How 49ers' Trey Lance pick affects Patriots, Jimmy Garoppolo

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How 49ers' Trey Lance pick affects Patriots, Jimmy Garoppolo originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

For most of the lead-up to the 2021 NFL Draft, the San Francisco 49ers were expected to take Mac Jones with the No. 3 overall pick. But in the 11th hour, things changed.

On draft day, the 49ers officially selected North Dakota State quarterback Trey Lance with the third pick. And that will have a big-time impact on the New England Patriots and their potential pursuit of Jimmy Garoppolo.

In short, it doesn't seem likely that Garoppolo will be traded by the 49ers at this point. They already seemed to have limited interest in moving Garoppolo, and the addition of Lance shouldn't change that because of how raw Lance is.

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Lance is athletic, he's smart, and he looked good on tape. But he's also inexperienced. He was a one-year starter that has played 17 games at the FCS level. He attempted just 318 passes during his collegiate career and he won't turn 21 until early in May.

Plus, Lance only played one game during the 2020 season, as North Dakota State canceled most of their season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Essentially, the game they had was for a showcase for Lance.

So, not only will Lance have to make the leap from the FCS to the NFL, he'll have to do that while having played in just one competitive game in the last year and a half. He will have a good chance to eventually succeed in his efforts, but it may take him time to develop.

As such, keeping Garoppolo makes sense for San Francisco. He's a great insurance policy that can start for a year or until Lance is ready to take over. After all, Garoppolo has helped quarterback the 49ers to a Super Bowl before. If he can stay healthy, he'll help keep the 49ers in the playoff discussion and give Lance time to improve and get in some extra mental reps on the bench.

So, for the Patriots, it doesn't seem like Garoppolo is an option. Were a more pro-ready option like Mac Jones or Justin Fields the pick for the 49ers, perhaps they would be more willing to move Jimmy G.

But now, the Patriots will likely have to address the quarterback position in another way -- unless they are truly content to roll with Cam Newton and Jarrett Stidham as their top two QBs next year.