Opinion: Can Trey Lance Compete With Jimmy Garoppolo for a Starting Role With the San Francisco 49ers?

Published 03/13/2021, 5:19 PM CST
MIAMI, FLORIDA – FEBRUARY 02: Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers celebrates after a touchdown of his team against the Kansas City Chiefs during the third quarter in Super Bowl LIV at Hard Rock Stadium on February 02, 2020 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)


There’s been a lot of talk about the starting quarterback job in San Francisco. The five-time Super Bowl-winning San Francisco 49ers had a rough 2020 season after making it to the Super Bowl just the season before.

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The 49ers finished dead last in the NFC West with a 6-10 record and thus automatically failed to make the playoffs. Now a lot of their woes are down to the fact that the franchise was the one worst hit by injuries in 2020.

And among those injured was starting QB Jimmy Garoppolo. The quarterback missed the last seven games of the regular season and saw his team fall to a 2-5 record in that span.

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But even when fit, Garoppolo didn’t seem to bring much to the table. With Garoppolo as the starter, the franchise had a 3-3 record in 2020.

Nov 1, 2020; Seattle, Washington, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) passes against the Seattle Seahawks during the second quarter at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

With Garoppolo out, the franchise didn’t have much quality to bank on. C.J Beathard and Nick Mullens chipped in but it wasn’t enough to bring the 49ers season back on track.

Even with Garoppolo’s recent performances, the New England Patriots were reportedly interested in bringing in the QB this offseason. But the San Francisco 49ers seem resolute on keeping Jimmy G on the West Coast.

But the 49ers could bring in reinforcement and possibly competition for Garoppolo, in the form of rookie QB Trey Lance.

Can Trey Lance be the next San Francisco 49ers QB1?

The San Francisco 49ers have the 12th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. And if the stars align, they could well draft in QB Trey Lance from North Dakota State.

Lance’s physical attributes are what make him such a highly-rated draft pick. Athletic and blessed with elite arm strength, Lance’s recent Pro Day performances caught the attention of many.

Another dimension of Lance’s game is his ability to run the rock. The QB makes full use of his athleticism to scramble and extend plays with his feet.

With his skill set, many say Trey Lance reminds them of a young Josh Allen back in 2018. But even with his athletic abilities, there are flaws to Lance’s game.

The quarterback has issues with reading the play. If immediate reads aren’t available, his ability to adapt and look for the next open receiver is something he struggles with.

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And while he could improvise by scrambling away to run a play in college, it’s not something you’d expect him to get away with, in the NFL. Another reason for concern is him having limited action in the 2020 season.

The Bisons could only play one game in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and even in that game, Lance failed to impress. The QB threw two touchdowns for one interception with a pass completion percentage of 50%.

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Sep 27, 2020; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan during the second quarter of a NFL football game against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Lance is clearly a talent. His outings in 2019 and performance on Pro Day prove that. But is he ready to challenge for the starting QB role in San Francisco? We don’t think so. Lance needs time to work on his game and what better a man to learn from than 49ers Head Coach Kyle Shanahan.

But with Lance in the mix, the next season could be very interesting for the San Francisco 49ers.

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Shivayan Roy

750 articles

Shivayan Roy is currently an NFL writer at EssentiallySports. After completing his Masters Diploma in Journalism from the Asian College of Journalism, Roy functioned as a reporter for Goal.com and extensively covered the FIFA U-17 World Cup.

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