Trey Lance

Washington Interested In Trey Lance?

On Day 1 of the legal tampering period, Washington moved to add its bridge quarterback. Ryan Fitzpatrick joins Kyle Allen and Taylor Heinicke on Washington’s roster, and while he will have to win a competition for the QB1 job, it is expected Fitz will be the team’s starter. But Alex Smith‘s injury and Dwayne Haskins‘ quick exit leaves Washington without a long-term option. They may use this draft to acquire one.

Washington “loves” Trey Lance as a prospect and may be willing to part with considerable assets to acquire him, The Athletic’s Michael Lombardi said during his latest GM Shuffle podcast. Lance is expected to be drafted somewhere in the top 10. Washington holds the No. 19 overall pick.

[RELATED: Trey Lance To Stage Second Pro Day]

How much capital Washington would be willing to part with for Lance may depend on how the draft unfolds, but moving up from No. 19 into Lance range may mean climbing 15 spots to No. 4 overall. Although the Chiefs and Texans made similar trades for Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson in 2017 — Kansas City climbing from No. 27 to No. 10 and Houston moving from No. 25 to No. 12 — and gave up just one future first-rounder to make those jumps (the Chiefs also threw in a third), the 49ers trading up from 12 to 3 this year took their 2021, ’22 and ’23 first-rounders and a 2021 third. The Falcons are open to dealing their No. 4 choice, but Washington would likely have to sacrifice future first-rounders and change to acquire that pick.

It does not sound like the Bengals are willing to trade down from No. 5 to 19. Were Lance to drop to No. 6, the Dolphins may be interested in accumulating another haul of picks. The rebuilding Lions (No. 7) would surely listen as well, should the North Dakota State prospect fall that far. The Panthers have indicated they are still interested in QBs at No. 8, even though Sam Darnold is Charlotte-bound, and the Broncos have not made a move to bolster their position. Denver has started an NFL-high 10 quarterbacks since 2016, and GM George Paton indicated the team will bolster its QB group this offseason.

Of course, the 49ers could render all of this moot if their trade-up was for Lance. Mac Jones has emerged as the early clubhouse leader to go third overall, but Lance is not out of the picture. Both Lance and Justin Fields will hold second pro days, seemingly with the partial purpose of Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch — who were not present at either’s initial workout — traveling to watch.

While a move into the top 10 would be costly, Washington does reside in an unusual situation. The team tried to land a long-term option by trading for Smith and extending him in 2018. After Smith’s injury, the team selected Haskins a year later. Haskins is now in Pittsburgh, having seen his stock crater after two rough Washington seasons. Fitzpatrick will turn 39 in December, and Allen and Heinicke are ex-UDFAs either coming off a major injury (Allen) or were out of football entering last season (Heinicke). Washington attempted to trade its first-rounder and change for Matthew Stafford and inquired on Darnold.

Lance is one of the most unusual prospects in modern draft history, having played one season at a Division I-FCS school. The 20-year-old QB played 17 college games, flashing immense promise as a dual-threat talent (28 TD passes, zero INTs, 1,100 rushing yards in 2019), but his profile points to him benefiting from a season developing in a backup role. With Fitzpatrick signed to a one-year deal, Washington could offer such an arrangement.

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Trey Lance Set For Second Pro Day

Trey Lance’s second pro day has been officially scheduled. The North Dakota State product will show his stuff on April 19th, as ESPN.com’s Chris Mortensen tweets

[RELATED: Fields Set For Pro Day No. 2]

Lance will re-take the field ten days before the draft and five days after Ohio State’s Justin Fields holds his second session on Wednesday, April 14. 49ers GM John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan did not attend Lance’s first session, so the hope is that they’ll show up for pro day part two. The Niners haven’t necessarily ruled out Lance. That showcase came before SF traded for the No. 3 overall pick, so Lynch and Shanahan kept their distance in order to keep their plans under wraps.

Depending on who you ask, Lance may be trailing Alabama’s Mac Jones in the bid to be drafted third overall. Still, Lance offers tons of potential, as demonstrated in his 2019 season. That year, Lance went off for 28 passing touchdowns, zero interceptions, and 1,100 yards on the ground.

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Trey Lance Expected To Hold Second Pro Day

Trey Lance has successfully parlayed one season at the Division I-FCS level into a top-10 draft value. The North Dakota State quarterback is expected to be one of the first players chosen this year, but the unusual prospect is on track give teams another chance to study him soon.

While North Dakota State has not yet scheduled a second pro day for Lance, Matt Barrows of The Athletic notes another Lance workout is expected to take place (subscription required). Linked to making such preparations along with Justin Fields, Lance will follow Fields in this regard. The Ohio State prospect is planning to work out for teams again April 14.

John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan did not attend Lance’s pro day last month. The showcase came before San Francisco had acquired the No. 3 overall pick, and the franchise’s power duo did not want to invite suspicion about their plans before the team acquired the pick. It should then be expected 49ers brass will be on hand to watch Lance this time. No private workouts can take place leading up to this draft, with the COVID-19 pandemic nixing those for a second straight year.

Mac Jones has emerged as the early clubhouse leader to be drafted third overall. Jones would be expected to play behind Jimmy Garoppolo as a rookie, should the incumbent remain on the team in a Jones-to-San Francisco scenario. Lance would profile as a player who would benefit further by sitting for at least one season. Lance started as a freshman, leading the Bison to another FCS title, and played in one game as a sophomore before declaring for the draft. The 6-foot-3, 224-pound prospect dominated in his one season of competition (28 TD passes, no INTs, 1,100 rushing yards) but carries no experience against high-end college competition and will enter the NFL after a sophomore season that the pandemic nullified.

Should the 49ers pass on Lance at No. 3, he would be an option for a Falcons team that appears to be split on drafting a quarterback or the best non-QB available at No. 4. A host of teams would be on the trade-up radar for the two QBs that do not go in the top three, with the 2022 quarterback class (as of now) not generating considerable buzz.

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West Notes: M. Jones, Seahawks, Clinton-Dix

It has been looking increasingly likely that the 49ers will draft Alabama passer Mac Jones with the No. 3 overall pick of this year’s draft, and ESPN’s Adam Schefter said just yesterday that Jones would be the Niners’ pick. But Tony Pauline of Pro Football Network isn’t as convinced. On a recent PFN Draft Insiders podcast (link), Pauline said he is hearing that whether San Francisco goes with Jones or one of Justin Fields or Trey Lance is a 50-50 proposition.

Of course, this time of year is notorious for false leaks and misinformation, but the Niners are at least doing their due diligence on Fields. The Ohio State QB will hold a second pro day, and 49ers HC Kyle Shanahan and GM John Lynch are expected to attend.

Now for a few more West-related items:

  • The 49ers have hosted DL Ronald Blair on a visit, as ESPN’s Field Yates tweets. Blair, whom the Niners selected in the fifth round of the 2016 draft, was a useful piece of the team’s pass rush rotation during his first few years in the league, but he suffered a torn ACL in November 2019, and it was later revealed that the ensuing surgery was not successful. Though he re-upped with San Francisco on a one-year deal last March, he did not play in a single game in 2020.
  • Cornerback Quinton Dunbar recently signed with the Lions, but the Seahawks wanted to retain him, per Brady Henderson of ESPN.com (via Twitter). Seattle has lost both Dunbar and Shaquill Griffin in free agency, and though the club did bring Ahkello Witherspoon aboard, CB is still an area of need.
  • The Seahawks continue to seek offensive line depth. According to Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network, Seattle visited with guard Cody Wichmann today (Twitter link). Wichmann, a sixth-round pick of the Rams in 2015, has managed to land a couple of reserve/futures contracts and a spot on the Cowboys’ practice squad in 2018, but he hasn’t played in a regular season game since 2016. He has 18 career starts to his credit.
  • After the first few weeks of the new league year, the Raiders still have a glaring need at safety, but they don’t seem too worried about it. According to Vic Tafur of The Athletic, the only FA safety Vegas was in on early was Rayshawn Jenkins, who inked a four-year, $35MM deal with the Jaguars. Players like Kenny Vaccaro, Duron Harmon, and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix remain available, and the Raiders actually had Clinton-Dix in for a visit in March. Tafur suggests that the 28-year-old may have an offer in hand from Vegas and could be waiting for the market to pick back up before agreeing to a deal.

NFL Draft Prospect Profile: North Dakota State QB Trey Lance

After just 17 starts at North Dakota State, quarterback Trey Lance is ready to turn pro. He also barely played in 2020 after NDSU nixed the season, but his tremendous 2019 season is still fresh in everyone’s minds. He may be green, and he’s yet to celebrate his 21st birthday, but Lance figures to be one of the first names called in the 2021 draft.

[RELATED: NFL Draft Prospect Profile — Florida TE Kyle Pitt]

Lance arrived on campus in 2018 and attempted just one pass as a frosh. In 2019, he ascended to the starting job and put himself squarely on the NFL radar. As a sophomore, Lance threw for 2,786 yards, 28 touchdowns, and zero interceptions. Meanwhile, NDSU took full advantage of his running ability as he racked up 1,110 rushing yards off of 169 carries, good for a 6.5 average per attempt. In 2020, he led the Bison to a 39-28 comeback victory in their lone game against Central Arkansas. Despite the rust, he rattled off 143 rushing yards on 15 carries. He also threw the first interception of his collegiate career, but that can certainly be forgiven.

Aside from Trevor Lawrence, many feel that Lance is the most NFL-ready QB of this year’s bunch. Still shy of legal drinking age, Lance is known for putting in lots of film room time, and that showed throughout his ’19 season. Just a few months ago, Lance was seen as a second-tier QB, a consolation prize for middle-of-the-order teams missing out on Lawrence, BYU’s Zach Wilson and Ohio State’s Justin Fields. Now, he’s very much in the same conversation.

So, where will Lance land? Some saw him as a fit for the 49ers after their move up to No. 3, but there’s increasing chatter that they’ll go with Alabama’s Mac Jones instead. Unlike Lance, Jones was able to provide lots of footage for evaluators last year as he set a new national record by completing 77.4% of his throws. He lacks the mobility of Lance, but the Niners may see him as the safer choice of the two.

For the other QB-needy teams on the board, Lance offers tantalizing upside. If Lance can adjust to the pro game and work from the pocket a bit more, the sky is the limit. Falcons GM Terry Fontenot probably recognizes that, which is why he’s reportedly hesitant to pass up a Matt Ryan successor at No. 4. And, if the Falcons trade the pick, there’s a good chance that the team moving up will be eyeing Lance. Right now, it seems like the No. 3 pick is Lance’s ceiling. And, while floors are always hard to peg, it would be a surprise to see him get past No. 7. If the Lions don’t use that pick to take Jared Goff‘s successor, another team could slide in to get their preferred passer.

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Falcons GM, HC Split On Drafting QB?

Earlier this morning, we heard that the Falcons were open to moving down from the fourth overall pick. Now, we have some more details on what’s happening inside the building.

Atlanta’s new GM Terry Fontenot apparently favors drafting a quarterback, while new head coach Arthur Smith does not, Chris Mortensen of ESPN reported recently, via Evan Birchfield of The Falcoholic. “What I’m hearing is that [Terry] Fontenot is more focused on quarterback, and Arthur Smith believes that Matt Ryan does have two or more years left,” Mortensen said.

While that big split between a GM and head coach in their first year together might not be ideal, it doesn’t sound like the situation has turned toxic or anything. The fact that Atlanta is open to moving the pick would seem to indicate that Smith’s view might be winning out.

He has no real medical history, he hasn’t missed many games in his career and there hasn’t been a big drop off in his play,” Mortensen said of Smith’s view of Ryan. Interestingly, Mortensen also had some info on who the Falcons might pick if Fontenot gets his way.

One thing I do hear though is that if they do go quarterback at No. 4, then Trey Lance is probably the guy,” he said. It sounds like there’s a real possibility that Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, Mac Jones, and Lance go 1-4. Ryan, 36 next month, is signed through the 2023 season.

 Running it back for at least one more cycle with Ryan and Julio Jones, now 32, still seems like the most likely scenario. This will be one of the most interesting dynamics to watch in the lead up to the draft.

Justin Fields, Trey Lance Considering Holding Second Pro Days?

In moving up to No. 3 overall, the 49ers shook up the draft late last month. They revealed the move was for a quarterback, and Kyle Shanahan added that he is already comfortable with three passers in this draft. The fifth-year San Francisco HC added that he could get there with the other two top QB prospects as well.

It is not known which members of this draft’s quarterback quintet fall into which category, but two prospects are considering adjusting their offseason itineraries as a result of the 49ers’ trade. Justin Fields and Trey Lance are considering staging second pro days in order to throw in front of top 49ers brass, Albert Breer of SI.com notes.

Neither Shanahan nor 49ers GM John Lynch attended North Dakota State’s pro day March 12, with the team’s top two power brokers not wanting to tip their hands ahead of the trade. Ohio State’s pro day occurred on Tuesday, overlapping with Alabama’s second pro day. Shanahan and Lynch opted to trek to Tuscaloosa for Mac Jones‘ workout, though it was expected Shanahan would meet with Fields at some point as well. Shanahan confirmed Jones is under consideration for the No. 3 pick, per NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (video link).

With the COVID-19 pandemic nixing private workouts for a second straight year, any additional throwing sessions would need to be on campus and would be open for all teams to attend. It would certainly be interesting if Fields and Lance conducting additional pro days with the purpose of auditioning for one franchise, but the Jaguars and Jets have been heavily connected to Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson. The 49ers’ direction is less certain, though Jones has recently been linked by multiple experts to go third overall. ESPN.com’s Todd McShay now mocks Jones to the 49ers. Prior to the trade, Mel Kiper Jr. had Jones falling to No. 15.

Should the 49ers draft Jones, Fields and Lance could fall out of the top five. But neither should be expected to drop too far, with several teams — both in and out of the top 10 — in need of a hopeful franchise quarterback.

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AFC West Notes: Broncos, Raiders, Chiefs

For several months, the Broncos have been linked to adding a quarterback that would at least provide Drew Lock with competition. No such move has transpired, but James Palmer of NFL.com notes GM George Paton is doing extensive research on this year’s crop of QB prospects (video link). Paton attended Trey Lance‘s pro day and mentioned last month that the team will consider a passer at No. 9 overall. However, Palmer expects the Broncos to also be in play for a trade-up — should the team become infatuated with one of the available arms.

While the Broncos are doing homework on all five of the top quarterbacks, they realistically only have a shot at two of them. This draft is, as of now, expected to begin with Trevor Lawrence going to the Jaguars and Zach Wilson heading to New York. Now in possession of the No. 3 overall pick, the 49ers have been linked to Mac Jones more so than Lance or Justin Fields. The Broncos believe Lock will improve next season and do not want to make a quarterback transaction for the sake of making one. Lock was without top receiver Courtland Sutton for most of last season and was transitioning to a new offense without the benefit of onsite offseason work, but he ranked 29th in QBR and led the league in INTs despite missing three games.

Here is the latest from the AFC West:

  • Prior to the Cardinals using the transition tag on Kenyan Drake, Jon Gruden was interested in signing the running back last year, according to Vic Tafur of The Athletic (subscription required). The Raiders showed significantly more interest in Drake than anyone else this offseason, per Drake, whom Gruden plans using in the backfield and at wide receiver. Drake’s two-year, $11MM deal includes just $3MM guaranteed in 2021, per Tafur, but carries $5.5MM in guarantees in 2022. Drake totaled just 127 receiving yards with the Cardinals last season, but the former third-round pick should be expected to play a bigger role in the passing game in Las Vegas.
  • The Chiefs hired former defensive coordinator Ken Flajole to replace Britt Reid as outside linebackers coach, the team announced. Flajole’s most notable NFL role came when he served as Rams DC during Steve Spagnuolo‘s three-year stay (2009-11). The Rams went just 10-38 during that stretch. Flajole, 66, will come to Kansas City after spending the past five seasons as Philadelphia’s linebackers coach under Doug Pederson. Reid is no longer with the Chiefs and remains under NFL investigation. Following his February car accident that left a 5-year-old in critical condition, the Chiefs let Reid’s contract expire.
  • The Raiders considered cutting their losses on Carl Nassib‘s three-year, $25MM contract, Tafur adds, but the team instead decided to keep the rotational pass rusher on a restructured deal (subscription required). The team added three void years to Nassib’s contract, spreading out the cap hit through 2025. Nassib is on the Raiders’ cap sheet at just $4.9MM this year; that number rises to $9.2MM in 2022. Releasing Nassib next year would tag the Raiders with a $4.6MM dead-money hit.
  • Drafted third overall as a defensive end four years ago, Solomon Thomas will primarily work as a three-technique tackle with the Raiders, according to Tafur. Thomas is in line to replace Maliek Collins, who defected to the Texans in free agency. A four-year 49ers contributor, Thomas has not come close to living up to his top-five draft status. The Raiders gave him a one-year deal worth $3.25MM.

Shanahan: 49ers Comfortable With 3 Quarterbacks In Draft

The 49ers spent the past three weeks trying to trade up in the draft, finally securing a deal with the Dolphins to climb to No. 3 overall. Kyle Shanahan addressed the trade, confirming it was indeed to draft a quarterback.

We looked at how our four years have gone and we looked at how we want the next four years to go and we looked at where we’re at in the draft and the options that are there,’ Shanahan said, via NFL.com. “And that’s why sitting there looking at this stuff since January and going all the way through the process, we felt pretty strongly we were gonna be left at the altar sitting there at 12.”

This move comes despite the Jets’ plans not being fully known. While Urban Meyer essentially confirmed the Jaguars will draft Trevor Lawrence first overall, the Jets will either trade the pick or trade Sam Darnold. Increased noise on option B, with the Jets then taking BYU’s Zach Wilson, has emerged in recent days.

[RELATED: Who will 49ers draft at No. 3 overall?]

The 49ers appear to be fine with selecting the third quarterback in this draft. Shanahan said the team is comfortable with three of the quarterback prospects being the long-term answer, adding that the Nos. 4 and 5 options would also have potential to elevate the team (Twitter link via ESPN.com’s Nick Wagoner). Shanahan expects the draft’s top five QBs to be drafted earlier than most currently anticipate. No draft has begun with four straight passers being chosen, but that possibility is live this year. Picking in the top five for the first time since they drafted Matt Ryan, the Falcons have a chance to select the 35-year-old’s heir apparent at No. 4.

With Lawrence and Wilson expected to be gone by the time the 49ers pick, they are likely going to draft either Justin Fields, Trey Lance or Mac Jones. Interestingly, Jones and Fields’ pro days are both Tuesday. Shanahan and John Lynch will attend Jones’, with the 49ers sending other staffers to Fields’, Peter King of NBC Sports notes. Assistant GM Adam Peters will be in Columbus for Fields’ pro day, per Wagoner, who adds that Shanahan plans to meet with the ex-Buckeyes standout at some point. Shanahan and Lynch did not attend Wilson’s or Lance’s, with the 49ers not wanting to arouse suspicion of their plans (Twitter link via SI.com’s Albert Breer). Shanahan also plans to meet with Lance.

While Shanahan said anyone on the 49ers could be traded, the team thus far wants to keep Jimmy Garoppolo around this season. The 49ers have become the latest team to mention the Chiefs’ Alex Smith-to-Patrick Mahomes transition. Shanahan said it will be difficult for the 49ers to find a quarterback better equipped to lead the team to wins this season, per Wagoner (on Twitter).

We went to ownership and said, ‘Hey, things are looking good. We’d like to make this move, but we also don’t want to say goodbye to Jimmy,” Lynch said. “We’ve shown we can get to a Super Bowl with him. We can play at a high level and we don’t think those two things have to be mutually exclusive.”

Two years remain on Garoppolo’s contract. He is set to count $26.4MM against San Francisco’s cap this season. The 49ers could trade their incumbent starter and incur less than $3MM in dead money. The Patriots, who sent Garoppolo to the 49ers in 2017, may be interested.

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Poll: Who Will 49ers Draft At No. 3?

Trevor Lawrence has been expected to lead off the draft for a while now, while the Jets’ connection to BYU’s Zach Wilson continues to gain steam. Although the Jets are not a lock to move on from Sam Darnold and take Wilson, they appear to be on the doorstep of such a consensus. The draft suspense may, then, begin with the 49ers.

Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch have each endorsed Jimmy Garoppolo as the planned 2021 starter, and the 49ers are sending out signals they do not expect to trade their incumbent passer. But the team parted with tremendous future draft capital to climb nine spots to No. 3 overall. The 49ers should be widely expected to draft a quarterback in the first round for the first time since they chose Alex Smith first overall in 2005. Which one will they select?

Only two drafts — 1971 and 1999 — have begun with three consecutive teams taking quarterbacks. With the Falcons connected to choosing a Matt Ryan heir apparent, this draft could be the first to start with four straight QBs. Should Lawrence and Wilson head to the Jaguars and Jets, the 49ers will have their pick of seemingly Justin Fields, Trey Lance or Mac Jones. With a Garoppolo trade seemingly now in play, one of these three could have the keys to the San Francisco’s offense as soon as this coming season.

Fields has resided on this tier the longest, being the 1B option to Lawrence going into the 2020 season. Dwayne Haskins‘ Ohio State successor did not do too much to ding his stock, even though multiple choppy performances did occur this past season. Fields boasted a 41-3 TD-INT ratio in 2019 and dominated in the Buckeyes’ rout of Clemson in the College Football Playoff this past season. That said, Hall of Fame scout Gil Brandt does not expect the 49ers to go with Fields, whom some teams have well outside the top 10 on their respective boards.

Fields’ final college QB opponent, Jones has received glowing endorsements from soon-to-be first-round picks DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle. The ex-Crimson Tide pass catchers preferred Jones to the Dolphins’ Tua Tagovailoa, and the former completed a stunning 77% of his passes, averaged 11.2 yards per attempt and finished a 13-game season with 41 touchdown passes. Scouts Inc., however, has the less mobile Jones well below Fields and Lance, slotting the one-year Alabama starter 28th overall.

Scouts Inc. rates Lance as this draft’s third-best QB prospect, placing him 12th (to Fields’ 13th position). The North Dakota State prodigy profiles as one of the strangest prospects to ever land on the top-10 radar. Division I-FCS players typically do not enter drafts early; Lance put his name in this year’s draft after one full season as the Bison’s starter. While that season featured eye-popping production (28 TD passes, no INTs, 1,100 rushing yards) and resulted in North Dakota State’s latest title, a team using a top-five pick on an FCS prospect with one season of experience and no Scouting Combine to further judge him would be a historic move.

Where will the 49ers go at No. 3? How will they proceed with Garoppolo and his $26.4MM cap number? Vote in PFR’s latest poll (link for app users) and weigh in with your thoughts in the comments section.

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