The 49ers’ Trey Lance finally got his first NFL start in Week 5, so where should he now be ranked in contrast to other rookie quarterbacks so far?
Perhaps San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan didn’t plan things this way. But rookie quarterback Trey Lance finally got his first-ever NFL start in Week 5 in the wake of Jimmy Garoppolo suffering a calf injury the previous week.
The Niners’ 17-10 road loss to the still-undefeated Arizona Cardinals was a tough debut for Lance, given the context. Yet the No. 3 overall pick from this year’s NFL Draft also showed more than a handful of reasons why Shanahan wanted to aggressively trade up to that spot to grab the former North Dakota State product.
Granted, completing just under 52 percent of his passes while also showing the rawness that suggests he only had one year as a collegiate starter (which he did) isn’t necessarily an outstanding debut. But considering some of the other inaugural starts for first-year quarterbacks this season, one should look at Lance with a good deal of excitement.
Even if there are going to be plenty of mistakes and learning points mixed in along the way.
It was hard to rank Lance in contrast to other rookie QBs earlier this season, yet we tried anyway. In the wake of Lance’s first start, though, let’s take a look at how the rest of the starting first-year quarterbacks are faring entering Week 6.
No. 6: Zach Wilson, New York Jets
San Francisco isn’t the only team in need of a bye this weekend, as the hapless 1-4 New York Jets have to regroup after traveling to London and losing to the Atlanta Falcons in Week 5.
In all honesty, quarterback Zach Wilson’s rough start to the year shouldn’t be a surprise. He’s in a context with a first-year head coach, Robert Saleh, and a first-year offensive coordinator, Mike LaFleur, while also trying to play with an offensive supporting cast completely devoid of talent.
No wonder Wilson’s 98-of-171 line (57.3 percent) for 1,117 yards, four touchdowns against a league-leading nine interceptions isn’t overly shocking. Simply put, there’s nobody else to help him.
Wilson, too, deserves a share of the blame. As FanSided’s Michael Collins told Niner Noise, Wilson “simultaneously tries to make the hard stuff look easy and the easy stuff look hard.”
LaFleur and the entire Jets offense need to get down to the basics for Wilson before expecting him to go any further.