Trey Lance: 3 reasons to be critical of 49ers rookie quarterback

Trey Lance #5 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
Trey Lance #5 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images) /
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SF 49ers, Trey Lance
North Dakota State Bison quarterback Trey Lance (5) Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports /

Reason No. 3: Trey Lance is still awfully inexperienced

The 49ers did their best to shield Trey Lance from a prominent role in 2021, only occasionally using him in specific packages over the first half of the regular season and putting him in as a starter for two games when Jimmy Garoppolo was out with injury.

Lance subsequently went 1-1 in those starts, finishing his rookie year with a 57.7 completion percentage for 603 yards, five touchdowns, two interceptions and a 97.3 passer rating.

Most top-drafted quarterbacks have an extensive collegiate résumé, yet Lance’s is awfully brief, effectively including just one lone season as a full-time starter at North Dakota State, his final 2020 campaign abbreviated greatly because of the pandemic:

Trey Lance Collegiate Passing Table
Year School Conf Class Pos G Cmp Att Pct Yds Y/A AY/A TD Int Rate
2018 North Dakota State MVC FR QB 2 1 1 100.0 12 12.0 12.0 0 0 200.8
2019 North Dakota State MVC SO QB 16 192 287 66.9 2786 9.7 11.7 28 0 180.6
2020 North Dakota State MVC JR QB 1 15 30 50.0 149 5.0 4.8 2 1 107.1
Career North Dakota State 208 318 65.4 2947 9.3 11.0 30 1 173.8

Provided by CFB at Sports Reference
Generated 2/17/2022.

Granted, nearly all of Lance’s college film is impressive. And forget the level of competition. He was playing in a pro-style offense and was making plays only a handful of collegiate quarterbacks make with any sort of regularity.

That said, there’s a point worrying about the fact Lance attempted a mere 318 passes at the college level.

For those who say Lance needs a while to gain that necessary experience — he is only 22 years old, after all — they have a point.

There are going to be growing pains for Lance in 2022 and beyond, many of which have likely been experienced already by the four other quarterbacks selected in Round 1 of the 2021 NFL Draft.

If there’s anything to be learned here, it’s the fact patience will be a key point.