49ers should draft a QB in 2024, this late-round prospect fits the bill

Can the Niners find a hidden gem of a quarterback on day three of the NFL Draft for the second time in three years?


Kentucky quarterback Devin Leary (13)
Kentucky quarterback Devin Leary (13) / James Gilbert/GettyImages

The 49ers would be wise to find a developmental backup behind Brock Purdy in the 2024 NFL Draft, and Kentucky's Devin Leary is a perfect grab.

Currently, the San Francisco 49ers have only one quarterback under contract into 2024: Brock Purdy.

Purdy's two backups last season, Sam Darnold and Brandon Allen, are both scheduled to become free agents at the start of the league new year, and there are no guarantees either will re-sign with the Niners this offseason.

Sure, there are plenty of routes general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan could take when it comes to addressing Purdy's backup situation, and it wouldn't be shocking whatsoever to go after a poised veteran on the free-agent market to serve as Purdy's immediate No. 2 and a solid mentor.

But it's also wise to use one San Francisco's 11 projected picks in the 2024 NFL Draft on a developmental quarterback.

True, it's not a pressing need. And the 49ers could just as easily tab a developmental signal-caller as an undrafted free agent, too.

Yet there's one name who might be intriguing enough to the Niners as a late-round draft flier to occupy the No. 3 spot on the depth chart.

49ers should target Kentucky QB Devin Leary on Day 3 of NFL Draft

Kentucky quarterback Devin Leary isn't going to sniff anything close to the discussion about the top signal-callers in this year's class.

The transfer from NC State managed a 56.3 completion percentage in 2023 for 2,746 yards with 25 touchdowns and 12 interceptions, and his 6-foot-1 and 217-pound frame is likely going to turn off a lot of scouts and general managers who originally might have been intrigued by what was a promising sophomore season back in 2021.

As NFL.com draft analyst Lance Zierlein pointed out, though, Leary could end up thriving in an offense that features plenty of play action while focusing on the positive traits for a pocket passer, which is what San Francisco has traditionally done well under Shanahan.

When it came to Leary's NFL Combine workouts, Niner Noise's own Jeremy Wohlfart was notably impressed with the Wildcat quarterback:

"Kentucky's Devin Leary wasn't considered a unanimous draftable prospect until the NFL Combine, but he showcased some intriguing potential for someone to take a Day 3 flier on him. ...

What impressed teams, however, was his touch and his efficiency during the combine drills.

Leary also threw the ball with more velocity than people thought possible from him."

Wohlfart had Leary being selected in Round 6 at No. 214 overall, but any late day-three selection would make sense here.

After all, those picks are truly the wild "blindly tossing darts" selections, and Leary does have the workable attributes that could translate into him being a developmental quarterback who could turn into a worthy No. 2 behind Purdy at some point within the next couple of years.

At worse, the 49ers would merely have another competitor for depth in training camp.

Take the flier, Niners.

Read more from Niner Noise