The 49ers have revealed their proclivity of carrying up to three quarterbacks, and with Colin Kaepernick's wild-child style of play, which puts his health at risk, this team needs three decent ones. Right now, the No. 2 is Blaine Gabbert, a 2011 first-round selection formerly of the Jacksonville Jaguars.
One of San Francisco’s first orders of business this year was trading for him with a late-round pick.
But even with Gabbert having some starting experience, he doesn’t have a very good track record, and that’s being kind. If something were to happen to the starter, the 49ers can’t confidently proceed with Gabbert at the helm. The onus is now on them to add some competition at the spot via the NFL draft.
Now, they’re not going to pick one early, so players like Blake Bortles, Johnny Manziel*, Teddy Bridgewater and even Derek Carr* are not legitimate options, despite reports this offseason linking the 49ers to two of them (starred).
No, the 49ers will take a late-round flier because said player is going to be a backup and nothing more. But there are going to be some very, very intriguing options there because coach Jim Harbaugh, the quarterback whisperer, is San Francisco’s ace in the hole. He can turn water into wine.
First up is Eastern Illinois signal-caller Jimmy Garoppolo, whom ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. said had the highest upside of quarterbacks in this draft. A bold declaration, no doubt, but if it’s even close to being true, it makes you wonder what Harbaugh could do with him if he got his hands on him.
Not to mention, Eric Edholm of Yahoo! Sports reported that Harbaugh personally worked out Garoppolo this offseason.
Next is LSU’s Zach Mettenberger, who is a tall, broad pocket passer that would’ve gone much higher in this draft if he had not torn his ACL. This could allow the 49ers to swoop in and add him to their training camp. They can allow him to heal up while he learns the offense from a cerebral standpoint.
Given his size, Mettenberger has drawn comparisons to Pittsburgh Steelers two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. He is a bit of a statue in the pocket, but he is hard to bring down, and he sees the field and distributes the ball very well, which is all teams can ask of a backup.
Finally, there is Virginia Tech’s Logan Thomas, who is one of the more intriguing overall players in this draft because of his upside and the new direction teams are now taking at the quarterback position. Thomas desperately needs some coaching and fine-tuning, but his physical qualities make him a pure playmaker.
If he can clean up his game and learn when to improvise, he can be a marvel at the next level. But again, this is a big “if” because he must take to the coaching and show strides. But one day, he may have some trade value, which is another positive aspect of the 49ers drafting a quarterback this year.
So, clearly, they’ve got options. It will be interesting to see what direction Jim Harbaugh advises his general manager to go.