Steve Young reveals the next step for Trey Lance as a quarterback

Kyle Madson
Niners Wire

The development of 49ers quarterback Trey Lance isn’t the only thing that matters this season for San Francisco, but it’s by far the biggest piece of the puzzle they’re putting together.

Lance’s 10 quarters last year gave some glimpses of what the 2021 No. 3 overall pick can do. They also generated a handful of question marks about his ability to succeed in the NFL.

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Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Steve Young believes there are two things a good quarterback must do on the field. The 49ers legend revealed that Lance has one of them down.

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Young, at the Dwight Clark Legacy Series event in Walnut Creek on Wednesday, said a good quarterback has to process what he’s seeing and then deliver the correct throw. He thinks Lance has the former, but needs to prove he can do the latter.

"Trey as a young player actually is processing as well as anybody," Young said via NBC Sports Bay Area. "He can understand what’s happening, and he can get to the opening. He can figure out who it is. And that’s a real talent. It’s not easy, and that’s just not given – there’s a real skill there. I have 100 percent confidence that Trey will figure out where to throw it. The challenge for Trey is once he knows, then how to deliver it, and that’s another great talent that you have to have and develop."

That’s where the unknown really sets in with Lance and why it’s impossible to evaluate what he brings to the table in his first year as a starter.

Lance struggled with some accuracy issues last year in the preseason and his 10 regular-season quarters. He had a 57.7 percent completion rate on 71 throws last season.

That’s why this offseason is so significant for him. By all accounts he’s been working since February with a quarterbacks coach in Southern California.

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OTAs and training camp will offer a little bit of insight, but the questions with Lance aren’t about practice. It doesn’t matter how well he does in a controlled environment. He has to put it all together on the field. Like Young said, Lance has to process and then throw a good ball.

It’s unlikely Year 1 for him as a starter will go perfect. There’ll be bumps and growing pains. Improvement over the course of the year will be vital though, and if by the end of the season he’s both processing quickly and throwing a good ball – the 49ers might be in for the type of run they had when Young walked the sidelines.