It’s Monday and there’s a lot of obvious salt over how the San Francisco 49ers’ loss to the Chicago Bears ended. But we’re not here to talk about why Nick Mullens didn’t run it on fourth down. Instead, let’s talk about him throwing the ball, and how he’s kind of good at it. After the game ended, Matt Maiocco tweeted out this stat to show how Mullens has been doing:
Most passing yards in first seven career games (since 1970)— Matt Maiocco (@MaioccoNBCS) December 24, 2018
2,149 -- Patrick Mahomes, KC, 2018
2,103 – Cam Newton, Car, 2011
1,995 – Nick Mullens, SF, 2018
That’s pretty good company to be in. Cam Newton is a polarizing quarterback and personality, but he has shown he can play in the NFL, and Patrick Mahomes needs no introduction after the season he’s having.
Those other two quarterbacks were first round picks. Mullens was an undrafted free agent who started on the practice squad and got his starting opportunity almost by accident. He’s made the mistakes you see young quarterbacks make, but he’s also made it clear that he belongs in the NFL.
That Bears defense has been harassing signal callers all season long and the situation was no different to Mullens, yet he only took one sack and completed 57 percent of his passes. Yes, there were no touchdowns, and yes, he threw an interception (one that wasn’t on him), but given how this defense has shut down quarterbacks (Los Angeles Rams QB Jared Goff only managed 180 yards while going 20 for 44), I’d say that’s a pretty solid performance by the young quarterback.
The 49ers are going to have some decisions to make in the offseason. We’ll break down the scenarios available once the season ends, but moving Mullens for draft picks isn’t a crazy theory. He’s proven he can play and he also has experience in an NFL offense along with a cheap contract for a team to give him a try. On the flip side, Jimmy Garoppolo’s return is no guarantee, and keeping Mullens around just in case, à la Nick Foles and the Philadelphia Eagles, is a safe option.
Regardless, the Nick Mullens experiment seems to be a success.