The San Francisco 49ers have five games to really begin the process of figuring out their quarterback of the future. Jimmy Garoppolo will make his first start for the team this Sunday against the Chicago Bears, and barring injury, he will likely remain in the starting lineup the rest of the season.
Five games is likely not enough to know for certain that he is a franchise guy, but let’s say for a moment he dominates the rest of the way. Let’s say this ends with the 49ers signing him to a lucrative contract extension between now and March. If that happens, the 49ers would see themselves in a strong position with Garoppolo starting, and a very capable C.J. Beathard backing him up.
Even if all that happens, the 49ers should still spend a draft pick on the quarterback position in the 2018 NFL Draft. It is unlikely the 49ers will carry three quarterbacks at any point next season, but I am firmly of the belief that you should probably draft a quarterback every year. You certainly don’t need to be spending high picks on it, but there needs to be something.
Under Trent Baalke, the 49ers drafted Colin Kaepernick in 2011, B.J. Daniels in 2013, and Jeff Driskel in 2016. They acquired Blaine Gabbert via trade in 2014, and while Gabbert stinks, that was at least an attempt to see what you could do with a still young asset. However, I still think adding a QB in the draft in 2015 would have made some sense given how 2014 went.
For the time being, Garoppolo and Beathard are likely the guys for the foreseeable future. However, if you add a third quarterback you think has some upside, you at least open the door to a Beathard trade next year or beyond. That’s not to say you want to make such a deal happen, but you give yourself more flexibility.
The quarterback position is incredibly important, and given what we’ve seen for several teams this year, having questions after your starter is problematic. C.J. Beathard looks like he will be a very capable backup option, but more competition is needed back there. I don’t think you spend a day one or day two pick on the position, but it makes sense to continue addressing it.