Quarterbacks, who doesn't like talking about quarterbacks? The most over-scrutinized position in professional sports was just over-evaluated by yours truly. I was excited to watch a crop of prospects that had a lot more talent than the 2012 draft class. Last season, only one quarterback was selected in the first round, E.J. Manuel. This year is a different story, as you will see multiple quarterbacks drafted in round one.
With Colin Kaepernick at the helm for the 49ers, they have their quarterback of the foreseeable future. An early round selection at the position isn't going to happen, but round three and later is when you could see them taking one. It all boils down to who Jim Harbaugh likes. It's safe to say he has an eye for talent when it comes to the field general. I hope Mr. Baalke let's Harbaugh get his pick if he sees one to his liking. Or they could both sit down and agree that a veteran backup would be a better idea, only time will tell.
Here are my top ten quarterbacks:
|3||Johnny Manziel||6-0||210||Texas A&M|
|4||Derek Carr||6-2||215||Fresno State|
|6||Jimmy Garoppolo||6-2||219||Eastern Illinois|
|9||Connor Shaw||6-0||209||South Carolina|
|10||David Fales||6-2||220||San Jose State|
At the top of the class, it is a neck and neck battle between Teddy Bridgewater and Blake Bortles. Both do a lot of things well that will translate into success in the NFL. I believe both will have good careers in the NFL. Bridgewater does a nice job of going through reads quickly while standing strong in the pocket. I like his poise and mechanics. Bortles has shown that he should be in the discussion to be the first quarterback drafted off the board. Although Bortles is a very good prospect, he doesn't have as good of mechanics as Bridgewater or as strong of an arm.
The top ten does have some names that would fall into rounds the 49ers could draft a quarterback (5-10). Out of these quarterbacks, what makes the most sense is drafting a quarterback with a little mobility. Since Jim Harbaugh has been a head coach (2004 University of San Diego), he has liked quarterbacks that are mobile (Josh Johnson, Andrew Luck, Alex Smith, Colin Kaepernick). The evidence would indicate that if would be more likely for the 49ers to draft a mobile QB to backup Kaepernick. The good news is most of these quarterbacks do possess that attribute to different degrees.
A.J. McCarron comes in ranked a little higher than some may have him, and I take the attitude of "Why not?" He played in a pro-style offense, in the toughest division in college football, and rarely lost. McCarron, has that term quarterbacks hate to hear attached to his name.. "Game Manager". This is a little unfair, as McCarron played in a lot of blowout games in which they ran the ball most of the second half. McCarron is a smart decision maker, has good pocket awareness, mobility, and accuracy. He's a winner.
The most mobile and exciting of the bunch is Connor Shaw. Shaw is a dual threat quarterback that can run the read option, or throw an aerial strike deep down the field. Shaw put up solid statistics this year, throwing for 2,447 yards, 24 touchdowns and just one interception, while completing 63.4 percent of his throws. He also rushed for 558 yards and six touchdowns. While Shaw probably won't be this year's Russell Wilson, I do believe he is a sleeper thus far in the draft process and his stock will rise. The reason he isn't more highly touted is he is only 6 feet tall, and height is scrutinized heavily in the draft. If you watch tape of Shaw, it's evident he can play, and whatever team gives him a chance has a diamond in the rough. He looks capable of adjusting to the NFL speed, and when he is forced to ad-lib he will still make good decisions and not force anything.
San Jose State's David Fales comes in at No. 10 with a mixed bag of strengths and weaknesses. Fales is a west coast-type passer who gets rid of the ball decisively and can keep a play alive with his legs. His biggest weakness is that he doesn't have a very good arm; deep balls can look downright ugly at times. He throws a lot of ugly ducks, and his deeper accuracy isn't stellar, which doesn't help matters.
We will talk more about specific quarterbacks the 49ers could target as the draft process chugs along. Feel free to post your quarterback rankings, I'd like to see who you think is the best. Would you trust any of these quarterbacks to back up Colin Kaepernick? Or should the 49ers sign a veteran instead?