I believe all this talk about Alex Smith is a smokescreen. There is no way 49ers fans can deal with another season trying to find out if he’s the real deal (see article 50 is Enough) nor should the 49ers. Been there, done that, move on.
With most of the focus being on the NFL draft, less than two weeks away, I’m thinking the 49ers should select the best player available to them when they’re selecting seventh overall. I’m hoping Patrick Peterson falls to them as he would solidify a secondary in desperate need of a playmaker. If Peterson doesn’t fall, I’m thinking Robert Quinn, Prince Amukamara or even Julio Jones would be nice additions. If Blaine Gabbert falls, I do believe he would be tough to pass up on, but after looking at Gabbert’s style, he is very reminiscent of Alex Smith and Smith had better numbers than Gabbert. I don’t think 49ers fans can stomach another experiment like that again. For the 49ers to get their man, I’m predicting they’ll trade back into the late first round and select Christian Ponder.
In Ponder the 49ers will get the quarterback to lead them back to respectability. Ponder may not have the elite arm strength of a Brett Favre, but neither did Joe Montana and we all know how that turned out. There has been a lot of buzz surrounding Ponder heading in to the draft and it doesn’t look like he will even make it to the second round. Ponder looks to have the smarts and accuracy to run the West Coast offense. I think, with a year of seasoning, Jim Harbaugh can really make something special of this kid.
The one thing this draft has is depth at the quarterback position. There isn’t that one can’t miss prospect, but there are a lot of decent prospects; with the right mentoring, there is the potential to mold some stars. The 49ers have also shown significant interest in drafting Colin Kaepernick. Many believe Kaepernick has the second highest upside of all the quarterbacks in the draft, only Cam Newton was projected the highest. In Kaepernick the 49ers would have a physical beast with all the tools to become a star. Unfortunately his skills are very raw and he is viewed as more of a project than a polished quarterback. I do think Harbaugh can mold him into a great quarterback, but he is more risky. A lot of times players with higher upside don’t necessarily translate to great players. Jamarcus Russell and Ryan Leaf are two who fit that description perfectly. Both were highly touted coming out of college and now both are two of the biggest draft busts in NFL history.
When it’s all said and done if the 49ers end up with Patrick Peterson and Christian Ponder come day one of the draft, I’ll be happy and I’m guessing a lot of 49ers fans would share my excitement. Here’s hoping they will both be in 49ers uniforms.