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How will the free agency quarterbacks shake up the 2018 NFL Draft?

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The 49ers don’t need a quarterback, but they’ll be keeping an eye on who does what in free agency.

The San Francisco 49ers head into the coming free agency and draft period without a big question surrounding their quarterback position. Yes, there is uncertainty about Jimmy Garoppolo’s contract status. However, with the franchise tag at their disposal, odds are pretty good Garoppolo is their starting quarterback this fall in some form or fashion.

With quarterback off the table as an urgent need, the 49ers have some flexibility in free agency and the draft. Other teams however will find themselves needing to sort through the jumble of veteran and rookie quarterbacks available. And that will impact the 49ers in the draft.

SB Nation’s Dan Kadar put together his latest 2018 NFL mock draft, and he decided to take a dive into the many free agent quarterbacks that could shake things up. Here are his free agency predictions:

Sam Bradford to the New York Jets
Kirk Cousins stays in Washington
Alex Smith to the Cleveland Browns
Teddy Bridgewater returns to starting role with Minnesota Vikings
Case Keenum to the Arizona Cardinals

The remaining names do not change. Drew Brees remains with the New Orleans Saints, and restricted free agent A.J. McCarron is tendered by the Cincinnati Bengals.

In his ensuing mock draft, Dan had five first round quarterbacks, including three in the first five picks. His QB picks were as follows:

1. Cleveland Browns: Sam Darnold, QB, Southern California
2. New York Giants: Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA
5. Denver Broncos: Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma
17. Los Angeles Chargers: Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville
21. Buffalo Bills: Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming

Five first round quarterbacks is sounding very likely, but the big question is how many go in the top ten. The 49ers would be fine using their first round pick to select the best available non-quarterback and moving on from there. But having the chance to move down and secure multiple first round picks would certainly be a big help in this rebuilding process.

Free agency is going to be fascinating to watch amidst all this. The New York Jets and Arizona Cardinals in particular would be big factors in the draft if they do not land something in free agency. The Jets have no long-term option, and the Cardinals just lost Carson Palmer to retirement. The Jets are picking ahead of the 49ers, while the Cardinals will be five or six spots back of the 49ers. Both could have a big impact on how the first round shakes out.