No. 1: Backup Quarterback
Jimmy Garoppolo will be the 49ers’ starting quarterback in 2019 once he returns fully healthy from his ACL tear earlier this year. The good news is Garoppolo’s injury was suffered early in the season, meaning he has plenty of time to be ready by training camp.
San Francisco 49ers
Who backs him up, however, is another question.
Garoppolo’s injury opened up the door to a direct competition between quarterbacks C.J. Beathard and Nick Mullens. The Niners have a lot more invested in Beathard, having moved up into Round 3 of the 2017 NFL Draft to select him, and he certainly looked better in 2018 than the gunshy and overwhelmed rookie we saw a year ago.
That said, Beathard’s efforts still aren’t particularly great.
Over his five starts this season, Beathard’s 60.4 completion percentage and 81.8 passer rating rank 31st among all qualifying quarterbacks. Plus, his tendencies of holding onto the ball too long and mismanaging pressure within the pocket haven’t exactly progressed since last year.
Mullens, meanwhile, has been given the reins under center. But despite playing well against the Oakland Raiders back in Week 9, the undrafted free agent hasn’t exactly looked like the offensive spark the 49ers offense needed his past two games.
And one could argue Mullens’ 1-2 record over his three starts this season have come against arguably the worst competition in the NFL — the Raiders, New York Giants and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
At any rate, the Niners need to evaluate which quarterback should be the prime go-to guy behind Garoppolo once 2019 rolls around.