The 49ers are coming off an NFC Championship Game appearance last season, where they fell to the Los Angeles Rams. But heading into the 2022 season, San Francisco will have a new look at the marquee position in football: quarterback.
Although the franchise has switched quarterbacks, naming Trey Lance the starter over Jimmy Garoppolo, many analysts still expect the 49ers to be a Super Bowl contender this season.
Lance is heading into his first year as a starting quarterback, and ESPN NFL analyst Chris Canty has high expectations for San Francisco despite the inexperience under center.
"My bold prediction for this season is that the 49ers represent the NFC and the Super Bowl," Canty said on Tuesday's edition of "Get Up." "That's how confident I am in this 49ers team and the development of Trey Lance because of who's doing it.
"Kyle Shanahan and what's around them, the supporting cast; you're talking about a top-five run game, a top-five skill position corps and a top-five defense. All the elements are there for Trey Lance to be successful."
Although the 49ers are giving Lance a solid supporting cast with weapons on offense and defense, Canty isn't expecting the 22-year-old to be a game manager. The ESPN analyst says that Lance brings new elements to help elevate San Francisco's offensive attack to another level.
"The thing that Trey Lance brings is a couple of new dimensions to the offense," Canty added. "The vertical passing game. We saw it in the preseason game with the bomb he threw to Danny Gray and then the quarterback as a focal point of the running game.
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"Kyle Shanahan hasn't had either one of those things since he got to San Francisco."
Canty isn't the only ESPN analyst with high expectations for the 49ers and their young quarterback, as his colleague Louis Riddick predicted Lance as a long shot for winning NFL MVP this season.