San Francisco 49ers

49ers QB Trey Lance named one of the 25 ‘Most Intriguing’ NFL players by The Athletic

The San Francisco 49ers were an intriguing team in the early lead-up to the 2021 campaign, with some predicting a run to the Super Bowl, led by quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.

Bu then general manager John Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan drafted QB Trey Lance with the No. 3 overall pick in this year’s draft.

Now that’s intriguing.

So when The Athletic compiled its list of the 25 most intriguing players in the NFL, it was a natural Lance would make the cut. He landed at No. 6 on the list, just ahead of Bears rookie QB Justin Fields and right after another young signal caller, Tua Tagovailoa of the Dolphins.

The Athletic’s Sheil Kapadia pointed out that the 49ers have a 22-9 record with Garoppolo at the helm, and when “Jimmy G” is on the field, San Francisco has performed like the fourth-ranked offense, per TruMedia’s Extra Points Added Model. But still, that Lance character is mightily intriguing, especially with Garoppolo’s injury history.

… there’s no denying Kyle Shanahan’s fascination with Lance. The 49ers traded a haul to land him, and Shanahan has been open about the appeal of having a quarterback who can be a big part of the run game. There are things Shanahan wants to do that are only possible with Lance, not Garoppolo.

The most likely scenario is that Lance starts games at some point — whether that’s Week 1 or after Garoppolo suffers an injury or is ineffective. And if Lance looks like this year’s version of Justin Herbert, it will have a huge impact on the NFC landscape. The 49ers’ roster is good enough elsewhere to compete for a Super Bowl.

The Athletic/Sheil Kapadia

Shanahan has said that Lance will play in spots this season, and he’s installed some read-option type plays for his young QB. But as Kapadia wrote, it remains likely that over the course of the new 17-game schedule that Lance will play a larger role as starter, at least for a game or two.

That’s when we’ll finally know how good Lance is. Considering reports out of 49ers training camp, it’s just a matter of time before Lance is the most intriguing on-field QB the 49ers have had in years, and perhaps decades.

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