49ers biggest winners, losers from first week of 2021 OTAs

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports /
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Jimmy Garoppolo, Trey Lance, San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco 49ers quarterbacks Trey Lance (5) and Jimmy Garoppolo (10) Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports /

With the first week of 49ers organized team activities in the books, let’s break down who’s ahead and who’s behind in the competition.

There’s a long way to go before determining which San Francisco 49ers players eventually wind up on the regular-season 53-man roster, and the opening week of organized team activities only reveals so much.

Especially since they’re padless, involve zero contact and generally involve watered-down versions of the playbook.

On top of that, the media is only allowed to attend a handful of these initial practice sessions, so it’s tough to fully gauge which players are ascending and which ones aren’t.

But by combing through practice reports and looking at some of the comments and actions from the Niners front office, it’s possible to ascertain which players are on the rise and which ones aren’t.

Understandably, a good chunk of the focus has been on the quarterback competition, namely between Jimmy Garoppolo and Trey Lance. And while Jimmy G’s efforts trying to both fend off and mentor Lance have garnered a lot of the headlines, there are plenty of other storylines emanating from San Francisco’s first full-team workouts.

Still, let’s start there when evaluating the biggest winners and losers so far at OTAs.

Winner: 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo

A fully healthy Garoppolo seems to be embracing the fact he finally has some competition, which wasn’t the case when he had backup quarterbacks Nick Mullens and C.J. Beathard looking over his shoulder the last three seasons.

On top of that, Garoppolo appears as if he’s bulked up during the offseason, perhaps a move to better guard against injury, and he’s also seemingly embraced the role of guiding Lance, too.

Related Story: Jimmy G isn’t taking Aaron Rodgers’ approach

Lance, meanwhile, shouldn’t be viewed as a loser, per se, rather as someone who has plenty of promise but still needs to acclimate, as the San Jose Mercury News‘ Cam Inman pointed out from one particular practice session:

"Lance missed high on a couple passes, one of which bounced off tight end Josh Pederson’s hands and was intercepted by safety Tavon Wilson. Jared Mayden dropped a potential interception on a Lance pass toward Travis Benjamin."

Getting that proper timing down will come with more practice and reps.

In the meantime, it doesn’t appear as if Lance will be locked in and ready to go in the immediate future, which all but points to the strong likelihood of Garoppolo fully entrenched as the starter right now.