There is no denying that the quarterback position has been one of weakness for the 49ers since Jeff Garcia left. There is probably not going to be a quick solution to the problem but if San Francisco does things right, they could fix the franchise for years to come. Here are a few steps they could take this year that will help them improve in the coming seasons.
And probably not in the second round either.
This draft has a weak QB class, especially if you are looking for a player to run the West Coast offense. Maybe Cam Newton or Blaine Gabbert could make the transition from the spread offense, but they would be works in progress.
Ryan Mallett or Jake Locker might warrant a look if they fall to the second round. But there are so many holes to be filled that this is not the year to find a QB in the draft, at least early on.
I have seen many people comment that the Niners should just wait for next year, and try and get Andrew Luck. I don't think that they should count on Luck being available to them, but they should plan just in case.
No one knows where Luck's draft stock will be next year. Matt Leinart went back to college and dropped nine spots. Jake Locker went back to college and his stock may have dropped him a whole round or more. Will Andrew Luck have the same success at Stanford without Harbaugh?
In any case, if the Niners trade down they can stock up on picks for next year in order to have the ammo to go get a QB from a better class.
For more on trading back:
It is looking like that guy is going to be Alex Smith. Harbaugh seems to think that he can fix Alex, or maybe it is just posturing in case the CBA isn't done on time.
There are a number of options out there including Matt Hasselbeck, Marc Bulger, Billy Volek (who have all enjoyed some previous NFL success) or even Matt Leinart (although I am not personally a big fan).
There are a lot of QBs who may not be top round picks but would be found in the fifth, sixth or seventh rounds who could end up being starters.
Mitch Mustain might have been a high draft pick had he not chose to go to USC. He was a highly rated recruit coming out of high school and enjoyed some success as the starting QB at Arkansas, but his 8-0 start was attributed mostly to having Darren McFadden and Felix Jones in the backfield with him.
Nathan Enderle, out of Idaho is another intriguing late round prospect. He has good size at 6'5" and good arm strength. Also, was a four-year starter at Idaho.
Kevin Kolb is an intriguing prospect, but at what cost? He could be expensive, especially if the division rival Cardinals get involved. They draft from a better position so if they Eagles want a first, the have a better one to offer.
While this draft's QB class is weak, it is deep in CBs and is top heavy on OLBs, both needs of San Francisco.