This past Monday, the Seattle Seahawks surprised a lot of us when they made a trade for Oakland Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor. When that news broke, there were also some rumors that the San Francisco 49ers had been in the mix for Pryor. The Seahawks gave up a seventh round pick for Pryor, so odds are the 49ers were looking to give up no more than a conditional pick.
Any deal for Pryor would have been no more than a flier for the 49ers. They have Colin Kaepernick locked in as their starting quarterback, so the extent of backup playing time would be in the preseason and regular season blowouts (hoping for no injury reasons, obviously). That being said, it does raise the question of whether or not it provides some insight into potential quarterback draft plans.
In reality, it doesn't tell us more than we probably already knew. I think Chris Biderman probably best summed up Jim Harbaugh and quarterbacks:
If you play quarterback Jim Harbaugh would like to coach you.— Chris Biderman (@ChrisBiderman) April 22, 2014
Jim Harbaugh does like himself some quarterbacks. Trent Baalke has stated that while Harbaugh has plenty of input in the personnel process, he can get a little more involved in quarterbacks, for obvious reasons. We saw this last year as Harbaugh was working his way through new backup quarterbacks at a sometimes amusingly high clip. Whether it was Colt McCoy, Seneca Wallace, Scott Tolzien, B.J. Daniels, Harbaugh was looking for options.
It should be no surprise that he had some interest in Pryor. Although Pryor has not panned out in the NFL, he's shown some flashes, and I have to think that intrigued Harbaugh at least a little bit. The question then becomes how much it might tell us about the 49ers draft strategy as it relates to quarterbacks. Colin Kaepernick is locked in as the starting quarterback, but the team will continue looking for a viable backup option. That is important for purposes of potential injuries, but also because developing a quality backup can mean an eventual trade down the road.
The 49ers entered the offseason with McLeod Bethel-Thompson as the only backup quarterback. They then acquired Blaine Gabbert in a trade. I see little reason Gabbert is not on the season-opening 53-man roster given his guaranteed money. Of course, anything is possible when it comes to roster spots, but my guess is he sticks.
Coach Harbaugh has made the rounds, working with various quarterbacks, and just this past Friday he declared San Jose State quarterback David Fales as one of the top five quarterbacks in this year's class. He has interest in quarterbacks, and will let it be known. It's an interesting year for quarterbacks. There isn't a clear-cut top option, but odds seem good two or three quarterbacks will go pretty high. The draft process has once again resulted in media picking apart players based more on a weak Pro Day, or some ridiculous non-story. In less than two weeks, we'll find out how much truth there is to what seems like nonsense.
I do think the 49ers end up drafting a quarterback to compete with Blaine Gabbert and McLeod Bethel-Thompson. I could see an early day 3 pick used for this. Gabbert is only signed for one more year, and getting a rookie in for the next four years provides a chance to develop him, and potentially move him for a draft pick down the road.