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49ers 2023 Roster Breakdown: Quarterbacks


Each week, has been breaking down the roster as we get closer to the season. In this installment of the 2023 roster breakdown, we will take a look at the team's quarterbacks.

Previous Installments: Rookies | Free Agents | Coaches

Position Outlook

During the offseason, head coach Kyle Shanahan made it clear that competition for a leading role in the quarterback room will take place at training camp.

"It's very hard to come to training camp and be ready to beat someone out, and that's why you try to provide all this stuff to give guys a chance to learn the offense," Shanahan said. "Now when they go to training camp, they're ready to compete, and that's truly where I see the competition starting."

In this year's open OTA practices, quarterbacks Trey Lance and Sam Darnold split reps with the first team. Since being cleared to play, Lance has taken advantage of this downtime in the NFL to train with the best in the league, working alongside teammates as well as reigning Super Bowl LVII MVP Patrick Mahomes. After playing in the league for five seasons, Darnold has found his place in The Bay and joined the team with a "rookie-like" eagerness to learn Shanahan's complex offensive scheme.

As for second-year pro Brock Purdy, he began a throwing program mid-way through the 49ers offseason training activities. To date, the quarterback has not suffered any setbacks since his UCL repair surgery in early March and is "right on pace" with his projected recovery timeline.

Position Breakdown

2022 Recap

After drafting Purdy with the last pick of the 2022 NFL Draft, the 49ers entered the season with Lance as the team's starting quarterback and Jimmy Garoppolo served as backup.

In last season's home opener, Lance exited the Week 2 contest versus the Seattle Seahawks due to a season-ending ankle injury sustained the first quarter. Garoppolo, who had five years of experience with the 49ers, stepped in for the majority of the 2022 season and led the team to win six of nine games before also suffering a season-ending injury.

Garoppolo exited the Week 13 game against the Miami Dolphins with a foot injury, and Purdy took over the offense for the 49ers five remaining games ahead of the postseason. Purdy led San Francisco on a win-streak until the NFC Championship Game, where the rookie quarterback suffered an elbow injury.

Since the end of the 2022 season, Lance has fully recovered and been cleared to play, Purdy is "on-track" in his recovery program and Garoppolo has signed with the Las Vegas Raiders during free agency.

"The next challenge ahead is what can we do to win for next year, finish the whole thing and do it the right way," Purdy said at the end of last season. "In the end, some things didn't line up and I think some things were just out of our control that we had to live with, sadly. But we can look at this year and understand what it looks like and what it takes to get on a streak, get hot and win big games, so we'll definitely learn from it. There's a lot in front of us in terms of grinding and getting better."

"I truly believe that everything happens for a reason and that we're all getting better from it," Lance added.

Quarterback Breakdown

Allen was originally drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the sixth round (201st overall) of the 2016 NFL Draft. Throughout his seven-year NFL career with the Jaguars (2016), Los Angeles Rams (2017-18), Denver Broncos (2019) and Cincinnati Bengals (2020-2022), he has appeared in 15 games (nine starts) and completed 149-of-263 passing attempts for 1,611 yards and 10 touchdowns.

In 2022, Allen appeared in one game with the Bengals and completed three passing attempts for 22 yards.

Darnold was originally drafted by the New York Jets as the third-overall pick of the 2018 NFL Draft. Throughout his five-year NFL career with the Jets (2018-20) and Carolina Panthers (2021-22), he has appeared in 56 games (55 starts) and completed 1,054 of 1,765 passing attempts (59.7%) for 11,767 yards, 61 touchdowns and a passer rating of 78.2 to go along with 188 carries for 745 yards and 12 touchdowns on the ground.

In 2022, Darnold started six games and completed 82-of-140 passing attempts for 1,143 yards, seven touchdowns and a passer rating of 92.6 to go along with 26 rushes for 106 yards and two touchdowns.

Lance is set to enter his third season in the NFL this year. Over this offseason, Lance has taken reps with the first team in the 49ers organized training activities and minicamp. The quarterback emphasized that during his training, he's zeroing in on the intricacies of his game and called this offseason "awesome."

"I'm really just trying to be where my feet are, trying to live in this moment and be as present as I possibly can," Lance said. "I really feel like I'm having fun playing football again."

This year, Lance hopes to improve upon the 56 completed passes for 797 yards and five touchdowns he notched in his four career starts.

Purdy was selected by the 49ers in the seventh round (262nd overall) of the 2022 NFL Draft out of Iowa State.

Since taking over as the 49ers starting quarterback in Week 13 of the 2022 season, Purdy has notched 1,943 passing yards and 16 touchdowns on 155 completions (including playoffs). His 2022 performance earned him a finalist nomination for the AP Offensive Rookie of the Year award.

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