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Kyle Shanahan Says Trey Lance Was 49ers' Target with No. 3 Pick 'All Along'

Blake SchusterSenior Analyst IIIApril 30, 2021

North Dakota State quarterback Trey Lance holds a San Francisco 49ers jersey after being chosen by the team with the third pick in the NFL football draft, Thursday April 29, 2021, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
Tony Dejak/Associated Press

San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan said quarterback Trey Lance was his target with the No. 3 pick "all along" even if he didn't exactly share that information too widely before making the selection on Thursday. 

“It was crazy to watch where it all went,” Shanahan told reporters of the speculation before the draft.

The coach added he was sold on the North Dakota State product from the moment the Niners traded up to No. 3 back in late March. 

Despite the blockbuster trade, Shanahan kept his intentions as quiet as possible. 

According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, none of the assistant coaches or scouts in San Francisco were aware of what the team was planning at No. 3 until NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced the pick Thursday night. 

That led to plenty of discussions over whether the Niners would go with Mac Jones, Justin Fields or Trey Lance if they indeed decided to select a QB to replace Jimmy Garoppolo in the Bay Area. 

It turns out there was no similar discussion internally. The 6'4", 224-pound Lance was always Shanahan's guy. 

After passing for 2,786 yards, 28 touchdowns and zero touchdowns in 2019, Lance had proven himself to Shanahan and the San Francisco brass. 

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Now, he's likely to battle Garoppolo for the starting job if the Niners are unable to trade their incumbent QB1 before the season. It doesn't bode too well for Garoppolo that his head coach was enamored enough with Lance to trade up and keep everything about the selection a secret. 

For Lance, it's just about as much trust a coach could put into a quarterback without taking a snap. It's now on both sides to make the relationship work to deliver a Super Bowl back to Northern California. 

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