The San Francisco 49ers will probably draft a quarterback in the 2016 NFL Draft. They will probably draft one early, potentially with the No. 7 overall pick or later. It could even be sooner if they feel the need to jump beyond the Cleveland Browns or the Dallas Cowboys, two teams routinely considered likely to take one of Jared Goff or Carson Wentz, the top quarterbacks in the NFL Draft.
If the 49ers lose out on one of those guys, reaching for someone else like Paxton Lynch of Memphis, Connor Cook of Michigan State or Dak Prescott of Mississippi State is unlikely. In that instance, the 49ers could go with another player -- the top of the draft is loaded with can't miss defensive prospects that the 49ers would be able to land if two picks are already spent on quarterbacks by the time No. 7 overall rolls around -- or they could trade back in the first round.
By trading back, they would be able to take a shot at getting some more capital while also being able to take one of those other quarterbacks in good conscience. If they don't do that and pick a defensive player, they are still in a position to land a player with starting potential at the start of the second round.
This draft is considered a poor one for quarterbacks overall, but outside of the top two prospects, there are a lot of guys with high ceilings who need a bit more coaching than Goff or Wentz. Guys who would do best to sit behind someone else and develop rather than be thrown into the frying pan right away. These are not the guys the 49ers would ideally acquire, but they're not going to be competitive next season anyway. Sitting behind Blaine Gabbert and Colin Kaepernick isn't the worst job in the NFL.
But if the 49ers do go that route, they may encounter more resistance than you might expect. Guys like Lynch and Cook may have a future starting in the NFL and there are quite a few teams that could do a whole lot worse than landing one of them to develop behind ... say, an aging veteran.
That exposes a whole new group of teams for the 49ers to contend with on draft day. The veteran stalwarts of today will soon be the veteran stalwarts of yesterday, and a changing of the guard will occur.
At the SB Nation mothership, I took a look at a few teams that could use the draft as a way to build for the future at the quarterback position despite there not being an immediate need there. The teams I chose were the Arizona Cardinals, San Diego Chargers and those pesky, pesky Cowboys.
Yeah, the Cowboys are already in the discussion when it comes to foiling the 49ers' plans but if they somehow don't end up with Wentz or Goff, then they could become a thorn in San Francisco's side once again as they look for someone to give them insurance against an aging and deteriorating Tony Romo. For the Cardinals and Chargers, things are less dire but Carson Palmer and Philip Rivers are getting up there in years.
Go ahead and check out the piece, in which I go into more detail than I am here, but it's worth noting there are other teams to consider as well. The New England Patriots have Jimmy Garoppolo, but who knows if they really think he can be the starter of the future? The Chicago Bears actually got strong play out of Jay Cutler last season, but his contract is still terrible and he's not consistent enough to warrant the kind of confidence that comes with not grooming a successor.
Landing a franchise quarterback is difficult, it turns out.