Monday, February 26, 2024

The Curious Case of 2021 pick Trey Lance

It’s just two years since the San Francisco 49ers traded up to take Trey Lance with the number 3 pick of the 2021 NFL draft. In that time the 49ers have played 3 other QB’s with Lance suffering injuries and bad play along the way.

But with previous incumbent, and oft-injured QB, Jimmy Garoppolo off in Las Vegas this was the offseason when Trey Lance was going to take the starting role by the scruff of the neck and finally make it his own. His competition was last years 5-game regular season starter, and three game playoff-run QB, Brock Purdy.

But much when Trey Lance saw the field in limited action the last two seasons, preseason has been a very hit and miss prospect for him, and now he finds himself demoted to QB3 and the 49ers say he’s available for trade.

Take a look at this video by JT O’Sullivan at the QB School on YouTube to see how Trey Lance is still struggling with some basics.

IS TREY LANCE A MASSIVE BUST

At this point Lance is in career-saving mode. A tough place for a QB who has started just 4 games in his NFL career. But he’s not alone. Lance was the third QB taken in the 2021 draft behind Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson. Wilson now finds himself behind future hall-of-famer Aaron Rodgers and with a very tenuous grip on his NFL career.

Whether anyone would be willing to trade for him is an interesting question. His upside is very high but he has shown very little likelihood of getting there in his brief time in the NFL. But if the price were low enough, someone will likely take a shot at him. Teams like the Bucs, Steelers, Commanders, and Vikings have very little long term planning in their QB rooms as we speak and may be willing to take a run at him.

The issue for Lance though is the product he has put on the field:

W-LCMPATTCMP %YARDSTDINTSK%
Trey Lance2-25610254.9%797535.6%
Brock Purdy7-115523366.5%1,9431646.1%

If we compare the two QB’s stats in San Francisco we can see that Lance is well behind Purdy in completion percentage, TD and INT. And of course that number that head coach Kyle Shanahan will be most interested in is win % were Purdy destroys Lance. In fact if we look back to Lance’s only win before he was injured in 2022 he completed only 46.4% of his passes for 0 touchdowns and 1 interception in that torrential rain game in Chicago.

If we take a look at Trey Lance’s performance in preseason, things don’t really get any better.

SeasonCMPATTCMP%YARDSTDINTBTTTWPPFF GRADE
2023223366.7%285210352.6
2022111668.8%141101055.8
2021194146.3%276312553.6

Now preseason is called over-reaction season for a reason. Nothing is as bad or as good as it seems, usually. But the problem is you would want to see progress of some kind. The video above shows that Trey Lance is still not seeing the field well (or at all). In his third camp you would like to see something you could pin your hat on other than he’s very mobile.

Whether you like PFF Grades or not, you can see that his grades are really not good, and have regressed to past his rookie preseason.

Finding a suitor that will give up much at this point will be hard. When you factor in that Lance won’t have camp with that team, and he would have to learn a whole new system…and the team is basically only getting him for this season and next unless they pick up his fifth-year option (which they are 100% not) the price for Trey Lance just keeps going lower and lower.

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