On paper, the 49ers don’t need quarterbacks via the 2023 NFL Draft, but they should still very much seek one out with one of their 11 picks.
If you were to peruse through any list of the San Francisco 49ers’ top needs in the 2023 NFL Draft, you probably wouldn’t find a quarterback listed.
That’s because the Niners already have three signal-callers rostered: Brock Purdy, Trey Lance and now Sam Darnold. Even after San Francisco finally said goodbye to Jimmy Garoppolo via free agency, the position has both depth and talent.
But it also has injury concerns entering 2023.
Purdy just underwent surgery on his throwing elbow and likely won’t be ready for the start of the regular season, while Lance suffered a season-ending ankle injury in Week 2 last year and only just got back on the field to throw.
Should Darnold be considered a solid starting option? Perhaps not, even though the 49ers are giving him $3.5 million guaranteed this year.
Purdy’s second-half rise in 2022 in the wake of Lance and Garoppolo suffering season-ending injuries reveals why many teams elect to draft a quarterback every year even if they don’t need one. While most late-round signal-callers ultimately flame out and are forgotten quickly, the occasional gem can show up.
And Purdy is a prime example.
The Niners don’t have draft picks until late in Round 3 but do have 11 total, meaning they should probably consider at least one rookie quarterback to bolster the depth chart.
Here are some names who’d be enticing enough for San Francisco to target on draft day.