NFL Draft 2011: Could the San Francisco 49ers Trade Up to Get Blaine Gabbert?

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NFL Draft 2011: Could the San Francisco 49ers Trade Up to Get Blaine Gabbert?
Chris Trotman/Getty Images

It is well-noted in draft coverage that the San Francisco 49ers are one of many teams in search for a franchise quarterback.

It has also been reported that the 49ers offered Alex Smith a one-year deal before the lockout.

While Smith has failed to meet expectations, there is no guarantee any other quarterback on the market, whether it be draft, trade or free agency, would be any better.

New coach Jim Harbaugh has a reputation for finding good quarterbacks and seems to be pretty high on Smith fitting into his variation of the West Coast offense.

The one-year contract makes sense because next year's draft class is reported to have more first-round quarterback prospects.

Harbaugh's old quarterback, Andrew Luck, could be a potential target via trade-up or if he has a Matt Leinart- or Jake Locker-type drop between seasons.

However, if Harbaugh wants to start his professional coaching career with a rookie quarterback, Blaine Gabbert is the best first-round option.

Most mock drafts do not have Gabbert on the board; however, in Walter Football's newest mock draft, Gabbert is on the board.

The inspiration for this article comes from Draft Tek's What-If Simulation Mock.

Should the Niners trade up for Blaine Gabbert?

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The Niners traded up with Buffalo to No. 3 overall and selected Gabbert.

To get there, San Francisco traded the seventh, 76th and 108th overall selections.

Not terrible as far as pick value goes, but selecting Gabbert would be very mixed between the 49ers faithful.

Some want nothing to do with Gabbert while others just want to move on from Alex Smith and will take the best quarterback in the class in a heartbeat.

Gabbert would not be No. 1 on my board if I was Trent Baalke, but any player that is not an galactic reach will sit well with me.

The crew on NFL Network's Path to the Draft like Gabbert a lot, often calling him the next Joe Flacco.

Gabbert could succeed with San Francisco as early as Flacco did in Baltimore because both quarterbacks would be entering into a run-heavy offense with good defensive play.

Vernon Davis, Michael Crabtree and Frank Gore would provide much better targets than most top-10 rookie quarterbacks start out with.

Also, if Gabbert were to go to San Francisco, they would likely add at least one more target, whether it be another receiver or a running back who excels in the pass game, like Jacquizz Rodgers.

Christian Petersen/Getty Images

It has been often noted that Harbaugh recruited Gabbert to Stanford, so there could still be interest on the Niners' part.

The San Francisco 49ers need a quarterback, bottom line, and have a lot of different directions they can look in.

Blaine Gabbert has received skepticism and rejoice.

If San Francisco were to trade up for Gabbert, they would either spark success and compete out of the NFC West or plummet themselves back into failure.

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