Sat, 08 May 2021

NFL Analysts Evaluate 49ers Selection of Trey Lance No. 3 Overall

San Francisco 49ers
03 May 2021, 05:44 GMT+10

The San Francisco 49ers certainly had the NFL buzzing well before Day 1 of the draft. After making the jump up nine spots from 12th-overall last month, questions quickly began swirling as analysts made attempts to pinpoint which prospect led the 49ers to make the steep move.

The NFL is still buzzing after the 49ers selected North Dakota State quarterback Trey Lance with their third-overall pick on Thursday night - many giving their evaluation on San Francisco's selection.

Here's a look at what analysts had to say following Day 1 of the 2021 NFL Draft.

Chad Reuter, NFL.com: "Lance is an outstanding prospect who immediately came to mind when the Niners made that trade. His 2019 film (North Dakota State played only one game last fall), physical abilities and mental makeup will win the heart of San Francisco. Lance will be able to learn a pro offense quickly while also creating plays outside the pocket when things break down. This was the correct pick, whether Jimmy Garoppolo stays for 2021 or not."

Bucky Brooks, NFL.com: "The small-school standout is an intriguing quarterback prospect due to his rare traits as a big, athletic playmaker with exceptional arm talent. Despite a small sample size of performance and production, Lance has all of the traits offensive coaches covet in a high-IQ quarterback with a diverse toolbox."

Gregg Rosenthal, NFL.com: "Kudos to coach Kyle Shanahan and GM John Lynch for keeping their selection of Trey Lance a secret up to the moment they drafted him third-overall. They also deserve love for taking a swing at Aaron Rodgers along the way.

"No one will ever question Shanahan's ability to scheme wideouts open, and it will be a treat to watch him coach up a player with Lance's incredible physical gifts and smarts after seeing a whole lot of backups Nick Mullens and C.J. Beathard over the last few years. The 49ers are also taking a risk on a player jumping from North Dakota State with under 400 dropbacks in college. This is a bigger projection than any top-five quarterback pick in memory."

Todd McShay, ESPN: "Did the San Francisco 49ers get it right at No. 3? Yes, they did. I give a lot of credit to Niners coach Kyle Shanahan. For more than a month, we've been hearing how Jones was the team's preference, but San Francisco did its due diligence with all of the QBs, including Jones, Fields and North Dakota State's Trey Lance, and saw the process through.

"I'm fascinated with the idea of Shanahan coaching up a quarterback with dual-threat traits. (Lance rushed for 1,100 yards in 2019.) Shanahan came up short in two Super Bowls with pocket passers, first as a coordinator with Matt Ryan in Atlanta and second as a head coach with Jimmy Garoppolo in San Francisco. And the second loss came at the hands of one the NFL's best -- if not the best -- second-reaction QBs in Patrick Mahomes. I really think Shanahan decided he wanted a QB who can extend plays, work off schedule and tuck it and run when needed.

"And how about Lance? After playing just one game in 2020 and then spending the entire pre-draft process hearing about his inexperience and lack of competition in the FCS, he had essentially a five-, six-week job interview. That included a pair of pro day workouts and plenty of interviews. And he aced it. He made Shanahan and the Niners decide he was their guy and that he was worth dealing away multiple future first-rounders to have the opportunity to bring aboard. Lance made himself some serious money in the process, considering he easily could have fallen out of the top 10.

"As a fit, Lance has a big arm and reads the field really well. He excels selling play-action, a staple in Shanahan's offensive scheme. He'll need to work on his accuracy a little, but he can sit behind Garoppolo -- unless the veteran is dealt -- for a while and develop before eventually taking over under center."

Bucky Brooks, NFL.com: "The small-school standout is an intriguing quarterback prospect due to his rare traits as a big, athletic playmaker with exceptional arm talent. Despite a small sample size of performance and production, Lance has all of the traits offensive coaches covet in a high-IQ quarterback with a diverse toolbox."

Skip Bayless, FS1: Trey Lance: Best combination of tangibles and intangibles in this draft. Film junkie. Highest football IG of these QBs. Chip on shoulder. Driven to be great. Great character. 6-4, 224. Quick release. Quick/fast. Can make you miss or run over you. Perfect for Kyle Shanahan.

Chris Simms, NBC Sports: "Wow. I am in shock. Trey Lance has some unbelievable talent. He has a big time arm. And it's a high level athlete. And I think (the 49ers) and Shanahan just couldn't turn down the possibilities Trey Lance can bring to his awesome offense."

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