The 49ers have been lucky in the past for the quarterbacks they have selected, and in front of their eyes, saw these men turn into all time greats.
Since the glory days of Young and Montana, the franchise has not found much success. San Francisco hasn't experienced playoff atmosphere since 2002, when Jeff Garcia led the great come back over the New York Giants (gosh, such long ago).
Leading up to the 2005 NFL Draft, there was a lot of speculation of who the 49ers would select. They would either take Alex Smith, the quarterback from Utah, while also thinking about Aaron Rodgers, the quarterback from Cal.
San Francisco made Smith their man, selecting him number one overall and signing him to a six year, $49.5 million deal, with $24 million guaranteed.
Aaron Rodgers, took one of the bigger fall outs in recent draft memory, as he fell to the 24th overall selection by the Green Bay Packers.
As NFL Nation looks at the draft, we have seen who has found more success. With Favre moving on from the Packers, Rodgers finally got his shot with the franchise, he put on an offensive frenzy, statistically one of the top ten quarterbacks in the league.
Alex Smith? The only thing he has been labeled as is the bust of the decade.
After his season as a rookie, where injuries and poor performance led to one touchdown pass, with eleven interceptions, the 49ers weren't biting their lips.
In his second season, a new offensive coordinator, a new weapon in Maryland tight end Vernon Davis, and Frank Gore, who has potential to be a top five back in the league. His year did improve in 2006, throwing for 16 touchdowns as well as 16 interceptions.
Yet, struggles within the organization continued. Smith went under his third offensive coordinator in three seasons! The 2007 season he battled with injuries, having a passer rating of 57.2, and was questioned his toughness by his head coach Mike Nolan.
In the 2008 season, Smith wasn't handed the job as he was used to. The 49ers had a three way battle for the starting quarterback spot, which featured Smith, Shaun Hill and J.T O'Sullivan.
Smith did not obtain the job, as Sullivan got the nod for week one. When the news broke, the chatter began, and the labeling of a bust came on Alex Smith.
Mid way through the season, coach Mike Nolan was fired, a somewhat relief for Smith, whom they had disagreements in the past. He was replaced by Mike Singletary, the current head coach of the 49ers.
As the 2009 season inches closer, the quarterback battle is on again; this time between Smith and Shaun Hill.
This could be the last chance for Alex Smith to prove that he can be a starting quarterback in the NFL. In some sorts, Alex should get remorse. He's had to face injuries, while having to learn many different offenses in a short period of time.
At this point in the year, it looks as if Hill is the leading candidate for the starting job. If Smith does not win out, is this the end of the disappointing era with Alex Smith?
The 49ers did finish strong last year, but what still holds the team back is the uncertainty of the quarterback situation.
If Smith lands the job, he has talent to work with. The offense has Vernon Davis, who could have a breakout year as his potential could show. You have Frank Gore, who will reach you 1,000 yards on the ground, alongside Michael Crabtree, the 49ers top draft pick, as the receiver.
The spot is there for Smith to take. Barring injuries, a decent season could be in the works for Smith, who can take a step forward and try to save his career.
Time is flying for Alex Smith, who already enters his fifth season with the 49ers.
He is already thought as a lost cause for the 49ers, but I am rooting for him as a quarterback.
Unfortunately though, this could be the last chance to prove himself to the 49ers, and possibly, a shot to make a roster to any team in the National Football League.
Matt Miselis is a writer for BleacherReport.com