Trey Lance is entering year three in San Francisco and has suited up for eight games and started just half of them. Multiple injuries coupled with the emergence of Brock Purdy during the second half of last season has built some doubt around the former No. 3 overall pick. With Purdy’s status up in the air recovering from offseason UCL surgery, Lance has the opportunity to battle Sam Darnold in training camp. Nothing is guaranteed for either player, but this might be Lance’s last chance to show the 49ers they didn’t miss on drafting him so high.
These training hype videos we’ve seen become the norm on social media do an excellent job of building up buzz around players, especially when returning from serious injuries. Ultimately, all it amounts to is hype, and they don’t always translate to the field or court. Just look at all the training videos we get almost every summer of Ben Simmons in the NBA. All those angles of him hooping on non-NBA players and shooting threes over guys, then come the regular season (when he even suits up), we barely see a fraction of what he did in those clips.
Lance’s situation isn’t exactly the same, as he’s only sat out games due to being hurt. But we’re quickly reaching the point of it being time to poop or get off the pot very soon. Whether Lance ends up starting games in 2023 or not, he’s got to give head coach Kyle Shanahan a reason to keep him around. Trade rumors have been hovering around Lance for some time, although general manager John Lynch has shot those down. Although it wouldn’t be shocking if there was some truth to those rumors.
If Lance goes into camp against only Darnold and fails to beat him out, that could be all she wrote. Darnold is another former No. 3 overall pick (2018) who failed in New York with the Jets and the Carolina Panthers. In five years as a pro, Darnold has finished with a completion percentage above 60 one time. It’s remarkable when you sit back and think that San Francisco has two guys selected top three in the NFL draft, and they could both end up taking a back seat to Mr. Irrelevant once Purdy is cleared to return.