The San Francisco 49ers have more or less completed their run through free agency, having signed two players, traded for two more, and seen four depart. They might add one or two more veteran minimum types, but for now they've mostly completed their business.
The 2014 NFL Draft is still 49 days away, but now seemed like as good a time as any to start breaking down each position's depth chart, and what is left to be added. Some positions will not require any additions, but are likely to be considered for more depth. It might be a veteran free agent, a couple draft picks, or even some undrafted free agents, but the team will consider various options to fill out the roster.
Given the news yesterday of Jim Harbaugh visiting Virginia Tech's Pro Day, and Geep Chryst checking out San Jose State's Pro Day, I figured we might as well start with the quarterback position. Thus far, we've assessed the position in a few ways:
The San Francisco 49ers traded their 6th round pick this year for quarterback Blaine Gabbert. With his addition, the 49ers quarterback depth chart is as follows:
QB: Colin Kaepernick, Blaine Gabbert, McLeod Bethel-Thompson
The 49ers could go into the season with this trio of quarterbacks and probably be fine. You've got the clear-cut starter, a backup with some game experience, and a developmental prospect. It's not a great two and three, but it's something to work with for now.
And yet, I think we can all say with certainty that the 49ers will not go into training camp with just three quarterbacks. The addition of Blaine Gabbert would seemingly rule out a free agent, but even that is no sure thing. We saw that last year when the 49ers had a round-robin of third string quarterbacks. The 49ers might consider another free agent option, but given that I am not expecting much from that, I will direct you to James Brady's rundown of free agent QBs. Most of them are still available!
We'll have more rankings in the coming weeks, but for now, here are the consensus rankings for quarterbacks via Poldarn's consensus big board.
1. Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville
2. Blake Bortles, Central Florida
3. Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M
4. Derek Carr, Fresno State
5. Jimmy Garoppolo, Eastern Illinois
6. A.J. McCarron, Alabama
7. Zach Mettenberger, LSU
8. Brett Smith, Wyoming
9. Aaron Murray, Georgia
10. David Fales, San Jose State
11. Tajh Boy, Clemson
12. Logan Thomas, Virginia Tech
13. Stephen Morris, Miami (Fl)
14. Keith Wenning, Ball State
15. Tom Savage, Pittsburgh
16. Jeff Mathews, Cornell
17. Connor Shaw, South Carolina
18. Keith Price Washington
19. Dustin Vaughan, West Texas A&M
20. Bryn Renner, North Carolina
21. Kenny Guiton, Ohio State
22. Garrett Gilbert, Southern Methodist
The 49ers have had a chance to observe a few of these quarterbacks,, including Garoppolo, Fales and Thomas, at their Pro Days. The team has spent their time checking out film, so Pro Days are likely more just a final chance to check things out. I don't think it will make or break anything, but it's still interesting to see where the team travels to view players in person.
I could still see the 49ers use a day three pick on a quarterback. A rookie quarterback would be in simply as a developmental prospect, but with Gabbert only signed through 2014, if Jim Harbaugh likes a specific quarterback, why not grab him? I do think the team would be wise to sign Gabbert to a new deal that keeps him around through 2015, but even then, you'd still have a 2014 draft pick signed for two more years. I'm sure McLeod Bethel-Thompson can improve as a quarterback, but if the team is ready to look elsewhere, why not see what you can get?