3 burning questions for 49ers quarterbacks in 2020

Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /
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No. 3: What’s the 49ers’ Plan with Broc Rutter?

In 2017, the Niners grabbed a relatively unheralded quarterback named Nick Mullens out of Southern Mississippi, who at least set a school record with 11,994 passing yards during his time there.

A year later, Mullens emerged as an upstart.

Perhaps one of San Francisco’s 2020 undrafted free agents, North Central College’s Broc Rutter, will be the name to watch here. Like Mullens during his collegiate years, Rutter was a volume passer, completing 309 passes out of his 435 attempts for 4,591 yards and 56 touchdowns in 2019.

Granted, the level of competition Rutter faced has to be called into question. But it’s fair to assume Rutter has an advantage in the reps over another counterpart, C.J. Beathard, whose offensive system at Iowa was built around the run.

It’s important because Mullens will be a restricted free agent in 2021, and it’ll be considerably harder for the 49ers to retain his services, albeit they’ll have the chance to receive some compensation in return if Mullens signs elsewhere.

Still, Mullens’ small-but-impressive pedigree could prompt a QB-needy team to pluck him away from the Niners, which could ultimately mean Rutter is in for a substantial role in 2021.

Either way, Rutter’s development with the third- and fourth-string units this training camp will be something to watch for the long-term prognosis.