With the 3rd Pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, the SF Niners Select…

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Trey Lance !!!

  1. Lance has all the physical tools:
    1. 6’ 4” 226 pounds.
    2. 4.55 seconds in the 40 yard dash with 1.99 seconds in the last 20 yards. In a live football game, he ran for a 44 yard TD and was clocked at 21.54 mph, fastest of all QB’s and faster than many WR’s and CB’s. This ranks as the 12th fastest RB in the NFL.
    3. He possesses the strongest arm strength in this year’s QB class.
    4. He is only 20 years old and has the highest ceiling in this year’s QB class.
    5. He is a bigger and younger version of Russell Wilson and Kyler Murray.
  2. Lance is a winner:
    1. N. Dakota State was 17-0 with Trey at QB.
    2. Completion percentage: 66.9 % (192 completions on 287 pass attempts) for 2,786 yards.
    3. Pass yards per attempt: 9.7.
    4. Pass TDs: 28 with zero interceptions.
    5. NFL passer rating: 130.8.
    6. Rushing attempts: 169 for 1,100 yards (6.5 yards per rush) for 14 TDs.
  3. Lance fits Shanahan’s Offense:
    1. He ran an NFL West Coast Offense with a FB and RB, taking snaps under Center and running Play Action plays.
    2. He is already very well refined with his back to the defense and either handing off to the RB/FB or executing pass plays.
    3. He has already shown the ability to distribute the ball to various receivers within the context of the offensive play.
    4. He certainly has the ability to run planned bootlegs or scramble to either run or pass on off-schedule plays where the pass rush disrupts the planned play.
  4. Knocks on Lance:
    1. He played only 17 games. Interestingly enough, Mac Jones played only 17 games, too. As a matter of fact, Jones was the 3rd string QB at Alabama behind two mobile QB’s, Tua Tagovailoa and Jalen Hurts.
    2. He played at N. Dakota State where top notched competition was lacking. Josh Allen, Buffalo’s star QB, played at Wyoming and Carson Wentz, Colt’s new QB, also played at N. Dakota State.
    3. He has poor footwork. Jimmy Garoppolo had bad footwork but under Shanahan, corrected it and lead the Niners to the Super Bowl in his only healthy season.

Justin Fields has many similar traits as Trey Lance and I would be just as happy if the selection is Fields. The key to both of these QB’s is that they have big and accurate arms and are MOBILE. I can’t stress enough how important mobility has become in the NFL. Every NFL team have good to great pass rushers who will disrupt planned plays so having a mobile QB has become a necessity.

The Mac Jones selection possibility is a smoke-screen. While Jones also had a perfect 17-0 record, he was playing behind an NFL-like Offense line and throwing to NFL-like WR’s. Jones is a quick thinker and is very good at reading defenses and going to his 2nd or 3rd WR’s if his primary WR is covered. These are traits that Shanahan treasures. The only knock that I have on Jones is that he is not mobile. Shanahan transformed Matt Ryan into an All-Pro QB and took the Falcons to the Super Bowl only to lose a big lead to Tom Brady. Under Shanahan, Garoppolo was good enough to take the Niners to the Super Bowl only to lose to a very mobile QB in Patrick Mahomes. While Tom Brady is the GOAT, he threw 3 INT’s in the NFC Championship game vs the Packers under pass rush duress. The Packers lost only because their CB, Kevin King, had the worst game of his career and unforgivably gave up 2 key TD’s to the Bucs.

The Lance choice makes a lot of sense for another reason based on decisions made by Lynch and Shanahan leading up to the big trade to move up to the 3rd pick. They seem committed to keep Garoppolo as their starting QB in 2021. They also signed Nate Sudfeld who is a 6 year vet, albeit a career backup. This signals that Lance (or Fields) will have a year to learn Shanahan’s Offense. This can, of course, change if Garoppolo gets hurt again or Lance develops much quicker than expected. If this happens, then trading Garoppolo becomes a possibility. The Niners have to pay Fred Warner and Nick Bosa big bucks soon so Jimmy’s days are surely numbered.

John Lynch has stated publicly that he regrets passing on drafting Patrick Mahomes. If they pass on Trey Lance or Justin Fields this year and both become stars for other teams, it will end the Lynch/Shanahan era in San Francisco. So, just like the Rocket Mortgage commercial, they not only have to be “pretty sure” but “certain” that their pick will lead the Niners to the promised land.

Last year, when the Niners signed LT Trent Williams, the LA Rams coach, Sean McVay, stated that he’s gonna drink a lot of beers. If the Niners draft Lance or Fields, McVay will have to order many more kegs of beer.

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