Ranking the Best 49ers Quarterbacks over the Last Decade
Over the last decade, the San Francisco 49ers have been a laughingstock at quarterback. From the great memories of Steve Young and Joe Montana, the shuffling of starting quarterbacks over the last ten years is unbecoming of a franchise with such great history at the position.
Now, this list will not include Montana or Young. The good ole' days were long past the decade mark I set, with Young playing just three games in his final stint with the 49ers in 1999.
With the 49ers enjoying so much success the last two seasons, especially at the quarterback position, I thought it would be worthwhile to revisit some of the past.
Here are the five best quarterbacks for the 49ers over the last ten years.
5. Troy Smith (2010)
Troy Smith was a very intriguing prospect for the 49ers in his short tint as a starter in 2010. In his first five starts, Smith accumulated a solid 3-2 record for the 49ers.
His stats weren't that bad either. In five starts, Smith had a total of five touchdowns (one rushing), with three interceptions.
The issue, however, was Smith's accuracy issues. Smith had all the physical intangibles with the exception of height (stands only at 6'0''), but accuracy was a huge concern.
With a completion percentage barely over 50 percent, Smith wasn't winning many fans over.
Troy Smith was eventually replaced by Alex Smith, and since then, the former Heisman Trophy winner hasn't caught on with another NFL franchise.
4. Shaun Hill (2006-2009)
Shaun Hill deserves a lot more credit than some 49ers fans are willing to dish out. In 16 starts, Hill has racked up 23 touchdown passes, with only 11 interceptions.
Even more impressive was Hill's accuracy during his stint with the Niners. Unlike Troy Smith, Hill was very accurate with the football, accumulating a very respectable percentage completion at around 62 percent over 16 starts.
However, Hill's stats were a bit deceiving at times. While he was a solid game manager, he didn't necessarily win you games.
Hill didn't make a ton of big plays or even downfield throws, but as a backup, he proved useful.
3. Alex Smith (2005-2012)
Alex Smith's roller coaster career with the 49ers still ignites furious debate among 49ers faithful. While some believe Smith was a bust as a first overall selection, there is still a small group who thought Smith was treated unfairly during his time with the 49ers.
Over the last two seasons, Smith has turned into a legitimate NFL quarterback. However, we can't forget how bad Smith was during his stint with the 49ers from 2007-2010.
In all fairness, Smith was injured a ton with the 49ers, and don't forget the amount of offensive coordinators the 49ers went through during those seasons.
When healthy, though, Smith showed little to make Niners fans believers. Many were all but ready to give up on Smith until Jim Harbaugh arrived.
His turnaround under Jim Harbaugh was remarkable, but it still didn't stop the 49ers from again benching Smith. Though, this time the reason may have been justified.
Is he capable of turning a franchise around? No, but that list was rather short to begin with.
Smith is more than capable of leading a team to the playoffs. It remains to be seen if Smith can indeed lead his team to the big game.
We'll just have to see, I guess.
2. Colin Kaepernick (2011-Present)
In just ten starts, Kaepernick has emerged as a legitimate franchise quarterback for the 49ers. For the sake of fairness, however, I can't place Kaepernick first on this list.
I need a bigger sample size, but in his short stint as a starter, Kaepernick has shown superstar potential. Besides having all the physical intangibles, Kaepernick has the mental ability and overall "likeness factor" that franchise quarterbacks must possess.
Also, Kaepernick is the only quarterback on this list to take the 49ers to the Super Bowl. The last quarterback to take the 49ers to the Super Bowl was Steve Young.
Many expect big things for Kaepernick and the 49ers in 2013. Another Super Bowl appearance can very well be in their sights.
1. Jeff Garcia (1999-2003)
Some would think that Garcia won this debate by default, but any legitimate 49ers fans will tell you a different story.
Despite only playing for the 49ers for only five seasons, Garcia was fantastic, especially during the 2000 and 2001 NFL seasons.
In those two memorable seasons, Garcia racked up 63 passing touchdowns, and nine rushing touchdowns. Garcia even took care of the ball, only throwing 22 interceptions in two seasons.
Additionally, Garcia was accurate with the ball, completing over 60 percent of his passes during those two seasons.
Garcia also led the 49ers to the NFC divisional round, where they lost to the eventual NFL champs in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
While Garcia won't be remembered in the same light as both Steve Young and Joe Montana, he still has cushy place in Niners history.