NFL Draft 2021: With the third overall pick, the San Francisco 49ers select Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota

The San Francisco 49ers' pick is in.
The San Francisco 49ers' pick is in.
Kyle Heim

The San Francisco 49ers have a new quarterback, and it's not Alabama's Mac Jones. With the third overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, the 49ers selected North Dakota State quarterback Trey Lance.

Before San Francisco made the selection, ESPN's Mel Kiper called the pick "the mystery of the draft." It's no longer a mystery.

How does Trey Lance help the 49ers in his first year?

If Trey Lance’s lone season as a starter for North Dakota State in 2019 is an indication of his future, he’ll have a chance to be a star in the NFL.

After redshirting his freshman season, Lance led the Bison in a record-setting 2019 campaign that culminated in a Football Championship Subdivision National Championship and a perfect 16-0 record.

The dual-threat quarterback passed for 2,786 yards and 28 touchdowns while completing 66.9 percent of his pass attempts without throwing an interception. He set the NCAA all-division record for most passing attempts in a complete season without an interception with 287.

Lance added 1,100 yards on 169 rushing attempts and 14 rushing touchdowns. His 6.51 yards per carry was the 10th best mark in FCS. The Bison quarterback also set school records in passing efficiency, 180.6, and total offensive yards, 3,886.

Lance played in North Dakota State’s only game in 2020 against Central Arkansas on Oct. 3, accounting for four touchdowns and 143 rushing yards before announcing his intentions of declaring for the NFL Draft.

He ended his career with the Bison with a 17-0 record and threw his first interception against Central Arkansas after making 307 consecutive attempts without a pick.

Trey Lance has a chance to succeed on offensive-friendly 49ers

When the 49ers decide to make Trey Lance the starter, he will play behind an offensive line that finished in the top 10 last season, according to Pro Football Focus, and is anchored by Pro Bowl left tackle Trent Williams.

He’ll also have dynamic wide receivers Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk along with one of the best tight ends in the game in George Kittle.

If he lands the starting gig, Lance will have an opportunity to compete for Offensive Rookie of the Year.

The 49ers have seven picks remaining in the draft:

  • Round 2, pick 43
  • Round 4, pick 117
  • Round 5, pick 155
  • Round 5, pick 172
  • Round 5, pick 180
  • Round 6, pick 194
  • Round 7, pick 230

Edited by Jay Lokegaonkar
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