San Francisco 49ers Rookie Trey Lance Reminds a Hall of Fame Quarterback of Himself in the Early Stages of His Career

The San Francisco 49ers may be officially beginning the Trey Lance era. After an untimely injury to quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, the team turns to the rookie out of North Dakota State.

Fans have been oozing with excitement since the 49ers drafted Lance, and now they’ll get to see him work in a full-time capacity. Steve Young feels good about the rookie’s future in the NFL and even sees similarities between Lance and himself.

Trey Lance is making his 1st career start for the 49ers

The 49ers drafted Trey Lance with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. It was unclear what Kyle Shanahan‘s plans were with Jimmy G still in the fold.

Lance got plenty of reps in the preseason, but Garoppolo won the starting quarterback job. The rookie has appeared in three regular-season games. In limited action, he’s thrown for 162 yards and three touchdowns. He also ran for 44 yards and another score.

It’s not hard to understand the excitement about Lance. He has all the tools scouts are looking for, and then some. The 21-year-old is raw but has a strong arm and possesses legitimate dual-threat ability.

“He needs an offense tailored to what he does best, and you have to be really patient with him,” said an AFC team executive per NFL.com.

Well, Lance couldn’t have asked for a better situation than in San Francisco. Kyle Shanahan is one of the game’s brightest offensive minds. His play-calling will put Lance in every position to succeed. He’s already proven so in the snaps the young signal-caller has taken thus far.

Lance reminds Steve Young of himself

Steve Young posing for a picture; 49ers QB Trey Lance warming up
Steve Young attends the NFL Honors ceremony | Christopher Polk/Getty Images; 49ers quarterback Trey Lance warms up before a game | Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Plenty of people in and around the NFL are raving about Trey Lance, including Steve Young.

The former 49ers quarterback and Pro Football Hall of Famer notices some similarities between the young signal-caller and himself.

“Watching Trey throughout the game, it reminded me of my Tampa Bay days,” he said after Lance stepped in due to Garoppolo’s injury. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers drafted Steve Young with the No. 1 overall pick in the 1984 NFL Draft.

“He has a much better team with him right now than I did, but it reminded me of how I played,” he added per NBC Sports. Everything I had, you got it full speed. It was not very refined. I was not going to go down without a fight. We were going to move the ball. We were going to figure it out.”

Sure, Lance will have the rookie learning curve. Young had to go through it, but came out on the other side a much better quarterback. The 49ers great is excited about the future.

You can feel the power and the athleticism and the opportunity with Trey. You can feel it. And you want to see more of it,” said Young.

The rookie can lock down the starting 49ers job for good

It’s always unfortunate to see a player go down to injury, but that’s part of the game. Trey Lance is the next man up and is in a great position to secure the starting quarterback gig moving forward.

Kyle Shanahan left us guessing who the starter would be heading into the regular season. It wouldn’t be surprising to see him not verbally commit to Lance being the full-time starter either.

However, if the North Dakota State product performs well against the undefeated Arizona Cardinals, the 49ers head coach will have to consider sticking with the rookie.

Jimmy G is a safe play. He’s very familiar with the offense and limits mistakes. He doesn’t take the offense to the next level, though. That’s why the upside of Lance is so appealing. His unique skill set gives him a much higher ceiling than Garoppolo.

If Trey Lance and the Niners knock off the Cardinals, look out.

All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference.

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