A Diamond in the Rough: Shaun Hill Should Start for 49ers

Josh BrancoContributor IDecember 9, 2008

I've seen enough, and the verdict is in: Shaun Hill gives the San Francisco 49ers the best chance to win in 2009 and beyond.

Many people doubted Hill initially, believing that he did not have the arm strength needed to excel in the National Football League.

But, he has shown that he can do more than just successfully manage a game. He has shown the ability to make enough plays to actually win a game.

During his short stint as the 49ers' quarterback this season, Hill has amassed this stat line for passes between 21-30 yards down field: 6-of-12, 172 yards, two touchdowns, one interception, and a 100.7 quarterback rating.

Clearly, Hill has enough arm to make throws downfield. He has also shown the ability to move in the pocket and avoid the rush. Hill is a playmaker both with his arm and with his legs.

Shaun Hill's overall stats are equally as impressive. He has thrown for 1,352 yards, 10 TDs, and only four interceptions. In the six games he's started, he has a 95.5 quarterback rating.

There are only four quarterbacks with a higher passer rating in 2008: Philip Rivers, Kurt Warner, Tony Romo, and Drew Brees. That is certainly excellent company for a quarterback to be in.

The sixth-highest passer rating belongs to Buccaneer's quarterback Jeff Garcia, a player that Hill reminds me of. They seem to have similar playing styles and both know how to win football games. Ironically enough, the last time San Francisco won on a consistent basis was with Garcia at the helm. 

Nobody really knows for sure what the future will hold for the San Francisco 49ers and Shaun Hill. It is possible that Hill will crash, burn, and fade into obscurity, much like every other 49er quarterback since Jeff Garcia.

However, he has shown plenty of potential and I think San Francisco should find out exactly how far Shaun Hill can take this team. Coach Mike Singletary and his newly-appointed quarterback have finally made the games fun to watch again. Go 'Niners!