Each year, we run a series of post called "90-in-90" here at Niners Nation. The idea is that we'll take a look at every single player on the roster, from the very bottom to the top and break them down a few different ways. This is to help give everyone a basic understanding of a roster. Of course, this roster will change, and some days we'll have more than one so it's not strictly one per day but you get the idea.
The San Francisco 49ers overhauled their quarterback depth chart this offseason. With all of their 2016 quarterbacks hitting free agency, the 49ers signed Brian Hoyer and Barkley in veteran free agency, traded up in the draft to select Iowa’s C.J. Beathard, and then signed Southern Miss’ Nick Mullens as an undrafted free agent.
Beathard is a guy the 49ers were clearly enamored by, with Kyle Shanahan saying he was about the only QB in this year’s class that really jumped out at him. Mullens on the other hand got a fairly limited guarantee as a UDFA, signing for $20,000. Scouting reports point to a guy who does a good job processing his reads, and has good accuracy. His big negatives are a lack of traditional NFL size (6’1, 187 pounds), and questionable arm strength.
PFF offered this bottom line:
Mullens is a very solid and productive college player. His lack of size and arm strength are two major concerns in his transition to the NFL. For what he lacks in size in arm strength, he makes up for with his accuracy, pocket poise, and ability to work through progressions and see the game clearly. Although he comes from a spread wide open offense, Mullens can play the game – and worthy of either a late round selection or UFA with a chance to make a practice squad and develop.
NFL.com had this to say:
Mullens is a productive college quarterback with good competitiveness and toughness, but lacking the minimum standards of size and arm strength. Mullens could make it into camp, but is unlikely to find a spot on a roster.
In four seasons at Southern Mississippi (2013-16), played in 44 games (41 starts) and completed 928 of 1,546 attempts for 11,994 yards and 87 TDs. In 2016, made 11 starts and completed 243 of 384 attempts, for 3,272 yards and 24 touchdowns, averaging 297.5 passing yards per game. Started all 14 games as a junior in 2015, setting single-season school records for passing yards (4,476) and TD passes (38) as the Golden Eagles finished with more than 7,000 yards of offense for the first time in school history. In 2014, started 10 games and completed 218 of 365 attempts for 2,470 passing yards and 12 TDs. As a freshman in 2013, appeared in 9 games (6 starts) and threw for 1,776 yards and 13 touchdowns while earning Conference USA All-Freshman honors. Attended Spain Park (Birmingham, AL) HS, where he had 8,605 career passing yards, finishing his high school career with the 7th-most passing yards in AHSAA history, to go along with 40 passing TDs. Born 3/21/95 in Hoover, AL.
Weight: 187 lbs
Signed three-year UDFA deal. He received $20,000 guaranteed, including a $2,000 signing bonus and $18,000 of his base salary guaranteed, per Jason Hurley. He will earn league minimum salaries each year if he makes the roster.
What to expect in 2017
Mullens is competing for a spot on the practice squad at this point. While nothing is a certainty, it seems pretty likely he will be part of final roster cuts. At that point, he’ll either be claimed off waivers, pass through waivers and sign with the 49ers practice squad, or clear waivers and not be signed by the 49ers.
Odds of making the roster
There are not a lot of longshots on the 49ers roster given the new coaching staff and expected turnover, but Mullens is one of them. Brian Hoyer is all but locked in as the starter. Matt Barkley seems settled in the backup role, while C.J. Beathard is in the developmental third QB role. I can only see one way this changes. If Beathard impresses in training camp and the preseason, and Matt Barkley struggles, I could see the slimmest of chances that Beathard could claim the backup role and Mullens would become the third string. In that unlikely scenario though, I suppose a more likely result is the 49ers only carrying two quarterbacks. But again, that is unlikely, and I fully expect Barkley to be the 49ers backup QB.