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A legitimate quarterback battle is set to unfold in
San Francisco Santa Clara this summer as the 49ers try to figure out the position for 2023. Where the start of training camp was once set to be a showcase for Trey Lance, he will now have Brock Purdy breathing down his neck the entire time.
Lance, the former No. 3 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, was a project. It was always going to be that way.
The 6-foot-4, 224-pound former North Dakota State quarterback won the FCS’ version of the Heisman Trophy, but needed to develop on the next level. Unfortunately, after serving as the backup as a rookie, Lance lost the majority of the 2022 season to ankle surgery.
In his place, after Jimmy Garoppolo also went down, Purdy became a breakout star. As the final pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, the former Iowa State signal-caller stepped into the starting job and won 10 of his first 12 games while throwing for 1,374 yards and 13 touchdowns with just four picks.
His only two losses were to the eventual Super Bowl participants.
Now, as San Francisco looks ahead to the fall, it would make sense that Purdy returns as the incumbent starter. He earned that right, and general manager John Lynch agrees. As does George Kittle.
However, Purdy suffered an injury to his UCL in the NFC Championship that left him unable to throw during the loss to Philadelphia and required surgery. Fortunately, it was not Tommy John.
Brock Purdy and Trey Lance will both be at full go for the 49ers.
For a little while there, it seemed as though Lance was going to get the chance to be the only healthy quarterback during training camp while Purdy recovered. The plan was for the latter to start throwing at/around the first week of June, with a full recovery by the middle/end of training camp.
To the delight of the 49ers, it sounds like he is on track to be back before then.
In turn, barring any setbacks with either quarterback, Purdy and Lance will both be able to participate fully in training camp. It gives the team a legitimate chance to evaluate both guys, in full.