"I love all of my quarterbacks. Trey has an insane ceiling," Kittle said recently on the I Am Athlete podcast. "Just needs some reps here and there. Just gotta throw the ball a little bit more. You can't really get better without playing games. How much better were you your rookie season to your third year? Just going against competition. Getting hit and getting back up. Dealing with adversity. How do you deal with it? Guys that come to the NFL and win their entire life and get hit in the face a couple of times, it's different. It's a learning process. Jimmy was a fantastic person for Trey to learn under for sure."
Lance appeared in six games as a rookie, starting two contests. The North Dakota St. product completed 57.7 percent of 71 attempts for 603 yards with five TD passes and two INTs for a 97.3 passer rating. He also rushed 38 times for 168 yards and a score.
Entering the NFL, Lance was raw, having played in 19 games in college, including just one in his final year.
Kittle compared Lance to another former non-Power 5 quarterback.
"He reminds me most of Josh Allen," Kittle said. "And Josh Allen is an established quarterback. Trey has to prove that and do it on the football field, but I think he can move the chains, whether his feet, he's a big body, he can take hits. He wants to make plays. He's got a cannon of an arm. It's crazy. I mean, he can roll out to the right on the sideline and throw it diagonal like 50 yards on a line, you're like, 'OK yeah.' There's not a lot of people that can do that stuff. And, so, like I said, he's got an insane ceiling. That's what I'm so excited about."
The Lance-Allen comparison has some merits and negatives. Both played at smaller schools. Both own dual-threat abilities with huge upsides. Both have big arms. Both had questions about accuracy entering the NFL. But Allen's depth of experience was much greater in college than Lance's. The Bills staff is credited with helping develop Allen's strengths and helping get the QB to an MVP-caliber level. It's on San Francisco coach Kyle Shanahan and his staff to help Lance grow through his shortcomings.
With Garoppolo still on the roster, Kittle noted that he'd support whoever is under center but spent extra time praising Lance's upside -- an indicator that he knows the younger will be the one tossing him the pigskin in 2022.
"I'm kind of 50-50 right in the middle honestly," Kittle said, via NBC Sports Bay Area. "I think Jimmy is a fantastic leader, we almost won a Super Bowl, NFC champions twice in three seasons. And then you look at Trey, who I think has one of the highest ceilings I've ever seen before. Some of the things you see him do on the football field and you're like, 'Holy cow, I can't wait 'til he throws me passes.'
"So you know, I want whoever's going to be the better quarterback this season. And it is a business at the end of the day. I do trust Kyle Shanahan to pick the best quarterback. I don't have a preference, I don't. I like them both, they're both good guys. They both bring different things to the table."
Eventually, the only QB at the table in San Francisco will be Trey Lance.