49ers roster: 5 players impressing early during 2021 OTAs

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Trey Lance (5) Mandatory Credit: D. Ross Cameron-USA TODAY Sports
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Trey Lance (5) Mandatory Credit: D. Ross Cameron-USA TODAY Sports /
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Trey Lance, San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Trey Lance (5) Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports /

It’s still early, but these five players are making the most of their chances during 49ers organized team activities in 2021.

Almost two full weeks immersed into the San Francisco 49ers’ 2021 edition of organized team activities, it’s beginning to look a little clearer as far as which players are standing out for the right reasons.

Naturally, there’s been a lot of discussion about rookie quarterback Trey Lance, who is being groomed to eventually take over for the current starter, Jimmy Garoppolo. And while Lance’s inexperience and rawness remain a concern, there are early signs the No. 3 overall pick from this year’s NFL Draft is going to be the real deal.

OTAs lack the physicality and intensity of training camp. Without tackling or actual contact on the field, it’s hard to gauge just how effective any player will be when the pads come on.

That said, the raw streetlike feel of these practice sessions is beginning to add early risers and winners.

Including these five who are making the most of these activities so far.

No. 5: 49ers Quarterback Trey Lance

Lance got the majority of reps last Wednesday during one of the OTA sessions made available to members of the media.

And while earlier reports created some concern Lance was sailing his passes a bit too high and too frequently, signs are now pointing to Lance beginning to showcase the accuracy and poise from within the pocket, as Sports Illustrated’s Grant Cohn pointed out:

"Improved tremendously from last week. Completed 11 of 18 passes (61 percent), and two were dropped. Also completed 6 of 7 pass attempts during 7-on-7 drills, which is the most challenging setting for Lance, because he can’t scramble or roll out. During this drill, he fired a 40-yard deep completion up the right sideline to George Kittle. It was a perfect pass, one Jimmy Garoppolo wouldn’t even attempt."

If that wasn’t enough, just check out head coach Kyle Shanahan’s reaction to one of Lance’s reps:


Lance will still need plenty of time to develop, and it’s far too soon to suggest he might steal the starting job in 2021 away from Garoppolo.

For right now, though, it’s looking more and more like the rookie quarterback is quickly on the ascent and could become the NFL superstar for which the Niners are hoping.