It's hard to fathom just how much pressure Trey Lance is under as he enters his first season as a starter in the NFL.
He's only 22, he started just three games the past two seasons and was a one-year starter at an FCS school. Typically, we wouldn't expect much right away from quarterbacks who fit this description.
Somehow, Trey Lance is different.
When Andrew Luck was 22, he was at Stanford. When Josh Allen was 22, he completed 52.8 percent of his passes for the Bills and won five games. When Peyton Manning was 22, he completed 56.7 percent of his passes for the Colts and won three games.
These were natural growing pains for quarterbacks who went on to be elite. But if Lance were to perform this year the way Allen or Manning performed when they were 22-year-old rookies, lots of people probably would call Lance a bust.
The 49ers largely created this problem. First, they traded three first-round picks plus a third to draft Lance -- one of the richest draft trades ever, and it created the perception that Lance will be great, not merely good.
Then, the 49ers redshirted Lance for his rookie season and justified the decision by reminding anyone who would listen that the Chiefs redshirted Patrick Mahomes for his rookie season, and he turned out just fine, didn't he?
That's a good point, but Mahomes completed 66 percent of his passes, threw a whopping 50 touchdown passes and led the Chiefs to the AFC Championship game in his first season as a starter. So that's the bar the 49ers have set for Lance. Anything short of that will be a disappointment.
Plus, Lance is replacing a starting quarterback in Jimmy Garoppolo who has a terrific win-loss record, even though the 49ers typically win in spite of him. Lots of fans and even some players seem to think Garoppolo has a magic ability to win. So if Lance doesn't take the 49ers to the playoffs in his first season as a starter, some fans and teammates and coaches could blame him, even though the 49ers inexplicably downgraded their offensive line this offseason. And as long as Garoppolo remains on the roster, the pressure for Lance will continue to build and build.
I don't envy him.