November 17, 2012; Pasadena, CA, USA; Southern California Trojans quarterback Matt Barkley (7) looks to pass in the third quarter of the game against the UCLA Bruins at the Rose Bowl. UCLA won 38-28. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Why San Francisco 49ers Need To Draft a Backup Quarterback

Feb 23, 2012; Indianapolis, IN, USA; San Francisco 49ers general manager Trent Baalke speaks at a press conference during the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

With the San Francisco 49ers projected to have 14 draft picks at their disposal in this year’s draft, they must certainly draft a quarterback to replace Alex Smith. Unfortunately for the 49ers, this quarterback draft class is weak, really weak. When you take a look at the top quarterback prospects, from top to bottom, you will be hard pressed to find a legitimate first-round talent.

However, I have picked three players, I think the 49ers should target. All three players are projected to go no earlier than the third-round, so with the 49ers having three third-round picks, this works perfectly in their favor.

October 27, 2012; Columbia, SC, USA; Tennessee Volunteers quarterback Tyler Bray (8) passes against the South Carolina Gamecocks in the second half at Williams-Brice Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

The first quarterback prospect is Tyler Bray (Tennessee). Bray has a cannon for an arm and can zip the ball in the smallest of windows. His ability to generate power through his hips is uncanny. A quarterback that more times than not, throws a tight spiral, Bray has the arm strength NFL scouts covet. However, he is not much of a scrambler and his footwork is average at best, making him a pure pocket passer.

In addition to Bray’s immobility as a runner, Bray also had a lackluster junior season. Many scouts around the NFL thought he would catapult himself as a top 10 pick, but that was not the case, as Bray noticeably struggled against SEC talent. Overall, a great prospect that will likely develop as a top backup, if a team can clean up his inconsistencies.

Jan 04, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Landry Jones (12) throws during the first quarter against the Texas A

The second prospect is Landy Jones (Oklahoma). Jones is another pure pocket passer but with a quicker release. He has a more accurate arm than Bray and can make all the throws. However, the knock on Jones is his inability to extend plays outside the pocket. When under pressure, Jones absolutely crumbles. He feels pressure that is not there, and lacks the elusiveness to out run pass rushers. In all, another great prospect with all the tools to succeed, if developed in the right system.

The last prospect is Matt Barkley (USC). Heading into the 2012 season, Barkley was considered by many to be vying for the number one overall selection, but that quickly came to a halt as Barkley often struggled and showed no promise worthy of a number one overall pick. He often over-threw receivers downfield, and was unable to make accurate throws without stepping into them. However, he did play in a pro-style offense, and ran it very well while at USC.

In Lane Kiffin’s offense, Barkley was able to make pre-snap adjustments at the line of scrimmage. A great indicator of a smart signal caller. Furthermore, Barkley showed enough ability to make accurate throws out of the bootleg and roll out. A typical West Coast offense trademark, Barkley will most likely be targeted by teams like the Green Bay Packers, New York Jets, and Philadelphia Eagles.

Whether the 49ers pick a quarterback in the third-round or the seventh-round, 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh being the quarterback guru that he is, will develop that player into a quality NFL starter, much like he did with Alex Smith and now Colin Kaepernick.


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  • californy

    I have a qb for the 49 ers. He is in a similar mode of Kapernick. I think they need to take a look at qb very late in this draft after 5. The QB is Collin Klein 2 years he had 4924 yards 39 td to 15 interception, and he had 2000 yards rushing and 50 TD in the last 2 years. Im a Cowboy fan but JJ is to dumb to make good choices so that why I let you know about him.

    • thetony

      I agree klein would be a good backup to kap…

    • Ryan Sakamoto

      Thank you for the feedback californy…those are some pretty impressive stats, you can’t ignore production like that.

  • Ron Zimmerman

    Certainly the 49ers will carry 3 quaterbacks next year, and probably have 4 in training camp. Only Harbaugh knows if Tolzein can be number 2. (I suspect the answer is yes) And I doubt anyone is a better judge of the other prospect than JH. I doubt that he really needs advice from us amateurs.

    • Ryan Sakamoto

      Thank you for your feedback Ron.

  • libertyORdeath84

    I have a name…Alex Smith!! After all if the QB is the most valuable player on the team…then why not have two of them? So, many times I see teams who’s 2nd string guy is a scub. It happens every year…where a team has it all going their way…winning each week, hopes as high as ever…”superbowl bound” and then before you can say “RG 3″ your QB gets whacked…torn something or other…then the cheap payed back up comes in the game and just “totally” craps all up and down the field. Just like the Vikings this year. What a shame for all-world Adrian Peterson…he could of played better than Ponders replacement. Suddenly, reality sets in, players give up hope, Coaches get fired
    End of season. End of story.
    Pay Alex his 8 million…he will stay because your saying you still might need him…he loves San Fran and has close friends who are teamates. Chances are Colin will get hurt at somepoint in the next season or two. Well, what do you know Alex might just jump right in and win that seasons superbowl. Heck, he would of won it this year, just by knowing to give the ball to Gore those last four downs. FUCKIN’ fade route on 4th and goal …”dumbest play ever” I felt sorry for little brother Jim making a fool out of himself to the smarter brother John and embarrassing his parents on the world stage like that. Legendary Bill Walsh must of rolled over while watching the last four play debacle; wishing Coach Harbs could of heard himself crying out for Coach Jimmy to bring home, what should of been number six. O well, just like Dan Marino after his rookie year superbowl loss, yet knowing he would return to play many more ….right?
    Well Coach Harbs I only hope the football gods won’t be so cruel.

    • thetony

      alex aint worth the 8mill we have other needs thats more important than backup qb and that money will help alot.. we need to draft a qb or get a decent backup off free agency for alot less than smiths 8mill. I think Tolzien could even be a good # 2 and jeff if you think alex wouldve played better than kap in the superbowl then yer delusional…

      • Ryan Sakamoto

        I agree Tolzien may potentially be a solid #2, however I believe Barkley, Jones, and Bray have higher ceilings making the 49ers see what else is out there.

    • Ryan Sakamoto

      I agree the most important position is the backup QB, however it is highly unlikely that they will keep both players as the salary cap makes it very difficult. However, I do not think Alex Smith would have won the Super Bowl for us, as many of the teams we faced just to get to that point, was mainly based on Kaepernick’s ability to make things happen.

  • Arthurs Pools

    I think they should draft a solid back up QB…someone with a little experience, drafting a new one doesn’t make a lot of sense to me…..but who could you plug into the pistol format. Next year, you know they are going to mold their defense around this style of offense….wo who would be a good QB to plug in that?

    • Ryan Sakamoto

      Drafting a new quarterback does not make the best sense, however with no quarterback set to hit free-agency worth signing, the draft is our best option within our budget.

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