When you’re a third overall draft pick and lining up behind center for the San Francisco 49ers in the future, best believe there will be hype and scrutiny from fans and national NFL analysts.
And there’ll be the one analyst who delivers that major comparison to a Pro Bowler — which was what the NFL Network’s Brian Baldinger did on Friday, February 18 for Trey Lance.
“Baldy” took an early dive into what Lance brings to the table and 49ers offense especially from a football mechanics standpoint. But “Baldy” discovered some similarities in Lance’s current game that becomes comparable to the trajectory of one decorated AFC passer — the kind of comparison that should widen the eyes and leave enough to convince the 49ers faithful that they’re in good hands for the future.
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Baldinger Identified Similarities to Pro Bowl QB
Which quarterback did Baldinger link Lance to? Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen.
That’s right: The 2020 Pro Bowler, the Second Team All-Pro from that same season and the franchise quarterback for the Bills who has guided three consecutive postseason appearances for the team that drafted him No. 7 overall in 2018.
Baldinger, though, zeroed in on where Lance can get better as a passer.
“On this third-and-4 with no play action, you’ve got to make the throw and he’s got to become more accurate,” Baldinger said in highlighting an incomplete throw in his action versus the Seattle Seahawks at home from the 2021 season (mentioned at the one minute mark of the film). “But on the throw, this is something he’s got to work on: He’s got a wind-up…a little bit too big of a windup when he makes this throw. He’s got to get tighter. He’s going to get the ball knocked out of his hands and guys are going to read you and he’s got to read the defense a little bit better.”
Long story short, “Baldy” suggest a tighter wind-up and quicker release for Lance moving forward — which can improve Lance’s 57.7 completion percentage from his rookie year.
Allen, ironically, had similar qualities when he entered the league out of the University of Wyoming. Scouts fell in love with his cannon arm and mobility, but also saw flaws in his accuracy and completion percentage during his collegiate years.
Allen, in his last two seasons in Laramie, produced a completion percentage that never went higher than 56.3%. His first two seasons in the league also saw similar low percentage numbers: 52.8 his rookie year and 58.8 his second season. But since then? Allen has improved to 69.2 (2020) and 63.3 this past season.
Is ‘Baldy’ Convinced Lance can Thrive?
Count Baldinger as an analyst who is on board in being convinced about the future of Lance.
“I think he’s got a lot of tools,” Baldinger said on 95.7 The Game’s Damon & Ratto on Saturday. “He’s got a big arm, he’s got mobility, he looks like he can read a defense albeit sometimes he doesn’t see everything that’s out there to be seen. I think he learned a lot watching, I would have played him more than what they played him.”
Baldinger also saw enough in two starts that persuades him that Lance is worth the excitement.
“In his two starts, I thought he was better against Houston than he was against Arizona. I see where Kyle (Shanahan) has suggested that he goes down and start working on some mechanics, just tighten up the motion which I think would really help him as far as release and things like that. But I’m excited for the future of Trey Lance,” Baldinger said.