He has yet to make a start at the NFL level, but 49ers quarterback Trey Lance is climbing up the oddsmakers’ 2021 Rookie of the Year odds projections.
The other four — the Jacksonville Jaguars’ Trevor Lawrence, the New York Jets’ Zach Wilson, the Chicago Bears’ Justin Fields and the New England Patriots’ Mac Jones — have all received starts. And now, entering Week 4, all four of them have effectively been named their respective team starters.
Lance isn’t officially there yet, although head coach Kyle Shanahan could make the final commitment in Week 5 against the Arizona Cardinals and beyond in the wake of the veteran, Jimmy Garoppolo, suffering a calf injury a week ago.
It’s anyone’s guess if an inevitable Lance start ultimately leads Shanahan to commit fully to the rookie for the rest of 2021.
Either way, it seems as if that’s what the odds are potentially favoring.
Trey Lance has high NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year odds
Keep in mind again, Lance hasn’t started a game and has only played 17 percent of the Niners’ offensive snaps this season, two quarters of which came in Week 4 against the Seattle Seahawks after Garoppolo departed with his injury.
Despite that, the folks over at WynnBET are giving Lance the third-best odds, in a tie with Lawrence, to take home the 2021 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award this season.
As for the top five in this department, here you go:
- QB Mac Jones, Patriots: +275
- WR Ja’Marr Chase, Bengals: +400
- QB Trey Lance, 49ers: +600
- QB Trevor Lawrence, Jaguars: +600
- QB Justin Fields, Bears: +900
Wilson, the No. 2 overall pick, has fallen way behind in the rankings, certainly influenced by an underwhelming supporting cast and his league-leading eight interceptions thrown.
Lance, meanwhile, is responsible for four touchdowns, three passing and one rushing, despite being limited in his game play.
What if Trey Lance loses out to Mac Jones?
Honestly, this wouldn’t be too surprising. Jones, the No. 15 overall pick from the draft, was viewed as the most pro-ready quarterback not named Lawrence, and Jones was going to a much more constructive environment in New England than Lawrence in Jacksonville.
Plus, the Pats haven’t exactly made Jones do anything out of his comfort level, largely asking him to be a game manager and someone who can avoid mistakes more than shoulder the offense.
Lance, meanwhile, has the vastly higher ceiling, albeit with a sizably bigger risk of going bust.
Luckily for him, the Niners have an array of offensive weapons at his disposal and an offensive play-calling genius in Shanahan. The only question now, of course, is whether or not Shanahan will revert to Garoppolo in favor of letting Lance develop.
Those odds may shift depending on how Lance performs in his next crucial challenge, Week 5 on the road against the undefeated Arizona Cardinals, who own the league’s 11th best passing defense. They are susceptible to the run game, however, surrendering 5.4 yards per carry, next to worst in the league through four weeks, meaning Lance might influence his odds a bit if he’s able to capitalize on his prolific rushing prowess.
Either way, despite not having received a start just yet, seeing Lance towards the top of the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year leaderboard is notably reassuring.