The San Francisco 49ers made a bold trade up to the No. 3 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, and after weeks of speculation, took North Dakota State quarterback Trey Lance. It is a clear signal that the team does not see Jimmy Garoppolo as a long term solution at the position, whether or not he starts this season.
So far, the team has indicated that Garoppolo, the veteran, is the most likely starter for 2021 though. However, we’ve seen rookies surprise and beat out veterans for Week 1 before. One person who isn’t super concerned about a potential competition? Star tight end George Kittle.
Nashville-area sports producer Cal Baxter caught up with the Niners star at a charity event in the city, and asked about the Garoppolo-Lance situation. While it sounds like he thinks his teammate of four years will hold on to his job in the end, he believes healthy competition is a great thing.
“If my starting quarterback is scared of competition, I don’t know if he would be my starting quarterback,” Kittle said. “So yeah, I’m very excited to see Jimmy G out there. I’m excited to go back next week and see all those boys.”
George Kittle sighting! At a community event in Nashville today, Kittle was asked about Jimmy G's reaction to competing with Trey Lance. #49ers
— Kate Rooney (@TheKateRooney) May 15, 2021
“It’s just going to be fun to play football again,” Kittle continued. “And like I said, competition’s what makes you a good football player. If you weren’t competitive every single day, fighting for your job, you’re not going to perform at your best. You’re not going to perform at your highest level. And that’s what football is all about.”
Kittle has emerged as one of the most dangerous all-around tight ends in the NFL. He’s thrived with Jimmy G under center, but one has to imagine he’ll quickly develop chemistry with Trey Lance as well, if he manages to take the job.
The San Francisco 49ers open the 2021 season on the road at the Detroit Lions.