The San Francisco 49ers made a move up into the third round of the 2017 NFL draft to select Iowa quarterback C.J. Beathard. It was an unexpected move, but clearly the 49ers liked him. Many expected him to slip into the late rounds of the draft, but Kyle Shanahan felt the 49ers need to make a strong move to ensure they could get him.
The 49ers have acknowledged he is a developmental prospect who will be third on the depth chart this fall. Most of this year’s quarterbacks are viewed as more developmental in nature than we sometimes see. And for a lot of teams, that meant they will wait on addressing current or future QB needs. Mitchell Trubisky, Patrick Mahomes, and DeShaun Watson were all drafted in the first round, but we saw a lot of players slip from there as teams clearly had some issues with them.
However, 2018 could very well prove different. We have heard plenty about the impressive QB class expected to enter that draft. SB Nation’s Dan Kadar put together his first 2018 NFL mock draft (don’t worry, it will be his last until the fall), and he has six quarterbacks in the first round, including five in the top 11 picks. He set his draft order based on Super Bowl 52 odds, and has the top three teams selecting USC’s Sam Darnold (Browns), UCLA’s Josh Rosen (49ers), and Wyoming’s Josh Allen (Jets). The other quarterbacks in the first round included Oklahoma State’s Mason Rudolph (Washington), Louisville’s Lamar Jackson (Chargers), and Washington State’s Luke Falk (Bills).
He had this to say about each of the first three picks:
Darnold (Browns): Selecting DeShone Kizer in the second round this year shouldn’t stop the Browns from taking a first-round quarterback in 2018.
Rosen (49ers): This is San Francisco’s current quarterback depth chart: Brian Hoyer, Matt Barkley, and C.J. Beathard. They’re in position to get a franchise quarterback in 2018.
Allen (Jets): Quarterbacks haven’t been the first three picks in the draft since 1999, but teams showed this year they’ll be aggressive at the position. The Jets can get the player many consider the next Carson Wentz.
Plenty is going to change between now and next April, and honestly, between now and the end of the upcoming college football season. And free agency could be the big change on this. Kirk Cousins and Jimmy Garoppolo could both hit free agency, which would be a big change in who is looking to address the QB position. Whomever signs them is all but certain to not spend a first round pick on the position.
But if the 49ers head into the 2017 NFL draft with their current QB depth chart, who would you want to take? The Browns are in the best position holding an extra No. 1, while the 49ers have an extra second and third if they want to move around. Regardless of the eventual draft position, who are your favorite QBs in next year’s draft class?