Although this is my first FanPost, I've lurked here for quite some time, and I've noticed that many fans here want the 49ers to draft a QB fairly early this year. While that's an understandable desire, a quick look at history in the modern NFL shows that such an approach may be a bad idea, particularly this year. The 2011 QB draft class doesn't seem to have much in the way of legitimately exciting first-round prospects; Luck's decision to remain at Stanford removed its only truly compelling member, and while someone like Blaine Gabbert may eventually develop into a serviceable signal-caller, I don't see anyone teams are actually clamoring to draft early. If Gabbert, Mallett, etc. are drafted in the first round - and they very well may be - it will reflect more strongly on football teams' adherence to tradition than on the talent of the individuals being drafted.
In addition to my doubts regarding the presence in this class of a QB worthy of the #7 overall pick, I also see a number of players who should (the operative word) be available who could help the Niners at other areas of need immediately. Take Prince Amukamara, for example. (Despite the mock drafts I've seen here, I'm not at all convinced Patrick Peterson will be around after the first five picks, especially if Denver takes a shine to him.) I'm not sure Amukamara will really fall past the top six (if AZ doesn't draft a QB, isn't this their next best bet?), but if he does, could you really imagine us passing on him for one of those QBs?
From what I've read here, most of you agree that there's not a lot of value this year to drafting a QB at #7. But we obviously need one, so most people logically assume we should draft one fairly early. I've seen the third-round pick Walsh and Co. used to acquire Joe Montana referenced time and again in support of such an argument.
But the Montana Draft took place over three decades ago. If we learned anything from this previous coaching staff, it's that both the game and the league have evolved over that period of time. This is not an '80s game anymore.
I don't think it's a good idea to keep throwing high-ish draft picks (Dolphins, anyone?) at the QB position just because tradition says you should. And believe it or not, the record backs me up
Assuming we're not drafting a QB at #7, history warns us against using a second- or third-round pick on a QB unless that pick is used in a trade for one.
After the jump, I'll show you the record of all second- and third-round QB draft picks since the 1995 draft - just after the 49ers won the only Super Bowl of the Young/Seifert era. You may be startled.
QBs Drafted in Rounds 2-3 Since 1995
1995: Todd Collins (#45), Kordell Stewart (#70), Stoney Case (#80), Eric Zeier (#84)
1996: Tony Banks (#42), Bobby Hoying (#85)
1997: Jake Plummer (#42)
1999: Shaun King (#50), Brock Huard (#77)
2000: Gio Carmazzi (#65), Chris Redman (#75)
**Note: In today's draft, Drew Brees goes with the last pick of the first round.
2002: Josh McCown (#81)
2003: Dave Ragone (#88), Chris Simms (#97)
2004: Matt Schaub (#90)
2009: Pat White (#44)
Look at that track record. Two elite guys (Brees and Schaub), with a couple of guys with decent careers/potential for them (Plummer, Kolb, McCoy) and a few others who became career backups. In the past fifteen years, the only QBs from these rounds to make a Pro Bowl were Brees, Schaub, Plummer (?). and Griese (?!?). And what do you have left if you remove Brees from consideration, given that he was taken with what's now a first-round pick?
Decent QBs are fine; I just get the sense that the Niner fanbase wants more than a 20th-to-24th-best QB in the league manning the spot under center. (If they were fine with that, the vociferous opposition to Alex Smith makes little sense.)
It seems counter-intuitive, but history indicates that teams who aren't planning to draft a signal-caller in the first round need to wait until Sunday (or, now that Round 4 has been moved, late Saturday) to pick one. Given our team's needs, I'd like to see them adopt an approach that takes history into account, and not one that simply assumes the dominant pattern of modern NFL history won't apply to them. We assume great QBs are to be had in Rounds 2-3 just because Bill Walsh found one there. But Walsh found him over thirty years ago.
Trent, Jim, minions who work for them and are far more likely to read this: Wait to draft a QB this year.