San Francisco 49ers: Ranking the 10 Best Quarterbacks in Franchise History

5 of 11

7. Alex Smith

Quarterback Alex Smith was the first-overall pick in the 2005 NFL draft, and was seen as a major hope to turn around a dismal 49er franchise in the early 2000s.

Smith spent eight seasons as the 49ers quarterback, and he compiled a 38-36-1 win-loss record. Smith was seen as a “game-manager” who didn’t have the arm strength to throw the deep ball. However, despite with the so-called arm strength issue, Smith threw for a total of 14,280 yards.

And only five 49er QB’s have thrown for more yards in franchise history.

Smith’s accomplishments are even more impressive when you consider the talent around him — those 49er teams were not good. Other than running back Frank Gore and tight end Vernon Davis, who else did Smith have at his disposal to throw to? Players like Ashley Lelie, Darrell Jackson, Jason Hill, A.J. Jenkins and a declining Randy Moss.

That group of players would make any QB’s job harder.

Smith was also forced to adapt to five different offensive coordinators in his first five seasons — a merry-go-round of philosophies and personalities that any QB would struggle with. That makes the fact that Smith holds several franchise QB records quite incredible.

  • Most game winning drives in a single season: 6 (2011)
  • Most 4th quarter comeback wins in a single season: 6 (2011)
  • Fewest interceptions in a single season: 5 (2011)
  • Most consecutive pass attempts without an interception: 249

Considering Smith’s body of work against what he was put up against in terms of personnel (weak) and varying schemes, this places Smith ahead of Kaepernick on this list at No. 7.

Next: No. 6: Jeff Garcia