49ers roster: 3 players who need to step up in a big way

Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /
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Jimmy Garoppolo,, San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports /

No. 1: 49ers Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo

San Francisco’s starting quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo, is now on borrowed time after the 49ers drafted North Dakota State signal-caller Trey Lance at No. 3 overall.

Yet Lance isn’t pegged to start right away, and the Niners are better off with Garoppolo under center.

San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco 49ers /

San Francisco 49ers

At least for now.

Injuries and relatively lackluster play last season prompted San Francisco to make the eventual transition away from Garoppolo. But with Lance being raw and needing time to develop, essentially the only way for the 49ers to sniff the playoffs will be for Garoppolo to emulate his 2019 campaign in which he tossed for nearly 4,000 yards and was a crucial reason why the team finished 13-3.

Yes, Garoppolo was important to the Niners finishing with the No. 1 seed in the NFC despite them having a dominant defense and stout running game. Just take a look at those games against the New Orleans Saints or Arizona Cardinals as clear-cut examples.

In a quarterback-driven league, teams either have an elite signal-caller or should be looking for one. San Francisco hopes it just landed one, but it’s still playing the short game with Garoppolo.

And if the 49ers want to overcome a gauntlet of an NFC West while eyeing another top seed within the conference, Garoppolo being pushed by Lance to have a career-type year would be something they’d need to emerge as a top Super Bowl contender this season.

Next. 5 biggest takeaways from 49ers OTAs. dark