SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Niner fans watched the NFL draft with anticipation knowing the future of the franchise is at stake.
At Kezar Pub in San Francisco, fans erupted in cheers when NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell named Trey Lance as the 49ers pick, the third overall in this year’s NFL draft.
"Welcome to the bay Trey Lance, thank you, yes very nice, very nice," said Julio Lossa of San Francisco.
Die-hard Niners fans rooting for Lance. They see his potential not yet quite a starter.
"He’s a little young," said Lossa. "He didn't really go to a big powerhouse school. Let him stay on the sidelines. Like Aaron Rodgers watched Brett Favre, he’ll be good."
The 20-year-old from North Dakota State played 17 games during his college career before the pandemic hit.
"We’ve been very high on Trey since the beginning since day one," said 49ers Coach Kyle Shanahan.
Shanahan said he was impressed with Lance on and off the field. What made him stand out was his natural ability to play quarterback, his skills set and intellect.
"A hell of a quarterback, someone I believe in and want to go to work with," said Shanahan.
"I’m a little disappointed," said Greg Damo of San Francisco. "I was hoping they would pick Justin Fields. I get the pick. I know Lance has the higher upside."
The draft marks the start of the season. Fans are filled with optimism. The Niners came within a quarter of winning the Super Bowl back in 2019 before losing to the Kansas City Chiefs.
"We’ve been hungry," said Enrique Arana of Sausalito. "It’s been 20 years since we had a Super Bowl."
"It’s exciting, it's a new regime," said Dave Gordon of San Francisco. "I don’t know what they are going to do with Jimmy."
As for Jimmy Garoppolo, fans don’t want to see him go.
"I think we need him to stay here to take us to the Super Bowl," said Arana. "In case he gets hurt, we have a good athletic quarterback to keep us in it."
"I trust the 49ers brain trust, hopefully in the long run they’ve proven they made the right choice," said Damo.
During Thursday’s NFL draft, Lance said his biggest inspiration is his father who played cornerback one season in the Canadian Football League and then World League. His father went to camp with the 49ers in 1994 but was cut.
Azenith Smith is a reporter for KTVU. Email Azenith at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter and Instagram @AzenithKTVU or Facebook or ktvu.com.