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3 bold predictions for 49ers star Trey Lance in the 2022 NFL season

trey lance, jimmy garoppolo, deebo samuel, san francisco 49ers

One of the most polarizing storylines to follow this NFL offseason was the status of the starting quarterback role for the San Francisco 49ers and if Trey Lance would finally get his shot. Carrying an immensely-high ceiling, the sky is the limit for Lance’s 2022 NFL season and any predictions.

The 49ers are in a spot where they have a very talented roster, one that is too good to miss the postseason, but they certainly could still miss out. Lance is their wild card to help keep them in the picture for the postseason, but Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch will need to give him their complete confidence in order to let him take the team there.

Predicting what Lance’s 2022 season will look like is difficult, mainly because this will be Lance’s first shot at earning and holding onto the starting job. But by keeping Jimmy Garoppolo on the roster, is the staff showing that they don’t trust Lance?

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3. Lance establishes himself as the next great rushing QB threat in the NFL

Even in limited action last season, Lance still produced a healthy 4.4 yards per carry (YPC) average with his legs, showing that his athleticism and mobility will be able to bail him out whenever needed. But with a run-oriented offense predicated on a pocket presence (at least in the past), will Lance be able to adapt?

Not only will Lance’s explosiveness help keep him on the field, he will put on full display exactly why the 49ers drafted him as high as they did. There are a limited amount of QBs in the league (Jalen Hurts, Kyler Murray, and Lamar Jackson come to mind) that have that type of dual-threat abilities that keep the defense guessing, and while Lance has a ways to go until he is on the game-altering level that both Murray and Jackson are on, he has the intangibles to join that group very soon.

If predicting what his rushing totals could look like at its ceiling – let’s assume that his 4.4 YPC carries over to this year and he earns the same amount of dedicated rushing work as Murray did last season (88 carries). While his average yards are a bit low compared to league leaders, his 387 yards would have given him the sixth-most amongst QBs last season.

2. Lance struggles in the passing game but finishes with a 3,000/30 season

Lance saw three games of extended work last year – against the Seahawks, Cardinals, and Jaguars. Granted, none of these teams boast superb defensive units, but it still was his first extended taste of being a starting QB, and his passing work left a lot to be desired.

On average, Lance produced a 57.1 completion percentage, a 38.1 QB Rating, and a 97.1 passer rating across those three games – which really isn’t a ton to write home about. In a Shanahan-styled offense, the QB typically isn’t relied on for downfield throws a ton, as WRs tend to work close to the line of scrimmage.

But both Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel are primed for solid seasons, so this offense will need to open up a bit to cater to each of their strengths. Opening it up means a shift in style from the Garoppolo-led offense, which will in turn put more on the shoulders of Lance every game.

Even with Lance struggling to start the year, he will have defenses guessing later in the season based on how efficient his rushing work is, helping improve his passing work – to the point where he finishes with a 3,000+ passing yardage, 30 passing TD season.. He will need to improve his accuracy and decision-making, but Lance will be able to pull things together to finish out the year strong.

1. Lance earns MVP votes and sends Garoppolo out of town

The perfect storm is brewing for the 49ers to take advantage of this season.

People will undoubtedly be skeptical of how well Lance will look in his first shot at keeping the starting role, which will lead to the 49ers meeting those low expectations with a slow start to the season, and then be completely upended by a strong finish to the year on their way to making the postseason yet again.

And all of this will be possible because of just how good Lance looks, how comfortable he becomes as the season progresses, and how well Shanahan tailors the offense to his strengths. Many pundits are saying that Lance will explode this year and many pundits are praying for Lance’s downfall – and he will make those with the latter opinion look foolish.

By putting together 3,000 passing yards, 30 passing TD, 400 rushing yards, and 8 rushing TDs in 2022, Lance will insert himself into the MVP race, even though he will very much be considered ‘too young’ to be a serious threat to win it. With that line, he would have been one of the best QBs last season, and he is well on his way to becoming a serious problem for defenses for many years to come.