3 reasons why Nick Mullens wins 49ers’ backup quarterback job over C.J. Beathard

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Quarterback Nick Mullens #4 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Will Vragovic/Getty Images)

Reason No. 3: Nick Mullens Is More Poised in the Pocket

If there was one glaring difference between both Nick Mullens and C.J. Beathard, it was how each held up within the pocket.

San Francisco’s offensive line ranked 22nd in pass protection last year, according to Football Outsiders, and one can link how “hand in glove” the relationship was between O-line and quarterback.

That said, Mullens was far more effective when facing pressure.

According to Pro Football Focus, Mullens’ passer rating under pressure was 53.4 in 2018, whereas Beathard’s was 45.8. Granted, neither number is particularly great. But when using Jimmy Garoppolo’s 54.9 under-pressure passer rating last year as a benchmark, one can see how Mullens appears to be the better option.

On top of that Mullens had a 2018 sack percentage of 5.8 percent, taking 17 sacks over his eight games played. Beathard, meanwhile, had a sack percentage of 9.6, and his 18 sacks taken were over just six games played.

It’s a pretty big difference, especially considering the importance of pocket poise within a complex and intricate offense.

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