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Trey Lance Rumors: Latest on What 49ers Are Looking to See from Rookie QB in Minicamp

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVMay 15, 2021

AP Photo/Tony Avelar

The San Francisco 49ers are reportedly looking out for a few specific things when quarterback Trey Lance takes part in rookie minicamp in the coming days.

According to ESPN's Jeremy Fowler on SportsCenter, the Niners "just want to see how [Lance] handles a pretty complicated offense with a lot of long, play call verbiage."

Fowler then added that the 49ers "want to see how good of a guy he is in person," after being told during the pre-draft process that people "gravitate" toward Lance.

The 49ers invested a ton in Lance by parting with multiple first-round picks to move up to the No. 3 overall selection in the 2021 NFL draft, which is where they nabbed the former North Dakota State standout.

By trading up to No. 3, the 49ers made it clear that they no longer had faith in Jimmy Garoppolo as the starting quarterback moving forward.

Jimmy G did lead the 49ers to the Super Bowl two seasons ago, but he has been plagued by injuries otherwise, and the fact that he missed 10 games with an ankle injury last season played a big role in the Niners going just 6-10.

Garoppolo is still on the roster, meaning there is a legitimate chance he will be the 49ers' Week 1 starter unless Lance blows away head coach Kyle Shanahan in training camp and during the preseason.

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Aside from the fact that Lance has to learn a complicated offense, another thing that could keep him from being the Week 1 starter is his overall lack of playing experience at a high level.

Lance spent only one full season as a starter in college, and he did it at the FCS level with North Dakota State.

The Bison have had the talent of an FBS program over the past several years, but the level of competition hasn't been particularly high compared to what other first-round quarterbacks such as Clemson's Trevor Lawrence, Ohio State's Justin Fields and Alabama's Mac Jones faced.

On the plus side, Lance did dominate the competition he faced, going undefeated and leading the Bison to an FCS championship in 2019.

Lance completed 66.9 percent of his passes for 2,786 yards, 28 touchdowns and no interceptions that season, while also rushing for 1,100 yards and 14 touchdowns.

Lance's improvisational skills and feel for the game set him apart from many of the other prospects in the 2021 NFL draft, and they make him a much more exciting option than Garoppolo as well.

There is no question that Lance landed in a beneficial spot since there isn't much pressure for him to be the starter out of the gates, but one can only assume he will be given every opportunity to seize the starting job from Garoppolo leading up to the regular season. 

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