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Contrary to the expectations that a No. 3 overall draft pick should be slated for a starting role ASAP, the San Francisco 49ers are protecting their long-term investment in rookie Trey Lance by confidently announcing veteran Jimmy Garoppolo as their official starter for 2021.
Going 3-3 in a rough six games in 2020, Garoppolo threw for 1,096 passing yards — with an underwhelming 7-5 TD to INT ratio — on a 49ers team keen on returning to the Super Bowl after a loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.
Similar to division rival Los Angeles Rams, who replaced Jared Goff and are reaping the benefits of a massive trade deal with early talks of a deep playoff run, San Francisco found a new QB to elevate the team. However, their prime pick from the 2021 NFL Draft that may not see the starter’s role until 2022.
“Trey’s had seven practices with us, and I haven’t seen him in 40 days, so I’m not thinking about that right now,” Shanahan said regarding his rookie QB, in an interview with Matt Maiocco. “There’s no open competition right now in terms of equal reps with the same group … Jimmy is coming in as the one, and Trey is coming in as the two.”
Still boasting a top-tier defense in 2020 that landed defensive coordinator Robert Saleh a head coaching role, the 49ers were evidently a quarterback short of becoming a playoff team. With remnants of the Super Bowl 54 roster, minus a loss of DeForest Buckner (2020 All-Pro DT) via trade, the 49ers and coach Kyle Shanahan decided that an urgency with upgrading the position would give them renewed playoff hopes. Which isn’t far from current predictions on Lance, should he see the field.
Announced early Wednesday, via Adam Schefter, the 49ers officially signed their 2021 first-round pick to a four-year, $34.1 million fully-guaranteed deal.