During the 2021 season, Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow had the NFL world cushioned softly in the palm of his hand after dramatically leading his 4-11-1 team to an AFC championship. The league seemed smitten with this second-year player after he had his rookie season snapped short due to injury, abruptly ending his campaign for NFL’s Offensive Rookie of the Year award.
Thanks to Burrow’s second-year turnaround, people are wondering who is going to show their worth during their sophomore year in the pros the same way the former LSU golden boy did?
Bleacher Report composed a list of five quarterbacks who carry the potential to have a similar break-out during their “second and third” year as Burrow did.
And guess who is No. 1?
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Trey Lance – someone who has yet to be announced as the team’s starting QB.
Lance Named ‘Most Mysterious’ of the 2021 Class
According to Bleacher Report, Lance “still remains the most mysterious” in a group that includes New England Patriots’ Mac Jones, Miami Dolphins’ Tue Tagovailoa, Jacksonville Jaguars’ Trevor Lawrence and Houston Texans’ Davis Mills.
“We did not get to see much of the North Dakota State product last season,” B/R’s Alex Ballentine wrote. “With Jimmy Garoppolo leading the team to an NFC Championship Game, Lance only saw the field in six games, starting two and throwing for five touchdowns to two interceptions.”
B/R then went on to compare the relationship between Garoppolo and the 22-year-old akin to the relationship between former Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith and now superstar Patrick Mahomes.
“Mahomes sat behind Smith for a year and ended up hitting the ground running, throwing for over 5,000 yards with 50 touchdowns and an MVP trophy,” Ballentine wrote.
During 49ers mandatory minicamp on June 7, the newest addition to the team, veteran cornerback Charvarius Ward, was asked if there were any similarities between Lance and Mahomes, whom Ward played with for four years on the Chiefs.
“Both of them are going to be great quarterbacks,” Ward said. “They’re light-skinned quarterbacks. That’s the similarities”
The Biggest Question Mark
Bleacher Report pointed out that Lance will have “proven weapons” when it comes to running back Deebo Samuel, tight end George Kittle and head coach Kyle Shanahan’s run game that will help him earn that “like-Mahomes status,” but this isn’t about Mahomes – this is about Burrow.
And when talking about Burrow, one needs to bring up the Cincinnati offensive line, which was one of the worst in the league when the second-year quarterback managed to claw his way to the Super Bowl.
49ers Webzone argued that the San Francisco offensive line became worse during this offseason thanks to losing Laken Tomlinson to the New York Jets, Tom Compton to the Denver Broncos and Alex Mack to retirement. With those three, along with Trent Williams and Daniel Brunskill, the 49ers ranked third in the league during the regular season, according to PFF.
Cincinnati ranked No. 20.
And yet still managed to make it to the big stage.
While we have yet to see who Shanahan goes with when it comes to protecting Lance, the ranking of the O-line will still have to take a significant tumble.