49ers roster: Stock up, stock down on 2021 NFL Draft class
By Peter Panacy
Niner Noise takes a look at the 49ers’ 2021 NFL Draft class and evaluates the stock level approaching the halfway point of the preseason.
The San Francisco 49ers are one game into a three-game preseason campaign, which affords some evidence for their 2021 NFL Draft class.
Going back to last April and May, the Niners brought home eight rookies, highlighted by the No. 3 overall selection of North Dakota State quarterback Trey Lance.
Lance saw plenty of action during San Francisco’s exhibition opener against the Kansas City Chiefs and will likely get even more when the 49ers visit the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 2 of the preseason.
And while that was clearly the main focus for the Niners’ draft class this year, the remaining rookies on the roster deserve some evaluation, too.
Niner Noise breaks down each one of San Francisco’s rookie draftees and determines whether or not their stock value is currently on the rise, falling or staying put after their first preseason game of the year.
49ers QB Trey Lance
It’s anyone’s guess whether or not Lance’s efforts against Kansas City will be enough to unset the incumbent starter, Jimmy Garoppolo, by the time the regular season rolls around. Judging by some comments from both head coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch, Garoppolo is still going to be the Week 1 starter.
But the fact Lance, who had just one full year as a starter at NDSU and attempted a mere 318 passes in college, is closing the gap much quicker than anyone likely anticipated is a great sign for the 49ers’ highest investment.
Lance went 5-of-14 in his NFL debut, tossing that 80-yard touchdown bomb to wide receiver Trent Sherfield while also being plagued by at least four drops from other targets. Yet he also took four sacks, struggled against the Chiefs’ blitzing packages and nearly tossed two interceptions.
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In terms of immediate-starting abilities, Lance’s efforts were a bit of a mixed bag.
The intangibles are there, however, and it’s certainly reasonable to assume the rookie will wind up starting much sooner than most originally thought.