49ers overreacting: What the future holds for Trey Lance and Debow Samuel in 2022

It’s been a while since we solicited statements for our regular “Overreaction” column, which has become a season staple on NBC Sports Bay Area.

We think some chatter from unnamed sources can be addressed at this point. There’s been speculation on social media that the “overreaction” column has not lived up to expectations for four months this offseason, and the feature has gone dormant.

WARNING: This is when we have an awkward transition in 49ers second-year quarterback Trey Lance.

Lance’s last appearance was Jan. 2, when the 49ers’ season was coming to an end and Jimmy Garoppolo was sidelined with a thumb injury. The 49ers trailed the low-lying Houston Texans at halftime.

He didn’t quite carry the team in the second half, but the rookie did his part. In the 49ers’ 23-7 win, Lance completed 6-of-10 passes for 144 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions.

That was Lance’s last game.

On Tuesday, he will be at the Santa Clara practice facility with his 49ers teammates for the first time since the end of the season.

Let that be a reminder that there really are no markers for Lance’s progress or development in the offseason.

In March, coach Kyle Shanahan said Lance proved him He’s ready to be the team’s starter. If the organization didn’t have that confidence in Lance, the 49ers wouldn’t try to trade Garoppolo, he said.

No one knows how Lance will perform — just as we’ll see if the 49ers Overreactions are ready to take the next step this season. At this point, it’s anyone’s guess.

When it comes to the team’s confidence in Lance, it’s a great starting point for this rare offseason build.

“Trey Lance would be better than Patrick Mahomes.”
—Joshua from Portland, Oregon

Overreact? yes.

Well, let’s not get carried away.

Mahomes is a superstar. As a starter, he won the league MVP in his first season. He’s next season’s Super Bowl LIV MVP.

There is no doubt that Lance is talented. If I have any doubts about Lance, it’s his accuracy on short to medium distances. When Mahomes graduated, his decision-making ability and accuracy were called into question.

Mahomes has improved every season of his college career, peaking with a 65.7 completion rate in his final year at Texas Tech in 2016.

In Lance’s only season as a starter for North Dakota, he completed 66.9 percent of his attempts. That should alleviate some concerns about Lance’s ability to throw catchable balls. His college offensive teammates didn’t seem to have much trouble throwing at high speed.

Kansas City parted ways with their solid starter Alex Smith, handing the keys to Mahomes in his second NFL season. In the same way, the 49ers are ready to trade Garoppolo to clear the way for Lance.

It’s hard to imagine Lance coming close to Mahomes’ numbers in his first year as a starter. Mahomes threw for 5,097 yards and 50 touchdowns with a passing score of 113.8.

No one (except Joshua) expected Lance to be better than Mahomes. But if he’s close, that’ll be enough to keep the 49ers competitive for a long time.

“The 49ers expected too much from players on the offensive line that didn’t play last year, and they didn’t do much to protect Trey Lance.”
– Rob from Sacramento

Overreact? Do not.

It’s not an overreaction, but the 49ers do explain the possibility Left-back Lycan Tomlinson leaves Eleven months ago, he signed a lucrative free-agent contract with the New York Jets.

The 49ers selected guard Aaron Banks with the 48th overall pick in the second round of the 2021 NFL Draft. During the first few days of training camp, Banks didn’t look like he fit into the team’s offensive plan. He then missed some time with a shoulder injury. As a rookie, he hit just five sweeps at guard.

General manager John Lynch publicly expressed confidence last season that Banks would be a “great” player. After the season, Shanahan said the team was ready to have Banks in the starting lineup before the club started to pick up some wins.

Left tackle and right tackle are set by Trent Williams and Mike McGlinch. The plan appears to call for Banks to take over at left-back. Alex Mack’s place at center isn’t entirely clear.

If Mack doesn’t return for a 14th NFL season, then Daniel Brunskill, Jack Blundell and Jaylen Moore and rookies Spencer Burford, Nick Zucker and Donovan West’s combination is most likely to fill those vacancies. Veteran center JC Tretter remains unsigned as a free agent.

Over the past two years, the 49ers have drafted four players who have pitched inside offensive line positions. It could also be argued that Lance provides a safety net to his offensive line with his agility to move in and out of the pocket. A good quarterback can cover up a lot of mistakes on his side. The 49ers took that into consideration when they selected Lance with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.

“The draft doesn’t matter because no rookie will start.”

Overreact? yes.

Just because the 49ers have the last pick in the draft, known as Mr. Irrelevant, doesn’t mean the term describes the nine players that were drafted.

Team First Choice, USC edge rusher drake jackson, may not be the starter. But there’s a good chance he’s closer. The 49ers need a perimeter rusher opposite Nick Bosa, and Jackson has a chance to take the game’s most important defensive snapshot on the floor.

Running back Ty Davis-Price and fast wide receiver Danny Gray also have the opportunity to be key contributors to their position group.

While none of the 49ers’ nine draft picks will be able to serve as starters, many of them will be called upon to play key roles over the course of the marathon’s 17-game regular season.

“Deebo Samuel will just line up on RB’s goal line and still won’t get the ball.”

Overreact? Do not.

Let’s assume Samuel will stay with the 49ers.Let’s also assume his body’s pounding in the last 11 games of the season is His dissatisfaction with the offseason.

The 49ers used Samuel in the backcourt last season because they had no option due to injury. And, let’s face it, if Samuel was where he played full-time, he would probably be a top-10 running back in the NFL.

related: Buck: 49ers ‘too good’ make Jimmy G’s decision tricky

Picking Davis Price in the third round of the draft created another barrier between Samuel and the running back position. Elijah Mitchell, Trey Sermon and Davis-Price were all listed as better options than having Samuel make up to 10 rushing attempts per game.

My belief is that Shanahan will only use Samuel’s running back ability when he has a huge advantage at running back. Samuel will still have the occasional strafe, but I think they’ll reduce his usage to 20 rushing attempts during the regular season.

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