49ers training camp 2021: 4 rookies to watch the most

Trey Lance #5 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Trey Lance #5 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /
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Trey Lance, San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Trey Lance (5) Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports /

No. 1: 49ers Quarterback Trey Lance

He might not start right away. It’s possible he might not even play at all in 2021.

But rookie quarterback Trey Lance, the No. 3 overall pick from this year’s draft, is going to garner the most attention from any of San Francisco’s first-year players this season.

San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco 49ers /

San Francisco 49ers

And for good reason.

The 49ers’ aggressive trade-up from No. 12 overall could be a franchise-defining move, one which should ultimately mean the end for their current starter, Jimmy Garoppolo, at some point in the future and, at least hopefully, install a new figurehead for the team for the next five or even 10 years.

Garoppolo remains fully entrenched as QB1 for right now. And despite showing some notable improvement and an increase in poise during OTAs, Lance is still quite raw and will take time to refine his skill set.

But the kicker will be how Lance responds to actual on-field pressure during camp workouts where the pass rush won’t be of the mocked variety, and defensive backs will be allowed to jam and press Lance’s receiving targets.

Overcoming those challenges will be the next stage of Lance’s maturation. And fans will be eager to see just how much Lance can close the gap with Garoppolo.

Because once Lance gives the Niners just as good a chance at winning games as Jimmy G, Kyle Shanahan won’t hesitate to make the switch under center.

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