The San Francisco 49ers have made it clear that Jimmy Garoppolo will remain the team’s starting quarterback for the present despite taking Trey Lance with the No. 3 overall pick in the NFL Draft this spring.
But that doesn’t mean that Lance isn’t beginning to turn heads already in 49ers camp.
“He’s looked tremendous,” 49ers G.M. John Lynch said on the Adam Schefter Podcast, via David Bonilla of 49ersWebZone.com. “He really has. I think what’s been most impressive about Trey, everyone wants to talk about physical traits, but the way he approaches his job, he’s a pro in its truest sense.
“We’ve got a lot of guys who love the game and are willing to do the necessary things to prepare, and I think Trey really is an embodiment of that. And he’s looking good on the field too.”
Lance’s athleticism showed in Tuesday’s practice as he tossed a 50-yard touchdown rolling to his left against his body, via Dieter Kurtenbach of the San Jose Mercury News.
But Lynch added that Lance’s presence has also brought out the best from their incumbent starter in Garoppolo.
“Jimmy’s a big-time competitor, and we haven’t played a game yet, but in practice in the offseason and practice in training camp thus far, he’s played his best football since he’s been here, and he’s played a lot of good football. Just look at his record,” Lynch said.
“[Garoppolo] really is playing at a high level, and I don’t want to talk about it too much, as I’m doing so in front of millions of people, but it’s something everyone’s recognizing. He’s really playing at a high level, and that’s what competitors do. When they’re challenged, they rise to the occasion, and I think he’s doing a great job of that.”
Garoppolo has been plenty productive when he’s been available. He just hasn’t been available enough as he’s missed 23 games over the last three seasons with the 49ers. The one year he remained healthy they went to the Super Bowl.
If the eventual hand-off from Garoppolo to Lance can be as seamless as the one from Alex Smith to Patrick Mahomes in Kansas City, the 49ers could be in a great position. Perhaps Lance finds a way to elbow his way into the starting role sooner.