Michael Vick: The Wrong Choice for the San Francisco 49ers

Ken StansellContributor IIMay 21, 2009

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick  on the sidelines  against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium, Tampa , Florida on December 10, 2006.The Falcons won 17 - 6.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)

Breaking news:  Michael Vick may be eligible to return to the NFL as early as September of this year.

This may lead to some Niner fans already asking: "Could Michael Vick be the answer the 49ers are seeking at the all-important position of quarterback?"

It's no secret that the 49ers' management is not yet fully sold on Shaun Hill or Alex Smith as their starting quarterback.

Mike Singletary has refused to name Shaun Hill as the incumbent starter saying it will be an open competition for the position of quarterback between Alex Smith and Shaun Hill.

In the off season, the 49ers signed free agent Damon Huard and drafted Ball State's Nate Davis. There were also numerous rumors in the press that the 49ers were interested in trading for Jay Cutler (too expensive) and Brady Quinn (denied by the 49ers' management).

The former Kansas City Chief quarterback Damon Huard has the looks of a Trent Dilfer-like back up at best, and we all know it's way too soon to thrust Nate Davis into the starting role.

That leaves us with a battle between Shaun Hill and Alex Smith.


Smith is coming off a serious shoulder injury.

Hill is said to look horrible in practice, but has been able to rise to the occasion in games.

After being the No. 1 overall draft pick back in 2005 with a (shall we say) less than stellar career to date with the 49ers, Smith will come to camp this summer with enough baggage to equip a family of four on a round-the-world cruise.

In a KNBR radio interview last season, former 49ers defensive standout Eric Wright all but labeled Shaun Hill as being just good enough to lose close games against quality opponents.

So, the question remains. Who will be the starting quarterback for the 49ers next season?

Which leads us to the question of Michael Vick. I would be lying if I said I wasn't intrigued by the possibilities of Michael Vick.

On paper, the 49ers do appear to be only a quality quarterback away from being a legitimate NFC West title contender.

Personally, I have no problem with the fact that Michael Vick, a soon-to-be former felon, desires to return to the game of professional football. I believe he deserves a second chance to prove himself—both as an NFL quarterback and as a human being.

I am concerned about Michael Vick's ability to make a lasting impact on a 49ers franchise, which is attempting to rebuild their playoff contention status through the draft.

Upon hearing the news of Vick's pending release from prison (he is now serving the balance of his sentence under house arrest), I decided to check out Michael Vick's NFL career statistics.

Upon reviewing his stats, the impression I got is probably best described in two words:  Erratic and inconsistent.

Vick averaged only 155 yards passing per game over his entire NFL career with the Falcons. In touchdowns thrown, Vick is all over the map throwing 14 touchdowns one season and only four the next. To his credit, the number of interceptions thrown seems to decrease over time, but even that rate was up and down season to season. 

He is a scrambling, running quarterback you say?                                                 

Vick only averaged about 52 yards rushing per game over his entire NFL career and his yards per game tended to drop off over time—most likely due to defensive coordinators learning how to deal with this threat by putting a linebacker in spy mode on Vick.

I believe Michael Vick does have the talent to be an NFL quarterback once again. Maybe even a consistent winning, Pro Bowl caliber quarterback.

What he needs is dedication and focus to the game of football, and not whatever extra curricular activities that landed him in trouble in the first place. His stats don't lie. He was at best inconsistent, and at worst, totally erratic.

I don't believe he is the right choice for the 49ers, who are trying to instill a highly focused and disciplined approach to the game of football. I also don't believe he is worth a high draft pick in a trade (the Atlanta Falcons still own the rights to Vick and will likely insist upon one or more draft picks for his services).

I vote pass on Michael Vick.

I wish him all the best as he continues to rehabilitate himself—in both the game of professional football and in his life in general.

Michael Vick deserves a second chance. Just not with the 49ers please.

49ers General Manager Scot McCloughan made a brilliant move in this years draft by picking up a second first round draft choice in the 2010 draft via his trade with the Carolina Panthers.  There will be plenty of top-notch quarterback talent available in the draft next year such as Colt McCoy, Tim Tebow and possibly even Sam Bradshaw. Having not one but two first round draft picks next year enables the 49ers to trade up as needed to secure their quarterback of the future.

Stick to the plan Scot. Rebuild through the NFL Draft.