The San Francisco 49ers head into free agency next week with a very real chance of having no quarterbacks on their roster. Blaine Gabbert, Christian Ponder, and Thad Lewis are all free agents, and Colin Kaepernick is expected to opt out of his contract in the coming days.
On Wednesday, head coach Kyle Shanahan met with the media at the NFL Combine, and he was asked about the quarterback position. He said he recently wrapped up his run through of all the internal team film. He acknowledged the team will likely be without a quarterback, but would not get into specifics about who the team might target. Unrestricted free agents do not become free to sign elsewhere until next week, and in the meantime, teams cannot discuss them by name.
The reporters asked Shanahan what he looked for most in a quarterback, and he talked about the ability to process information quickly. Smart quarterbacks can process information well, but if they cannot do it in a hurry, particularly when under duress, they aren’t really going to be all that helpful.
Shanahan talked about how they react in the pocket, whether or not they are watching rush or showing a bit more fearlessness against it. All of it can impact how quickly they can process what they see and make the decisions. They need to both avoid a sack and find their receiver while he is open.
Shanahan acknowledged he is behind in watching film on the draft class. He is continuing to watch film in the hotel each night, and they will be meeting with the various prospects throughout the next few days. That will later be followed by Pro Day workouts and up to 30 personal visits for each team. The team has to start making some decisions sooner rather than later with free agency approaching. We don’t know exactly what they will be looking for, but Shanahan’s experience in the league should mean the guy knows what he wants in a quarterback pretty well.