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49ers HC Kyle Shanahan: Trey Lance is 'going to play for us this year'

It could be just a matter of weeks before San Francisco 49ers rookie QB Trey Lance takes full command of the team's offense, but at the very least, the No. 3 overall draft pick will get some meaningful situational action this season.

"Trey's going to play for us this year. I know you guys are all running to Twitter on that," said coach Kyle Shanahan. "Situationally, he's going to get plays. That doesn't mean that he's going to be the starter or anything, but he's going to get plays and you've got to prepare him for that every way possible."

To this point in camp, Shanahan has deftly maintained that Jimmy Garoppolo is the club's de facto starter. Just days ago, he said the veteran can beat out any rookie when playing at his best. It's understandable that Shanahan would want to lower the wattage on the spotlight Lance faces, considering he's coming from a small-school program, and only made 17 college starts thanks to COVID-19 cancellations and his early draft entry.

But signs are emerging that Lance's talent is too prolific for the bench. He got his first look with the first team on Tuesday with a designed run – Lance was a dangerous rusher at North Dakota State. Then there was this well-placed deep pass to Trent Sherfield in practice, viewed more than a million times already, to further raise the temperature on Lance Fever. Naturally, 49ers fans are excited for Lance's emergence all the more because of what the club spent to get him – not only using their top pick, but trading more picks, including two future first-rounders, to move up to No. 3 to get him. Whatever substitution package Shanahan has planned for Lance's at-minimum contribution will be met with great anticipation.

It's also apparently lit a competitive fire under Garoppolo, who drew praise from the coaching staff for his offseason work.

And it should.

Because the future is Lance – the club's draft investment in him says so.

His skill says so.

A growing role in practice says so.

And eventually, Shanahan himself will say so.

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