How Rice knew ‘raw' Lance would be 49ers' pick before 2021 draft


Before Trey Lance ever put on a 49ers jersey, Jerry Rice knew he was destined for San Francisco.

That’s what the GOAT told NBC Sports Bay Area’s Matt Maiocco on the latest “49ers Talk” podcast, where he took a break from the ACC celebrity golf tournament in Lake Tahoe over the weekend to talk about what makes Lance so special.

And for Rice, it was evident immediately.

“I told Trey Lance before he got drafted that he was going to be a 49er,” Rice told Maiocco. “And we were talking over the phone, and he said, ‘No way, Jerry. No way.’ And it happened.”

The second-year quarterback is the brand ambassador for Rice’s energy drink company G.O.A.T. Fuel, and the Pro Football Hall of Famer believes Lance is an “exceptional football player.

The 49ers certainly think so too, trading away major draft capital to move up and select Lance at No. 3 in the 2021 NFL Draft. 

“I think he has knowledge. He’s way beyond the game, his abilities and stuff like that,” Rice gushed. “He’s going to bring something really special to the game.”

So what did Rice see in Lance before the draft that let him know he would be a perfect fit in San Francisco?

“I saw this raw guy, but very talented,” Rice said. “Rocket arm, and that could extend plays also by running with the football. And that dimension to the San Francisco 49ers, that can make defensive coordinators have nightmares when you’ve got a mobile quarterback that can get out of the pocket, extend plays and still have the vision and throw it downfield.”

RELATED: What Rice learned catching passes from 'gunslinger' Lance

As Lance prepares for his first full season as the team’s presumed starter under center, the 49ers Faithful will see more of his “rocket arm” at training camp in two weeks.

And if Rice’s assessment holds true once Lance sees consistent snaps, the league might just be in trouble.

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