Picking Trey Lance is a massive gamble by the 49ers, but he is a perfect fit for their offense and can take it to new heights.
Ever since the San Francisco 49ers traded up from No. 12 to 3 last month, Mac Jones had been widely viewed as a perfect fit for their offense. They instead decided Trey Lance is the right man to lead their attack, and the tape provides extremely strong evidence to support that choice.
Lance may only have 17 college starts at the FCS level to his name, but what he produced during his limited time on the field for the North Dakota State Bison saw him build a compelling case that he is an ideal fit for Kyle Shanahan’s offense.
Throwing 28 touchdowns and zero interceptions in his lone full season as a starter in 2019, Lance operated a run-heavy offense that relied heavily on play-action and quarterback bootlegs. Sound familiar? That is because it encapsulates, in simple terms, what Kyle Shanahan’s San Francisco offense boils down to.
Whereas there are concerns about Jones’ ability to run those boot-actions, there are no such doubts with Lance, whose running ability — he had 14 touchdowns on the ground in 2019 — can give defenses another threat to account for on those plays.
Lance may not be as consistently accurate as Jones from the pocket, but he can stand in and deliver with pressure in his face and drive the ball even when he is unable to fully step into the throw.
That is something Kyle Shanahan commands of his quarterbacks and is something Jimmy Garoppolo has not been able to provide during his time as the starter.
He is inconsistent and he is inexperienced, but Lance checks the boxes for a Shanahan quarterback and provides the added dimension of being a dual-threat who can access all levels of the fields with his remarkable arm.
Shanahan saw his dreams of Super Bowl glory crushed by a dual-threat quarterback with the arm to make throws beyond most humans. Now he has one, and he’s a tremendous fit for one of the most dynamic offenses in the NFL, the rest of the league should be very fearful.