The San Francisco 49ers overhauled their quarterback depth chart this offseason, adding veterans Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley, and rookies C.J. Beathard and Nick Mullens . Hoyer and Barkley represent decent short-term options, while Beathard was a surprise when the 49ers moved up into the back end of the third round to select him.
Following the 49ers maneuverings in free agency and the draft, there has been a common refrain. The team is looking to either sign Kirk Cousins next year, or invest a high pick in what most believe will be a stacked 2018 quarterback class.
Earlier this week, John Lynch made an appearance on KNBR, and he was asked about the moves the team made. In their 2017 draft moves, they acquired picks in the second and third round of the 2018 draft. With a team most expect to not be particularly good, they could be in a position to either draft a QB with their first round pick, or package some picks to move up if needed.
Lynch spoke to that notion:
I think we’ve been very upfront that we understand that you have to have a big-time, franchise quarterback to have the success on a year-in and year-out basis that we want to. So, we’re aware of that. We’re hopeful that it’s one of the guys we already have, whether that be Brian Hoyer really seizing this opportunity, or Beathard, who we drafted, really taking his opportunity and running with it. But we’re going to look at that position each and every year, and you’re absolutely right that. I’ve looked at it some, and just in studying the players from this year’s draft, there’s a quality quarterback class coming.
We just felt like, the opportunity to get a lot of players this year that we really valued, but then also the opportunity to stockpile for next year. As we’re trying to rebuild this thing, we want to rebuild it with a nucleus of players that really fit our mold. And so, we were able to do both of those, and that’s why I felt so good about this draft. We were able to get Solomon Thomas, Reuben Foster, but also get some picks. I can’t take all of the credit for that. We came into this draft with ten picks, and had the No. 2 pick. So some of it’s the situation you’re coming into. And our team did a great job though of navigating the draft in a positive way, where we got big time players, but also set ourselves up for the future.
Of course, the team does have Brian Hoyer in the meantime. He has experience with Kyle Shanahan, and when healthy has done some decent things in the past. Lynch was asked if Hoyer is enough for the 49ers to win games, and he had this to say:
Oh, I think he is. We wouldn’t have brought him in if we didn’t think so. Hoyer has played really good football in this league. I think his biggest challenge has been staying healthy, so we’re gonna try to do as much as we can to do just that. He’s familiar with Kyle’s system, and we were excited when were able to secure him for us here in San Francisco. And we’re excited to see Brian play. He’s had a really good offseason. He’s helped teach the rest of the guys, even though he’s only been around it for one year. Got a really good understanding of the offense. And he’s been able to help everybody around here learn Kyle’s system and we’re excited to see him play.”
The 49ers return for training camp in under four weeks. Matt Barkley will be competing for some kind of opportunity as well, but it seems pretty clear Brian Hoyer and C.J. Beathard are the guys to watch coming out of the gate. Given Hoyer’s history, it is a safe bet to guess Barkley gets some playing time this season. At the same time, if Beathard impresses in August, could he climb into the backup role this year?