Some of my favorite posts of the post-draft period are the 49ers 53-man roster projections that we put together. In years past we'd take a look at positions and roll out multiple 53-man roster projections over the offseason. Last offseason, we took it a step further by doing a position-by-position breakdown of players that were locks and on the bubble. From those posts we can get an idea of how to manufacture the site's 53-man roster projection. After all, there are certain guys I see as locks that you might view as on the bubble, or guys I view as having no chance that you see as being bubble players. Part of the benefit of this exercise is to also help us project out the practice squad.
I thought we'd start off with one of the easier positions to break down, but one that will certainly generate a torrent of debate: the 49ers quarterbacks. At this point, we've got some fairly solid ideas about QB1 and QB2, but after that it gets a little more interesting. I've got my own thoughts on that battle, but I'm fairly positive there will be some strong disagreement.
Alex Smith, David Carr
Nate Davis, Jarrett Brown
After the jump, we dive into the "controversy" if you will...
Whether you're somehow convinced that David Carr will pull the upset in training camp, or you're more grounded in what I like to call "reality," it's safe to say these two guys will be on the roster come week 1. I actually don't even think it's conceivable that Carr gets bounced off the roster. Even if Nate Davis and/or Jarrett Brown are absolutely spectacular in training camp, I'm fairly certain Mike Singletary wants to have a veteran backup for Alex Smith. I've been wrong before, but I'd be willing to bet a lot on this one.
So, rather than extend the same debate on Alex Smith, let's look at what really matters for the purposes of our 53-man roster projection. The real question at this point is which of Davis or Brown ends up as the #3 quarterback, and whether the team might keep four QBs. I'm pretty sure four quarterbacks is not in the cards. I included it in the poll just so people have that option. If you do think the team keeps 4, I'd love to know why. So, assuming the team doesn't keep four quarterbacks, one of these two guys will be shown the door before September 12. I suppose one could end up on the practice squad, but we'll just look at this as far as the 53-man roster is concerned.
After the recent OTAs, Matt Maiocco put together a quick review on all of the offensive players. He had this to say about Brown and Davis:
3-Jarrett Brown: The undrafted rookie from West Virginia did not receive any reps during 11-on-11 or 7-on-7, as he begins the arduous process of learning the offense.
7-Nate Davis: He received between 15 and 20 snaps during 11-on-11 work over the course of the four days. He really does have a cannon for an arm and throws with great velocity when he's on the move, too. The accuracy isn't always there, though, as sometimes the ball comes out wobbly. There were some good signs, such as his standing at the line of scrimmage and directing traffic pre-snap. He's showing greater comfort in what he's being asked to do. The learning continues.
Even the biggest Nate Davis-hater would have to admit that Davis has a big head-start over Brown when it comes to making the roster. He's got a long way to go, but a full year in the offense, even if he wasn't getting many practice reps is light years ahead of Brown. For the folks hoping the team goes with Brown, do you think he has enough time in the next two months to be sufficiently ready at training camp to make a big impact?
I'm not saying it won't be a battle for that 3rd QB spot, but I honestly think Brown is a little closer to off the bubble than others might think. Maybe he'll surprise some folks in training camp, but he has a long road ahead of him, and very little time to get down it.