With about a week to go until the 2023 NFL Draft, another massive wrench has been thrown into the equation. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport is reporting that the San Francisco 49ers are fielding calls on former third overall pick Trey Lance. An important stipulation here is that the 49ers are not actively making calls and looking for a trade partner, but as of Wednesday morning, the team has received calls on the quarterback’s availability.
Trey Lance should have a number of teams interested despite his slow start to his career
Lance has unfortunately had a less-than-ideal start to his promising NFL career, starting in only four games through his first two seasons as a pro after sitting behind Jimmy Garoppolo as a rookie and suffering a season-ending ankle fracture during Week 2 of the 2022 season. However, there still seems to be a lot of hype around the league regarding the former North Dakota State standout. If it were not for the improbable success of seventh-round pick Brock Purdy, Lance would likely be penciled in as the starter in San Fran for 2023. However, even with Purdy’s elbow injury, Lance seems to be the odd-man-out for the 49ers, especially after signing veteran quarterback Sam Darnold in free agency, who was coincidentally the third overall pick by the New York Jets three years before the 49ers selected Lance in the same slot.
At the top of the 2023 NFL Draft, quarterbacks are slated to go early and often, but the 49ers, Lance, and a prospective trade partner could completely change everything we thought we knew about how the draft is going to shake out. It’s hard to know exactly what the 49ers could get in exchange for a player they gave up three first-round picks to trade up and select, but assuming the package is significantly less than that, here are seven teams that could acquire Lance on or before the draft and completely reshape the first round.
The Texans are already reportedly prepared to draft a non-quarterback with the second overall pick, and a Trey Lance trade could completely change how this team would attack the top of the draft. If the Texans acquired Lance, they would likely be able to hold onto both the second and twelfth overall picks and with quarterback no longer being a need, the team could find two blue-chip players at the top of the draft, perhaps primarily on the defensive side, to help new head coach DeMeco Ryans kickstart his full circle rebuild.
Interestingly, Lance and Davis Mills were both selected in the 2021 NFL Draft, with the latter being selected at the top of the third round, so bringing in one of the most highly touted players to compete against a later-round sleeper could potentially elevate both young quarterbacks’ play.