He had nothing but high praise for the Niners’ future starting signal-caller and one thing that repeatedly stood out to him during these practices was his natural athleticism, which is a rare sight at the QB position.
“It was cool, just watching him how he played in the pocket, he was very natural with how he’d move around in there and still stay a quarterback and be able to scan the field and go through some progressions and when stuff broke down, he very quickly could turn himself into an athlete and go from a quarterback to a runner,” Shanahan told The Athletic’s Tim Kawakami during an appearance on “The TK Show”. “But it’s always neat when you watch a guy who’s got that athletic ability who still, especially at the level that he played at, he was able to take over games with his legs a lot, but he never forced it. He sits there and scans the field and really can play in the pocket and then he can play from numbers to numbers when he gets outside of it.”
There were a handful of top-notch rookie quarterbacks that the 49ers were thinking about when they decided to trade up to the No. 3 overall spot in this year’s NFL draft. However, it was Lance’s dual-threat capabilities that stood out amongst the others.
ALL the latest 49ers news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on 49ers newsletter here!
Kyle Shanahan Still Confident in Jimmy Garoppolo
Jimmy Garoppolo, who will turn 30 this season, has struggled to stay healthy over the three seasons in the Bay Area and has missed a total of 23 games.
Despite his health remaining a big question mark, the 49ers have full belief in Garoppolo as their starter next season. The reasoning? The Niners are more likely to win with Jimmy G. leading the team. When Garoppolo is available to start, the 49ers’ record jumps to 24-9, and without him, they hold just a 6-17 record.
Shanahan wants to look at Lance as more of a secret weapon who can offer a different kind of game than Garoppolo’s.
“I do believe Jimmy has those skills from a throwing standpoint,” Shanahan said. “I think Jimmy can make every throw. But I think the obvious difference is when you have a quarterback who is a run threat — and that’s not against Jimmy, that’s against all the quarterbacks that we have — there are some guys who can scramble and stuff, but there’s also some guys that you can actually pull inside and run for. And when you can do that, or you have the threat of it, which any time you’re pretty much in shotgun or any time you’re in a pistol formation, the defense has to account for him.”
A dual-threat QB has been non-existent in the 49ers offense since Shanahan took over the team in 2017.
Lance is the Niners’ Bonus QB
It’s also notable that the Niners have not had a solid backup since Shanahan started calling the shots, but that all changes now.
Garoppolo will get another chance as the starter this season as he is the more equipped and experienced one, but Lance will be developing behind him and waiting patiently for his shining moment.
And when that day comes, get ready for the opposing defense to get thrown off balance.
“My thing with Trey was it was just a different aspect of football,” Shanahan added. “I just wanted the element that he could bring. And I wouldn’t have been impressed with the running element if I didn’t believe that he could be a quarterback from the pocket. So, you’ve got to have that skill set too, as I said, get in the club. But when you have the bonus of running, that’s kind of what I got so intrigued with.”
Lance finished his only one full season at NDSU notching 1,000-yard rushing season while also throwing for 2,786 yards. And that’s what Niners Nation has to look forward to.
- Future Hall of Famer ‘Would Love’ to Return to the 49ers
- 49ers’ Jimmy Garoppolo Drops in Chris Simms’s Top 40 QB Rankings
- 49ers Lose Two Impact Players to Season-Ending Injuries: Report