As was heavily expected ahead of the opening round of the 2021 NFL Draft, the San Francisco 49ers spent the third overall pick on North Dakota State Bison quarterback Trey Lance last Thursday night.
Current San Francisco starting signal-caller Jimmy Garoppolo recently said he's "more than happy" to serve as a mentor for Lance, and 49ers CEO Jed York told 49ers Talk that his ideal situation would include Jimmy G taking the franchise back to the Super Bowl for the second time since February 2020.
"We’ve talked about this internally," York explained. "If we’re in a situation where Jimmy goes out and takes us to a Super Bowl again and has an MVP-caliber season, and does it again, there are worse dilemmas to be in. And Jimmy certainly has the ability to do that.
"Knowing it’s the most important position in sports, and it’s great to have a guy that you do believe in and has gotten you to a Super Bowl. So you don’t have to put the weight of the world on a rookie, whoever it was we were going to choose. And now that we know Trey is here, you don’t have to put the weight of the world on that kid’s shoulders. And he can grow into that position."
In addition, York said that if the soon-to-be 21-year-old Lance doesn't start until he's 23 but plays another 15 years, it would certainly justify the pick. That could mean the Niners are OK if Lance is Garoppolo's backup for two seasons or more.
Unsettled Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and, more recently, Kansas City Chiefs star Patrick Mahomes are two individuals who learned the NFL game sitting behind proven commodities on depth charts. With that said, it seems Lance will be given the opportunity to earn starter status this summer.
"If he’s the best player, then he would play," York said of the first-year pro. "And if he’s not ready to do it yet, we’re not going to put that on his shoulders and whether that’s Trey or whether that’s anybody else, we want to make sure there’s competition throughout the team."