The San Francisco 49ers made a huge move on Monday, trading a second-round pick for New England Patriots quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. The move sort of came out of nowhere, though upon further reflection it shouldn’t be that surprising.
Garoppolo was on the trade block and most of the quarterback-needy teams around the league have some sort of a plan already. The 49ers have plenty of picks in the 2018 NFL Draft and know by now that C.J. Beathard is probably not the starting answer.
This move doesn’t guarantee that Garoppolo is the starting quarterback for 2018, and it doesn’t guarantee that the 49ers won’t use a first-round pick on a quarterback. For the cost of a second-round pick, the 49ers have acquired a potential franchise quarterback, and advance notice on that quarterback in the form of eight remaining games this season.
Garoppolo could change the 49ers’ draft plans in a number of ways, but nothing is definitive ... or maybe it is? It all depends on how Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch view the roster around Garoppolo. Given the injuries to key players and the struggles thus far, I doubt that Garoppolo has to actually win games so much as he has to play as well as can be expected during them.
Not everyone thought the 49ers would spend a first-round pick on a quarterback even before this move, of course. At that spot, the 49ers could go with one of the stellar running backs coming out or any number of positions given the holes on the offensive line, edge rusher, linebacker, and cornerback.
So maybe they weren’t going to pick one early, in which case, I don’t think Garoppolo — barring an otherworldly performance in these next eight games — changes any plans they might have had taking one in the third round or beyond. They’d still like the guys they like and it would be worth spending that kind of draft pick.
When it comes down to it, it really all depends on how much weight Shanahan and Lynch give the next nine weeks. We don’t know how much they expect out of Garoppolo on short notice playing for an extremely injured team.
Or do any of you have a different read on it? I haven’t reached the point where I’m even watching film on prospects myself yet, so maybe I’m missing somebody.