The restructuring of Alex Smith's contract has people all atwitter over the QB position. The competition is currently set between Alex Smith and Shaun Hill (sorry Damon Huard), but there is always the possibility the 49ers go for a QB in the draft to slowly develop going forward. Discussion has centered on everyone from Matthew Stafford to Mark Sanchez to Josh Freeman to Nate Longshore (just kidding).
One California QB that does intrigue me is Tom Bradstater of Fresno State. Right off the bat, I'll acknowledge that his stats definitely do not blow anybody away (well except maybe his mom):
However, after watching him in the Shrine Game, I was kind of in awe at his formidable size. He stands 6'5 220 lbs and has a very solid arm. I think people said the same thing about Jeff George and obviously that worked out real well. But if Brandstater isn't a head case, maybe he's worth a late pick or signing as an undrafted free agent.
He's obviously got the size at 6'5, 220. Fortunately it sounds like he can move around in the pocket fairly well for a big guy. Given the athleticism of defensive players these days, mobility is a big plus. You don't see many immovable objects like Drew Bledsoe anymore. At the combine he ran a 4.37 20-yard shuttle run, which was good for fifth best among QBs. That shows his ability to get back and forth and general mobility.
The big plus lately is that apparently between the Shrine Game and the Combine, Brandstater was working on his accuracy. At the Shrine Game he definitely had issues overthrowing receivers, but according to some folks at nfldraftscout.com, he really helped himself at the Combine in that area.
While he has some weaknesses in his mechanics, it sounds like he could prove solid in the West Coast offense. The 49ers seem to want to incorporate some aspects of the West Coast offense into the Raye-Singletary experiment, so that's something to keep in mind.
Accuracy is still an issue deep down the field. While he can hit the shorter 10-20 yard passes he really struggles deep, which is something that showed in the Shrine Game. Additionally, his decision-making apparently leaves something to be desired. He can telegraph passes, which is when he's not poorly delivering them.
It sounds like the big problem for him throughout his college career is inconsistency. He'll take a step in his development, only to take two steps back. NFL Draft Scout indicated that 2008 yielded big numbers in part due to a spread offense look. It seems like that's all the rage in the college game these days. Of course, if Brandstater is going to be sitting for a season or two anyways, maybe it's not that big a deal.
Brandstater is consistently labeled a project, with many sites not expecting much more than a solid backup QB. Brandstater thinks he could be drafted anywhere from the 2nd to 5th round, but many folks see him as strictly 5th round or later.
We'll be going over other QBs in the coming weeks, but I'm curious if people see Brandstater as someone who could be developed and coached into an actual starting QB in the NFL? If there was ever a time to grab a guy late and stash him on the bench, now is that time given that Hill and Smith will be duking it out over the next two seasons. Of course, if people don't think Brandstater could ever turn into anything, why bother drafting him at all? Am I just mesmerized by his 6'5-ness?