Of the five quarterbacks taken in the top 15 picks of the 2021 draft, four have become their team’s starters. We do not have.
That one, of course, is 49ers quarterback Trey Lance. From the moment the 49ers went from No.12 to No.3, the writing set in stone. Jimmy Garoppolo would be traded or cut by the team sooner or later.
The timing of saying “later” to Jimmy G became later than earlier because, quite simply, Lance didn’t show he was the better option than Garoppolo.
Think about it for a second. The 49ers have invested the 12th pick overall, two more first-round picks and a third-round pick in a quarterback who, to date, has not been able to prove he’s the best option ever. ‘a midfield quarterback who can’t stay healthy and freaked coach Kyle Shanahan enough in the 2019 playoffs to prompt Shanahan to run three yards and a cloud of dust for the remainder of the win in the divisional round against the Vikings and the NFC shredding championship of the Packers.
Garoppolo remains the holder in part because the dressing room is loyal to the holder. If they saw that Lance was clearly the best option, loyalties would immediately pivot towards the rookie.
None of this is to say that Lance won’t grow. However, at a time when more and more young quarterbacks come in via the first round and instantly become starters, the guy the 49ers have invested in three first-round picks and one third-round pick should start.
It may not be his fault. Maybe he shouldn’t have been the third overall pick. Maybe Shanahan is better with the veterans than the rookies. Maybe the third choice should have been Justin Fields or Mac Jones. Maybe the 49ers, after ditching Patrick Mahomes in 2017 and telling Tom Brady ‘no thanks’ for going back to basics in 2020, have pushed the needle too far the other way, going all out then that they should have stayed put.
The 49ers could have had Mahomes. They could have had Brady. They could have stayed at No.12, kept their future first-round picks, and waited to see how the table unfolds. Instead, they still have Garoppolo, who will certainly start Sunday night because he recovered from his last injury and because Lance, in his only start to the season, suffered a knee injury that ruled him out. for the match.
To sum up, the 49ers had a veteran quarterback who is average at best and can’t always stay healthy, as well as the 12th overall pick in the draft, a third-round pick in 2021 and their first-round picks. in 2022 and 2023. Now they have a veteran quarterback who is average at best and can’t always stay healthy, as well as a rookie quarterback who has yet to beat the veteran quarterback. who is average at best and who in one start suffered a knee injury which two weeks later has not healed.
Maybe Lance will eventually become the next Joe Montana in the franchise. Maybe Lance will have his fingerprints on three or four Lombardi Trophies. For now, however, it’s clear the move isn’t paying dividends for a team with Super Bowl 2021 aspirations that have lost three of their first five games and will even struggle to make the playoffs. if they accumulate their fourth loss. before Halloween.