Preseason Player Analysis
What You Need to Know:
- Lance spent just 1 season as a starting QB in high school and started for just 1 full season at North Dakota State.
- That 2019 season was spectacular: 2,786 passing yards, 28 TDs and 0 INTs on a 66.9% completion rate and 9.7 yards per attempt, plus 1,100 rushing yards and 14 scores. North Dakota State went 16-0 and won the FCS national title.
- He played just 1 exhibition game last year after the Missouri Valley Conference postponed its season until the spring due to COVID. Lance went 15-of-30 for 149 yards, 2 TDs and his 1st career INT in that one. He also ran for 143 and 2 scores, though, on 15 attempts.
- So Lance arrives to the NFL with just 17 career starts at the FCS level.
- That didn’t stop the 49ers from selecting Lance with the 3rd overall pick of this year’s draft -- after making a big trade to move up from the 12th pick.
- What did they see in Lance? A rare combination of size, arm talent, athleticism and football IQ.
- Lance goes 6’4 and 224 pounds.
- We didn’t get athletic testing numbers on him, but turn on the tape and it’s clear that he’s a plus athlete.
- Lance set his own protections and made full-field reads at North Dakota State. And he just turned 21 in May.
- “His physical traits, poise and intelligence are a rare package for his age and meager experience,” The Athletic’s Dane Brugler wrote in his scouting report on Lance.
- Pro Football Focus: “In an utterly loaded class, Lance may have more pure physical talent than all of these QBs.”
- QB Jimmy Garoppolo remains on the 49ers’ roster as of mid-June. But expect to see Lance on the field sooner than later.
- 14 QBs were selected with a top-5 pick between 2011 and 2020. 9 of them were named Week 1 starters, and 11 of them started at least 12 games as rookies.
- Lance will find himself in a nice situation under HC Kyle Shanahan and with plenty of weapons.
- The 49ers have ranked top 15 in passing yards and yards per pass attempt in all 4 seasons with Shanahan at the helm. That’s despite a rotating cast at QB of Garoppolo, Nick Mullens, C.J. Beathard and Brian Hoyer.
- Shanahan also has experience with a dual-threat QB. He was OC in Washington for QB Robert Griffin’s first 2 seasons. RG3 finished 7th among QBs in fantasy points as a rookie and 13th in points per game the following year.
- Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel are talented, ascending WRs. George Kittle remains 1 of the top TEs in the league. All 3 guys are excellent after the catch, which will make Lance’s job easier.
Draft Sharks Bottom Line:
We’ll see how Lance fares in training camp and preseason action, but bet on him taking over as the 49ers’ starter early in the season -- potentially by Week 1.
Whenever the rookie hits the field, he’ll boast big fantasy upside thanks to the combination of his rushing ability, HC Kyle Shanahan’s scheme and a talented pass-catching trio of Brandon Aiyuk, Deebo Samuel and George Kittle.