Each year, we run a series of post called "90-in-90" here at Niners Nation. The idea is that we'll take a look at every single player on the roster, from the very bottom to the top and break them down a few different ways. This is to help give everyone a basic understanding of a roster. Of course, this roster will change, and some days we'll have more than one so it's not strictly one per day but you get the idea.
The San Francisco 49ers were viewed by many as a team that needed to draft a quarterback in the 2016 NFL Draft. They were frequently connected to Jared Goff and Carson Wentz, with Connor Cook frequently mentioned as a second round option. The team did not select any of them, instead opting to spend a sixth round pick on Louisiana Tech quarterback Jeff Driskel.
Driskel transferred to Louisiana Tech after a less than stellar career at Florida. He put up huge numbers at Tech, finishing his single season there with 4,026 yards, 27 touchdowns, and 8 interceptions. In four years at Florida, he had 3,411 yards, 23 touchdowns, and 20 interceptions. The Tech offense simplified things for him, offering a lot of pre-determined reads out of the shotgun. Driskel will get plenty of shotgun opportunities in Chip Kelly’s offense, but his accuracy is still a bit of concern. He can hit on short stuff, but intermediate and deep passes are not pretty for him. That can potentially work to some extent in this offense, but it seems like his mechanics still need to get cleaned up.
Here’s some biographical info courtesy of the 49ers PR department:
Was the first of three sixth round draft picks (207th overall) in this year’s draft out of Louisiana Tech University. In just one season at Louisiana Tech, he was named Conference USA Newcomer of the Year and also earned Honorable Mention All-Conference USA, Conference USA All-Academic Team, Louisiana Newcomer of the Year and First-Team All-Louisiana honors. Driskel started all 13 games in 2015 and completed 281 or 450 attempts for 4,033 yards, 27 touchdowns and eight interceptions. His 4,033 passing yards ranked 3rd in school history for a single season. Driskel transferred to Louisiana Tech after graduating from the University of Florida.
In four years with the Gators, he played in 29 games (21 starts) and completed 328 of 552 attempts for 3,411 yards, 23 touchdowns and 20 interceptions, while rushing for 644 yards and 8 touchdowns on 220 carries. In 2014, he played in nine games (six starts) and completed 114 of 212 attempts for 1,140 yards, nine touchdowns and 10 interceptions, while rushing for 180 yards and four touchdowns on 69 carries. In 2013, Driskel started all three games in which he appeared and completed 42 of 61 attempts for 477 yards and two touchdowns. In 2012, he started all 12 games in which he appeared and completed 156 of 245 attempts for 1,646 yards, 12 touchdowns and five interceptions, while rushing for 408 yards and three touchdowns on 118 carries. In 2011, he appeared in five games and completed 16 of 34 attempts for 148 yards. A 23-year old native of Oviedo, FL, Driskel attended Hagerty High School in Oviedo.
Signed four-year rookie contract. Rookie year will feature a base salary of $450,000 and a cap hit of $478,135.
What to expect in 2016
Driskel got quarterback snaps in the offseason program, and Chip Kelly had praise for his work thus far. It is not remotely surprising that this led to national media jumping on the notion that maybe Driskel could compete for the starting job sooner rather than later. Anything is possible in the NFL, but for now, he remains a developmental prospect.
If Driskel makes the roster out of training camp, there are two particularly likely options for what he does during the season. The first is that he is inactive most weeks, and just spends the season learning. The other option is that he gains experience in the special teams work we heard he was involved in during the offseason workout program, and is active for that role. The other significant option is he ends up released and signed to the practice squad. I think that latter one is the least likely of the three.
Odds of making the roster
I think his roster chances are fairly decent. I’d still lean “weak bubble,” but it would be the stronger side of that. I would not be surprised if the 49ers went with just two quarterbacks in Blaine Gabbert and Colin Kaepernick, but if Driskel gets enough special teams work between now and the end of camp, it would make sense to keep him. They avoid losing him to waivers, and get some productivity out of him while he continues developing as a quarterback.