Fantasy Football 2022 Draft Prep: Trey Lance Preseason Suggests More Downside Than Expected

Like most people, Kyle Shanahan wishes he had more time. Not necessarily to spend with the family or go on vacation, but to prepare second-year quarterback Trey Lance for the upcoming 2022 season.

“I would love for Trey to get more practice and everything, more experience,” Shanahan told reporters last week. “[B]But we’re out of those games, and he’s as ready as he can be. He needs to get into these real games now and start playing. There will be times when he makes some mistakes, and he has to learn from them and figure out how to keep winning the game and get over some of those things as he learns as he goes.”

That admission is not what you want to hear. It means Lance isn’t as advanced as a passer as other top picks tend to be, and you could see that in his most recent preseason game against the Texans.

Lance completed 7 of 11 passes last week, but his longest completion was 15 yards to his fullback when he found him alone on the sideline after rolling out of the pocket. He was wide on several shots, both in the sense of missing wide receivers and forcing his receivers to adjust to his passes and cost them yards after receiving opportunities. He felt like his feet weren’t on in the middle of his pitches.

Perhaps worst of all, Lance struggled with pressure from the Texans to go after him. At the first sign of pressure from the defense, Lance would come out of the pocket and struggle to keep his eyes on the field and identify open targets. It happened when he fired a dart into the grass a few yards in front of Brandon Aiyuk when he should have thrown it at Aiyuk; it happened when he didn’t anticipate a deep push to Deebo Samuel; and it happened when he passed Jeff Wilson instead of seeing Aiyuk or George Kittle open for first downs.

See also  2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar likely to break all previous revenue records | football news

Lance’s best pitch of the preseason was a deep white pass to Danny Gray against the Packers, helped in part by his acknowledgment of the coverage going his way before the snap. It’s hard to pick a second-best throw from the remaining 10 completions that totaled 65 yards.

It’s not just about preseason games: Reports from 49ers practices, including their joint game against the Vikings, featured daily Lance performances. That’s not what you want to see from a freak who should be a sophomore. He shouldn’t be learning “on the fly”.

That’s reason enough to be wary of Lance when you’re writing, but there’s more. The 49ers have struggled with the offensive line throughout August. The inside of the line isn’t exactly as strong as it was this time last year, or this time last January. Lance’s inexperience against NFL pass rushes will magnify the problem.

And there’s more: this week we should know the fate of Jimmy Garoppolo in San Francisco. If the 49ers cut him or trade him, Lance and his fans should breathe a sigh of relief because it means Lance will be a starter for the foreseeable future. If they don’t get away from Garoppolo, it’s another admission from Shanahan and the coaching staff that Lance isn’t quite ready and they need a Plan B in case Plan A turns into multiple Ls.

Don’t even look at the 49ers schedule after Week 2. They play the Bears and Seahawks to start the year (that’ll help Lance build some confidence), but then they’ll face playoff contenders in nine of his next 11 games, including the Rams twice.

The world has already waited a year for Lance to step onto the field and play brilliantly. The fact that we’ve seen him perform sparingly in minimal parts last season and glimpses this preseason is troubling. His advantage depends almost entirely on him rushing for a ton of yards.

It prevents Lance from being part of a specific draft strategy, and definitely makes him someone you shouldn’t be chasing. Lance shouldn’t be your only quarterback on the roster, either. Round 9 is absolutely the earliest you should think about taking it, but round 10 would really negate the risk versus reward.

Leave a Comment