Barring injuries (KNOCK ON WOOD), it's pretty clear that J.T. O'Sullivan will spend his 49ers career carrying a clipboard as the third string emergency QB. He's been in the NFL for five years and last season was the first time he even attempted a pass, going 13-26 with 1 INT and 2 TDs for the Lions.
Nonetheless, I figured we might as well get some info together on him considering the potential for injury in the NFL. Seeing as Cody Pickett saw playing time for the 49ers, anything is possible. And a lazy Sunday afternoon is a perfect time to run this. So, I shot an email to Sean Yuille over at Pride of Detroit, our Lions blog, and he had some comments on O'Sullivan:
J.T. O'Sullivan was signed by the Lions last summer after coming off of a stint in NFL Europa. Before that, he was a journeyman QB in the NFL and actually had played for every NFC North team except for the Lions. Once he did arrive in Detroit, Mike Martz was clearly impressed. O'Sullivan managed to learn Martz's complicated offense in literally only a few weeks, which is why he became the backup to Jon Kitna so quickly. O'Sullivan never really had a shot at starting in Detroit due to Martz's love for Kitna, but he was definitely the second best QB on the roster. During the preseason, he looked much better than the other backup, Dan Orlovsky, and in the one game he had actual playing time in during the regular season, O'Sullivan did a decent job of filling in for Kitna.
I would say O'Sullivan will never see the field as a starter in this league, but he is a solid backup and great to have around in practice. If Mike Martz weren't in San Francisco then O'Sullivan wouldn't be either, but for the Martz offense, he is a perfect fit.
I'm guessing the sole reason for bringing him in was that he does actually have experience with Mike Martz, which could be of some value at some point. Also, let's check out what Scout's Inc has to say about O'Sullivan:
. . . You would like to have a little more height so that throwing windows would be there without a lot of movement in the pocket. He is a good athlete with good strength and he shows that he has good foot quickness [with] the ability to move in the pocket to buy time until receivers come open. He gets set up in the pocket quickly and he gets the ball out however he has a bit of a windup in his throwing motion and he needs to become more consistent in his delivery of the ball. He has decent arm strength and he gets good velocity on his short to intermediate passes however he tends to think he can get the ball into spaces where he shouldn't. He has decent accuracy with his short to intermediate passes but he needs to develop more patience in the pocket and do a better job with his pre snap reads and his overall decision making . . . he has some very good physical tools to work with and he has a chance to develop into a very solid back up in the league.
So maybe the 49ers get a decent emergency option out of this. Considering he signed for the league minimum I don't have much of an opinion on him other than to hope he never actually has to enter a game.
EDITOR'S UPDATE 12:26PM - I was just reading Matt Barrows' blog and he made a great point in his analysis of the O'Sullivan signing:
The Smith-Shaun Hill competition promises to squeeze the best out of both quarterbacks. But what will really accelerate the process is having to compete with a third guy who already knows the offense.
Makes a lot of sense. We'll see how that plays out in training camp.