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How QB Trey Lance changes what the San Francisco 49ers can and will do offensively

Santa Clara, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Trey Lance (5) throws the ball during warm ups against the Houston Texans at Levi's Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

“This is Trey’s team.”

With those four words uttered by 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan, the Trey Lance era has officially begun in San Francisco. While it was one of the most oddly guarded secrets in the NFL, it didn’t take a PhD in football to understand it would happen. No one gives up what general manager John Lynch did to draft Lance with 2021's No. 3 overall pick to ultimately let the young quarterback ride the pine for two straight seasons.

After taking only 120 total dropbacks the past two falls, it's now trial by fire for Lance on a team that was a dropped interception away from a Super Bowl appearance last year. That brings up two massive questions for 49ers fans: What can they expect from Lance, and will it be an upgrade from Jimmy Garoppolo? Let’s dive into the film and PFF data to answer both of those.

Lance's Tools and Mobility

Lance was the single most physically gifted quarterback in the 2021 draft class. That is, of course, my opinion, but it’s one I know for a fact was shared by many around the NFL. In a class that featured incredible arms — Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson and Justin Fields — it was Lance who earned my highest grade for arm strength. Just look at the way the ball jumps out of his hands from a standstill in the pocket.

He pairs that howitzer of an arm with some of the best wheels at the position in the NFL. His list of pros in the 2021 PFF Draft Guide notes that he possesses a “tight end build and athleticism” and that he was a “weapon in short yardage and in the run game overall.” In his lone full season at North Dakota State, he racked up 1,150 yards on the ground and 14 touchdowns.

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