As the regular season is fast approaching and the two quarterbacks taken before Trey Lance have been named as the starters of their teams, one has to ask – – has San Francisco mortgaged their future for someone who is looked at as nothing more than a zone read gadget player?
Did San Francisco make the decision to trade all of that draft premium for a player that is nothing more than another Taysom Hill in New Orleans?
Hill was an undrafted free agent.
Jacksonville pushed all their chips up and doubled down on quarterback (QB) Trevor Lawrence, by trading their veteran security blanket Gardner Minshew to the Philadelphia Eagles recently for a conditional sixth round pick.
New York made the strongest commitment of all three teams by going with two unprovens (who have never taken an NFL snap) to back-up QB Zach Wilson from day one.
However, the 49ers have kept QB Jimmy Garoppolo hanging around.
Why is San Francisco not willing to fully commit to Lance as their starter?
Has it been because of the streaky hot and cold play of Lance through the three preseason games?
Or is it because the 49ers’ brass is seeing Lance for what I saw him in my pre-draft scouting report and instead of admitting it – – they are doing damage control by trying to “sprinkle him in the offense here and there” to hide his non-repairable deficiencies?
Outside of a couple nice Sports Center highlight throws, Lance has really struggled with his accuracy and consistency, he has taken too many sacks (and he has shown a propensity to fumble) and he threw one interception. However, Lance could have easily turned the ball over eight times this preseason.
Lance has thrown a hard ball to catch at times too – – throwing the most dropped passes (10) of any QB in the league during the preseason. Some of his passes were thrown too hard short range and some have come off his hand looking wobbly and have been harder to catch. Of course the announcers blamed the receivers, but those were bad passes. I counted four of those dying duck throws that came off his hand with bad rotation.
The question begs to be asked as the preseason has now shaked out, did San Francisco give up too much for Lance?
What was the real reason for San Francisco panicking and giving up the farm to get Lance with the third overall pick?
Everyone seems to be in awe that Lance can come in the game and run the option here and there, has everyone been fooled into forgetting the team mortgaged their future to get him?
When a team traded three number ones they should be getting an elite plug-in franchise QB, not some part-time gadget player who is proving he does not have what it takes to be a starter.
San Francisco could have gotten a number of athletic option type QB’s who could have easily been low round picks or free agent types and they could have run their two-QB system with and sprinkled it in with Garoppolo just the same and still have their first round draft picks for the next two years.
Tim Tebow would have been perfect to “sprinkle in” and run Shanahan’s version of a two QB system that would give opposing defenses more to think about and prepare for. He could have done the same exact thing Lance is doing.
San Francisco could have also just patiently sat at 12 and grabbed Alabama’s Mac Jones, before Bill Belichick could get him at 15. So far, we can all see the Jones’ pick has played out to look brilliant as he has looked the best of the entire draft class this preseason.
That only makes Shanahan and Lynch look even worse.
It is no mystery in the National Football League, that struggling head coaches and general managers will sometimes make a splash and draft a high profile QB in the first round to “stop the bleeding.” In other words, they will draft someone like a Trey Lance high in the first round to buy time and to take more of the owner’s money “by living off the potential” for as long as possible.
With Shanahan and Lynch coming off three out of four losing seasons in San Francisco plus the seemingly failed Jimmy G. experiment – – is that what they have done?
Is that what this is all really about?
Daniel Kelly is a former NFL scout with the New York Jets. He was hired on the regime which featured Bill Parcells, Bill Belichick, Scott Pioli, Mike Tannenbaum, and Dick Haley. He currently writes for Sports Illustrated Detroit Lions and he is a contributing evaluator for Draft Diamonds. For more information about him visit his website at whateverittakesbook.com. He can be followed on Twitter @danielkellybook and his Facebook page is WHATEVER IT TAKES NFL TALK.