasons.

Yes, the expectation levels differ. Case in point, the Niners are hoping the long game proves to be more vital for their first selection, North Dakota State quarterback Trey Lance, whereas they’ll also hope Notre Dame offensive lineman Aaron Banks steps in right away and starts at right guard.

Other players, many of them selected on day three, aren’t necessarily pegged as starters. Rather their early expectations are likely to serve as key backups or special teams contributors.

Overlooked, perhaps. But nonetheless important.

Yet the expectation and reality can wind up being two different things, and sometimes the reality winds up exceeding expectations.

Let’s focus on that element, breaking down some bold predictions for San Francisco’s rookie draft class as the 2021 season draws closer.

Prediction No. 1: 49ers will start Trey Lance in 2021

For now, all signs are pointing to the 49ers letting Lance sit for his rookie season while he acclimates to the NFL game and absorbs as much as he can from the Niners’ current starting quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo.

Head coach Kyle Shanahan has repeatedly leaned towards Jimmy G being No. 1 on the depth chart, and there are viable reasons for this. At the same time, though, it would be beneficial for San Francisco to entertain a quarterback competition for the starting job in training camp.

While that might not give Lance the job outright, it would at least narrow the gap, potentially.

Garoppolo’s injury history and inconsistencies on the field open up for the possibility Lance sees field time sooner than anticipated. And with the 49ers being in a position where they’ll want to win now, Shanahan won’t hesitate to go with the hand that gives him the best possible chance of winning games.

If that winds up being Lance at any point this year, either down the stretch or perhaps even as soon as Week 1, Shanahan will make the change.

Let’s predict Lance ends up starting at some point this season.