Chris Simms ranks Jimmy Garoppolo ahead of Trey Lance in 2022 NFL QB ranking

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Simms ranks Jimmy G ahead of Lance but 'would not keep' vet QB originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

It’s not yet clear which NFL team Jimmy Garoppolo will be playing for come Week 1, but he has a secure spot right in the middle of Chris Simms’ annual quarterback rankings for the fourth year in a row.

The NBC Sports NFL analyst is in the middle of ranking his Top 40 NFL QBs and kicked things off with Garoppolo at No. 20 on Thursday. The 49ers' veteran was ranked No. 21 in 2021, No. 20 in 2020 and No. 21 in 2019, solidifying his spot as a middle-of-the-pack guy in recent seasons for Simms.

“I don’t put a lot of stock into last year’s rankings … I kind of let the chips fall where they may,” Simms said during his “Chris Simms Unbuttoned” podcast. “And yeah, I think it’s pretty safe to say that I feel like [Garoppolo’s] pretty much this at this point in his career.”

Simms ranked Garoppolo higher than New York Giants QB Daniel Jones (No. 21) but lower than Carson Wentz of the Washington Commanders (No. 19), New England Patriots second-year QB Mac Jones (No. 18) and the Cleveland Browns’ beleaguered signal-caller Baker Mayfield (No. 17).

Most notably, Garoppolo is ranked higher than his presumed successor Trey Lance, who came in at No. 31 on the list. But even though Simms has Garoppolo higher on his list than Lance, he “would not keep” the 30-year-old and believes San Francisco should follow through with its plans to try and trade him.

“I do think Lance has the ability and the talent, and again I question it still if they can put it all together, but I think his top-end -- even as raw as he is right now -- he has a chance to surpass a guy like Jimmy Garoppolo coming down the home stretch,” Simms said.

Garoppolo’s higher ranking was thanks in part to his leadership abilities, Simms said, noting that he’s “loved in the locker room” and “players want to play for him.”

As far as his game on the field goes, Simms likes Garoppolo’s quick release and subtle arm angles that allow him to get the ball through holes other QBs might not be able to. His presence in the pocket deserves recognition, too, Simms added, and his processing ability has impressed the analyst over the years.

“He’s very good in the pocket. He is,” Simms said. “When you really watch him, his sliding and moving in the pocket -- he’s smooth, he knows the soft spots and where to find it and do it from there.”

But a lot of Garoppolo’s success comes from Kyle Shanahan’s playbook, Simms pointed out -- something he believes will be opened up even more once Lance is under center. In comparing the two players’ heat maps, Garoppolo clearly favors short passes over the middle while Lance has explored more deep passes outside the numbers in his limited playing time.

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“This is the point that we’re showing here -- if you can get some more red in the middle for Trey Lance and then continue to grow some of the red on the outside, then you start to go, ‘Oh s--t, it’s hard to pinpoint where they’re attacking and what they’re doing,'” Simms said of the QB heat map comparison. “... I still think, ultimately, it’d be a harder offense to defend because of [Lance] and Shanahan and how talented the 49ers are as a team.”

Simms ranked Garoppolo higher than Lance on his list, but it’s clear who he thinks should lead the 49ers’ offense this coming season.

Wherever Garoppolo ends up, whether with San Francisco or elsewhere, the team he suits up for can rest assured they have a well-versed QB on the roster.

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