Do I think Alex Smith has helped the 49ers? Yes.
Do I believe he is or will be an elite NFL quarterback. No.
Alex Smith has not helped the 49ers win games, but he will in the future, whether he remains the QB or not. Here's how:
The domino effect is extremely overlooked in life, and especially in the world of sports. One action, stimulates a series of events, that in turn cause other actions. The cycle continues, and spreads out. Drafting Alex Smith was no exception.
Let's say San Francisco had drafted any other player in 2005. Whether it was Ronnie Brown, Braylon Edwards, anybody. The following season would have been extremely different. There is no guarantee that they would have been 4-12. There is no guarantee that they would have had the 6th pick in the 2006 draft. No promise that the 49ers would have Vernon Davis on the roster today.
That was just the first domino, however. Drafting Smith, and in turn Vernon, and all the other players drafted and acquired, caused the 49ers to earn a 7-9 record in 2006. That record slotted San Francisco at 11th in the 2007 draft. Enter, Patrick Willis. Later in that first round, Joe Staley was drafted.
San Francisco then goes 5-11 in 2007. The following draft raised a lot of questions. The 49ers drafted Kentawn Balmer in the 1st round with Indianapolis' pick, and Chilo Rachal with the second round pick, passing on Cal product DeSean Jackson twice. As we all know, he has emerged to be an elite receiver in the NFL, and a tool that San Francisco could have used.
I believe however, that just like the Smith pick, the Jackson non-picks worked out fine. Let's say Jackson helped the 49ers, and in turn Mike Nolan to a respectable season. Nolan might still have his job, and Mike Singletary would not be the head coach. In addition, San Francisco probably would not have gone 7-9 in that 2008 season, positioning them at 9th in the 2009 NFL Draft. With that selection, they drafted Michael Crabtree, who would not have been needed had DeSean Jackson been drafted.
So here's where they stand after the Smith draft pick, almost five years later:
Vernon Davis leading the NFL in TD's among tight ends
Patrick Willis leading the league in tackles, and going to the Pro Bowl every year.
Joe Staley being a dependable offensive linemen for San Francisco (Very few of those).
Mike Nolan losing his head coaching job to Mike Singletary halfway through the 2008 season, finishing strong, and saving Vernon Davis.
Michael Crabtree being drafted, and eventually producing after a lengthy holdout.
And let's say they drafted Ronnie Brown instead of Alex Smith. Frank Gore probably would not have been selected with the 1st pick of the 3rd round.
So I'm fine with the fact that the 49ers drafted Alex Smith
My question is: Why is he still on the team? There's no use for him anymore.