49ers 53-man roster: Power ranking each unit entering 2021

Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /
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Trey Lance, Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco 49ers
Jimmy Garoppolo #10 and Trey Lance #5 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /

7th: 49ers Quarterbacks

Starter: Jimmy Garoppolo

Backup: Trey Lance

The future of the 49ers is Trey Lance. Since being drafted third overall, this has been the case. His development, though perhaps not the most important thing for a 49ers team with legitimate aspirations for a Super Bowl, will be crucial throughout the season.

As of now, however, he is the backup behind Jimmy Garoppolo.

We have seen glimpses and received guarantees that Lance will play this season in some capacity in some types of packages; the functional import for these rankings is that the Niners will have a combination of a third-overall pick and a reasonably talented starting quarterback as their front two. That’s a strong QB room if there ever was one.

The reason then why this position group isn’t ranked much high is because of the relative importance of each player. Although Kyle Shanahan will attempt to leverage the abilities of both his quarterbacks as much as possible, and Lance’s abilities certainly play a large role here, there’s reason to push the group down, especially when considering these rankings examine the talent and depth of these groups without taking into consideration the positional value they provide.

Just because a quarterback is more valuable to a team than a defensive back doesn’t mean that the quarterbacks will be ranked higher than the secondary.

Lance, whether starting or a backup, has no documented proof of success in the NFL. That doesn’t mean he can’t or won’t be successful; it means very little in fact. But, just like with many of the wide receivers, it’s an assumption of potential versus production, and though his talent is impactful, that alone cannot place him over the proven production the Niners have at other positions. Garoppolo is a solid starter, which is fine and valuable, but the 49ers have solid starters and then some in these other position groups.

Lance’s talent basically outweighs the flurry of receivers behind Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel, giving the quarterbacks the nod here.

But next, we have the ultimate question of talent versus depth.