After going through three days of draft coverage, I was very surprised to not see Jarrett Brown's name called by any team. But finally the San Francisco 49ers signed Brown yesterday.
Brown is now the fourth quarterback on the 49ers roster after they traded Shaun Hill to the Detroit Lions.
He joins a depth chart that includes presumed starter Alex Smith, new arrival David Carr, and Nate Davis, a fifth round pick from the 2009 draft.
Many football pundits speculated that the Niners were going to draft a QB this year, many of them guessing it would be Colt McCoy, who was thought to fit into San Francisco's West Coast offense scheme.
Brown finished his only year as a starter with the West Virginia Mountaineers with 2,144 yards passing, 11 touchdown passes, six rushing touchdowns, and nine interceptions. Much of his season was hampered by injuries, and poor offensive line play didn't help his cause.
Brown also had the unfortunate task of succeeding Pat White as the starting QB for WVU. White is widely considered to be one of the best and most beloved players in Mountaineer history.
Brown led the Mountaineers to a 9-3 regular season record before an injury kept him from finishing the Gator Bowl, which West Virginia would go on to lose against Florida State (Bobby Bowden's last game as head coach).
His season best came in the second game of the year versus East Carolina, in which he threw for 334 yards and four touchdowns. Many believed this to be a sign of things to come, but this never came to fruition. However, he was very efficient and kept WVU in the hunt for the Big East championship.
Brown had an impressive offseason beginning with the Senior Bowl, where he was praised for his above-average arm strength. His Combine workouts garnered more attention when he ran the fastest 40 time of any QB. Standing at 6'4" and weighing 224 pounds, he has ideal size for the NFL. He also has good pocket presence and footwork.
NFL teams shied away from Brown for a few reasons.
First off, his decision-making has never been incredible. Many times at WVU his first instinct was to run rather than check all of his targets down the field.
He lacks accuracy that one looks for in an NFL quarterback. Too many times he would lead a receiver too far or miss what many would think to be an easy pass.
Another growing trend, it seems, in the NFL is the hesitancy to draft players with "character issues." Several reports have said that Brown's maturity and intelligence might have been an issue that affected his stock on draft day.
Another trend is teams shying away from players who played in a spread offense. Brown ran almost entirely out of the shotgun in Bill Stewart's offense at West Virginia, and many teams believe that won't help make a smooth transition to the pros.
It appears that Brown won't be in contention for the starting job with the 49ers this year, or even a backup role. He will probably be reduced to a scout team role or clipboard-holding duties if need be. I'm quite certain that he will be considered a project and won't see the field this year unless the Niners receive several unfortunate injuries.
Nevertheless, this was a solid pickup by San Francisco—who also signed RB LeGarrette Blount yesterday—because they basically got a mid-round QB for undrafted free agent money.