San Francisco 49ers QB Controversy: Carson Palmer, Blaine Gabbert and Who Else?

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San Francisco 49ers QB Controversy: Carson Palmer, Blaine Gabbert and Who Else?
Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

In a perfect world, the 49ers would draft Andrew Luck and sign Michael Vick.  Every rookie needs a backup, right?

In a world where Mike Nolan wasn't San Francisco's head coach in 2005, Aaron Rodgers would be playing this year's Super Bowl in a different uniform.

We wouldn't be debating Blaine Gabbert versus Ryan Mallett versus Cam Newton because the 32nd pick in the draft doesn't have that luxury.

In my third and final fantasy—a more realistic one—Nolan doesn't select Alex Smith or Aaron Rodgers in the 2005 draft.  He can squander the first overall pick in whatever way chooses, so long as he doesn't draft a quarterback.

Because if he doesn't, the entire trajectory of 49ers history is altered.  Tim Rattay remains an interim quarterback until a long-term solution is identified.

A long-term solution like the one San Francisco is desperately seeking this offseason—like the one I'm convinced Alex Smith is not.

Like the one in which the 49ers must either draft, sign, trade for or promote.  We likely won't know until draft day, but until then, we can rank the Niners' worst and best options at quarterback for 2011 and beyond...

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