49ers fans can finally take a deep sigh of relief. With the third pick, the 49ers selected quarterback Trey Lance — finally bringing an end to months of speculation among 49ers fans.
The North Dakota State quarterback claims he was just as surprised as the rest of the league and fans, saying, “It was kind of a surreal feeling, especially not knowing what the situation was going to be going into it. You never knew until you knew.” Head coach Kyle Shanahan was under the impression that Lance may have had a hunch that he would be the pick based on previous interactions that had taken place, but as the 49ers Twitter account put it best, there were “no leaks, just a little drip.”
Through an offseason of speculation around Jimmy Garoppolo, endless mock drafts, infatuation amongst 49ers fans for a new quarterback seemingly every week — all of that was thrown for a loop when the 49ers decided to trade up for the third pick in March. One thing seemed for certain — John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan had to have known who they were willing to trade up for and needed to secure that pick at three, instead of their original pick 12.
And, thus, the speculation continued. In comes Ohio State’s Justin Fields, Alabama’s Mac Jones, and Trey Lance, who in most recent weeks, seemed to be the sleeper pick for many. While the talent of Lance was never in question, Fields seemed to be the most go-ahead pick of the three major quarterbacks left, after it became more evident that Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson would become the first two picks of the draft. For the majority of the fanbase, Jones was never the pick, which left most to look to Fields over Lance, as it seems Lance could benefit from more development before he takes the QB1 position. Again, with trade talks surrounding Garoppolo, and that is not to say they don’t anymore, most, myself included — saw Fields as the number three pick.
However, I don’t think fans are at all disappointed about Lance, nor should they be. Personally, I am ecstatic with the pick and am beyond looking forward to how he steps into the position — whether that be behind Garappolo or any other scenario. The fact that the pick was able to stay as iron-clad as it did had to have made it that much sweeter for Lance. And it also pointed to how quickly narratives can change amongst fans, analysts, and 49ers fans have gotten to know how the mind of Kyle Shanahan works. Lance has reportedly been the pick for some time, with that staying exclusive to Shanahan and Lynch up until draft day.
And, in true Shanahan fashion, while fans and analysts were clamoring for any piece of evidence that could have pointed to the future QB of the 49ers, he simply enjoyed the show: “to watch that happen and to kind of watch everyone just assume, because a couple people say something, that’s exactly how you feel, we weren’t going to work to correct that. At all. I thought that could be an advantage for us.”