The San Francisco 49ers must be looking at the QB position as the missing piece on a play-off ready team. The 49ers have reportedly tried to re-sign Alex Smith, in spite of all the troubles he has gone through. However, there could be a sound argument that Alex Smiths skill set is actually best suited to the WCO that Harbaugh is introducing.
Other commentators have stated that Alex Smith might still have the potential to be a good QB, but he will need a change of scenery to have any kind of hope do so.
Harbaughs praise of Alex Smith could however be one big smokescreen to divert attention from his real goal—signing Blaine Gabbert with the seventh pick or even moving up to grab him.
Yes, the 49ers have taken good looks at Ponder, Dalton and Kaepernick, and they would have to because they are not in a position where grabbing Gabbert would be a certain thing.
I don't think it would be realistic for the 49ers to trade up to the first or second pick, and Buffalo would probably not trade down to the seventh pick, because then they could miss out on Dareus or Von Miller who looks like their prime targets.
However, the Bengals could be a great trading partner, and although they could be looking at Gabbert themselves, I think that, as a small market franchise, they would probably love to trade down to the seventh pick. Then, they could still get one of the two WR that would be perfect for them and save themselves a lot of money. I have the Bengals penciled in as in the hunt for Andy Dalton. "2011 NFL Draft, Quarterback Edition: The Cincinnati Bengals and Andy Dalton."
The 49ers have enough draft picks, and not many glaring needs that couldn't be solved through free agency to justify a swap of first-round picks and sending a third plus a fourth-round pick to the Bengals.
In San Francisco, Blaine Gabbert would be installed behind a very good O-line, with a great running game and some very good receiving options.
Harbaugh knows how to work with and get great production out of young QBs, from Josh Johnson to Andrew Luck, and there have even been talks about bringing Johnson in from Tampa Bay, what a great duo for Harbaugh to work with.
Gabberts issues with deep ball accuracy isn't of the greatest importance in the WCO and as with his issues of handling pressure in the pocket, Harbaugh is the man dealing with those issues.
My previous articles about the need for young QBs: