San Francisco 49ers: High-Risk, High-Reward Prospects in 2016 NFL Draft
By Jerod Brown
Vernon Adams Jr.-Quarterback-Oregon
The Vernon Adams hype train is gaining steam quickly. Many analysts feel like this quarterback class isn’t as widely-separated as originally believed. For players like Oregon’s Vernon Adams, that helps tremendously in increasing his draft value.
Adams is another player that some consider will be an undrafted free agent, while others have a much different view of where he could, and should, be drafted.
In this quarterback class, Adams could go anywhere from the third round to finding himself lining up opportunities as an undrafted free agent. The recent performances of players like Russell Wilson and Drew Brees have helped in easing the worry on quarterback size. But the reality still remains that teams would prefer the 6’4″ and 235-pound prototype that seems heralded every draft season.
Look, I like Carson Wentz as much as the next guy. I have for months. But Vernon Adams is an absolute playmaker. Does that translate to immediate success at the NFL? Probably not. Adams has enough tangible skills to be productive. The fact that a little magic comes along with it is almost like an added bonus.
Adams is only 5’11” and just over 200 pounds. The 49ers have watched a similarly-built quarterback beat their team for the past few years. If anyone understands that the trend is changing, it ought to be the 49ers. This is not to say that Adams will be their guy, or that he should be. But he offers tremendous value if teams can maximize his potential.
In each of these high-risk, high-reward cases, what we are really saying is do the 49ers have the environment, coaches and supporting cast to ensure that these guys will be successful? As much as players determine their performance through a commitment to learning and improving, teams are responsible for finding talent and helping players succeed.
The 49ers may or may not have that sort of situation for a rookie quarterback right now. They’ll have to hope that whoever they select is prepared to become the face of a franchise rebuild that will take multiple seasons. Trent Baalke and his crew may decide to roll the dice on Adams in hopes of cashing in big.
Vernon Adams is a high-risk, high-reward prospect that could become the next undersized-leader of an NFL team. The 49ers happen to be looking for a quarterback at an interesting time. With only a couple clear-cut top prospects, Adams should generate a long look from most teams.
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