It came with time.
And during an appearance on “radio row” with Yahoo Sports’ Liz Loza and Los Angeles Chargers running back Austin Ekeler’s show “Ekeler’s Edge” on Wednesday, February 9, Samuel addressed another 49er who will be entering the 2022 season with high expectations: Trey Lance.
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Keys to Lance’s Success
The All-Pro Samuel shared two keys that can assist the incoming second-year signal-caller and No. 3 overall pick from the 2021 NFL Draft.
The first key: Take what he learned from his predecessor Jimmy Garoppolo.
“I think Jimmy played a major role in helping Trey become a pro and showing him the ins and outs of the league and showing him what it takes to be the guy. Because Jimmy was the guy for us for three years,” Samuel explained.
While Garoppolo saw the turnovers and criticism pileup on him during his 49ers’ tenure, he still quarterbacked S.F. to two NFC title game appearances in three seasons — winning the January 2020 game against the Green Bay Packers.
But then came the next key Samuel revealed that can assist Lance in his own NFL career: It involves following the plan he followed when he came to the 49ers.
“I think Trey can be a superstar in this league. But the things that he has to learn is this is officially (his) first offseason. I know (head coach) Kyle (Shanahan) is going to do a good job of putting a plan together in order for him to be the guy that we need him to be, because (49ers receiver coach) Wes Welker did that to me,” Samuel shared. “And I think it helped me become the player I am. Because once you have that schedule of what you need to do, how you need to do it, it takes you a long way. And once you get that down, I feel like he’ll be able to get the job done.”
Does Samuel Have High Expectations for Lance?
Once Lance takes the quarterback reins — which points to being the fall 2022 period with the franchise pointing toward trading Garoppolo — the former North Dakota State Bison star will be walking into a not-so-ordinary quarterback situation.
For one, he’s taking over a position that has produced Hall of Famers and Super Bowl champions. And another, he’s lining up for a franchise that fell in the NFC title game to the Los Angeles Rams by three points.
There’s already talent, especially youthful abundance, in place for Lance should he take over. Samuel will be in his fourth season, Brandon Aiyuk blossomed toward the end of the season, George Kittle is in his prime and not even in his 30s and the team drafted a sixth round steal in leading rusher Elijah Mitchell.
But Samuel told Rhett Lewis and James Jones of the NFL Network on Wednesday that time is another major key for Lance.
“With time comes greatness,” Samuel said. “With time, Trey is going to become the player that everybody thinks he can be. In my opinion, I think Trey will be a superstar in this league.”