While the 49ers seem to have a quarterback battle heading into the offseason, John Lynch more or less cast his vote for Brock Purdy as QB1.
At some point, it would be nice if the San Francisco 49ers had long-term stability at quarterback.
It came close to existing with now-Las Vegas Raiders signal-caller Jimmy Garoppolo, only injuries and relative shortcomings resulted in Jimmy G not being the final answer for head coach Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch.
Both are coming off serious injuries, too, although Lance is much closer to taking the field after recovering from a broken ankle suffered last September.
Purdy, meanwhile, just had surgery to repair a torn UCL suffered in the NFC Championship game last January and might not be ready to start the regular season.
Nevertheless, there is no shortage of speculation surrounding who should start between the two. And, after the Niners acquired former Carolina Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold, the former No. 3 overall pick from the 2018 NFL Draft, an even murkier future under center seems to loom for San Francisco.
Not according to Lynch, though.
John Lynch seems to echo Brock Purdy as 49ers’ starting QB
Speaking to reporters from the 2023 NFL owners meeting down in Arizona, Lynch didn’t exactly mince words when talking about who he thinks should start for the 49ers.
It’d be Purdy, of course, if he was fully healthy.
"I think Brock has earned the right with the way he played that he’s probably the leader in the clubhouse at that. I’ll let Kyle make those kinds of decisions, but I know, when we talk, I think Brock’s probably earned that right to be the guy. If we were to line up, he’d probably take that first snap."
With all fairness to Lance, the No. 3 overall pick from the 2021 draft and someone for whom the Niners sent off three total first-round picks, he has only four regular-season starts and hasn’t played a full year of organized football since 2019.
That’s a lifetime in the NFL.
Purdy, meanwhile, went 5-0 down the stretch of his rookie-year regular season after being the final pick of the 2022 draft, and then he helped San Francisco beat both the Seattle Seahawks and Dallas Cowboys in the playoffs before he suffered his injury and a loss in the NFC Championship versus the Philadelphia Eagles.
Related Story: Brock Purdy needs to be 49ers’ starting QB, not Trey Lance
Could that lead to Lynch and the 49ers trading Lance to some other quarterback-needy team, though?
Lynch dismissed the idea, at least for now, by saying:
"We like Trey on our team right now. We always joke, Kyle and I, we’d trade each other if someone gave us a good enough deal, so we listen to anything. But we like Trey on our team, and we’re very excited about the way he’s progressing, about his opportunity. I think he’s champing at the bit to get out there, and get back under center, and be healthy again."
Two parts of the quote ring out, though: “Right now” and “we listen to anything.”
Perhaps the landscape changes toward a Lance trade, but that’s yet to be determined.
Pro Football Focus mock NFL Draft addresses 49ers’ remaining roster needs
Despite losing more starting-caliber players in free agency, such as Garoppolo, right tackle Mike McGlinchey, EDGE Samson Ebukam, cornerback Emmanuel Moseley and safety Jimmie Ward, the Niners don’t have a lot of holes to fill via the NFL Draft or from the dwindling pool of available free agents.
So, what are San Francisco’s final needs?
According to Pro Football Focus, which used its own mock draft simulator to select the players, the 49ers need to focus on two positions: cornerback and linebacker.
Linebacker sounds a little weird, especially with the Niners already boasting Dre Greenlaw and All-Pro Fred Warner. However, with No. 3 backer Azeez Al-Shaair leaving in free agency, perhaps PFF’s mock of Cincinnati linebacker Ivan Pace Jr. to San Francisco at No. 101 overall makes sense.
Bookending that compensatory pick toward the end of Round 3 are two cornerback selections, Syracuse’s Garrett Williams and TCU’s Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson at Nos. 99 and 102, respectively.
Williams is a boundary-type player, while PFF likely pegs Hodges-Tomlinson as a nickel cornerback.
Lynch and the 49ers will have to wait until the start of the 2023 NFL Draft, Thursday, April 3, to see if the draft will pan out toward landing any of those three players.