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Niner Nate-tion Podcast: Why a rookie QB wouldn’t set the team back in 2021

Niner Nate and Leo Luna aren’t so sure

NFL: DEC 17 Titans at 49ers Photo by Samuel Stringer/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

One of the strongest arguments for keeping Jimmy Garoppolo around in 2021 may have just taken a big hit. The line that we have heard over and over again was that it takes two years to really master Kyle Shanahan’s system and he may not want to start a rookie in the fall because it wouldn’t take advantage of the championship window many believe the team to be occupying right now. On today’s Niners Nate-tion Podcast, Leo Luna cut that idea down to size.

“This is where I would object to the, ‘Kyle doesn’t want a rookie.’ [idea]. With Jimmy Garoppolo, Kyle had to teach him a whole new system, midseason, to a guy that had zero starting QB resume. What’s the difference between giving up a second round pick and going with Jimmy Garoppolo as your franchise guy...compared to drafting a rookie in the first round?”

The argument has makes sense to me. When Garoppolo became the starter in 2017, he hit the ground running. His yards per game and yards per attempt were both the highest he’s ever had in a 49ers uniform. His completion percentage and quarterback rating were second only to the Super Bowl run of 2019. While the sample size is small, the fact remains that despite being in the middle of the season, Kyle was able to get Jimmy operating at a level we’ve rarely seen from him throughout his 49ers tenure.

Why couldn’t Shanahan do the same thing with a rookie quarterback? Even without a formal offseason due to COVID-19, you’d have to think Kyle could download enough of the system in a rookie’s head to be ready for the season to come. Tom Brady and Byron Leftwich were somehow able to make it work in Tampa Bay this year with no offseason, so why couldn’t the 49ers do the same thing?

Check out today’s pod and hear the entire conversation, including special guest Javier Vega!

Other topics in today’s episode

  • First round targets beyond a quarterback
  • Draft targets in rounds three, four, and five that could be starters from day one
  • Potential free agent fits on offense and defense