The 49ers have not had a franchise QB since Steve Young was knocked out of the NFL by Aeneas Williams at Arizona in 1999. They won’t have one this year, either. Making it 19 straight years with a deficiency at the top of the roster. Jeff Garcia bobbed and weaved up there for a few years, but he was never going to be the answer. Alex Smith gave it a shot. So did Colin Kaepernick. Nope and nope.
Nobody considers Brian Hoyer or Matt Barkley to be serious contenders for the Franchise label, so it appears the next one to take a crack at it will be third round draft pick C.J. Beathard. Nobody expects him to become elite, either. But Kyle Shanahan likes him, which is not a small thing. Joe Montana and Russell Wilson were third rounders, so there is precedent. It’s not like a third round pick is a throw-away value, like a camp arm or clipboard holder.
At any rate, Beathard is a guy to put the ogle-eye on during the preseason games. If nothing else,
it will give us a clue whether Shanahan has a good eye for QB talent, or not so much.
We can expect the top two picks to perform well, but RB Joe Williams and TE George Kittle are also guys to watch. They could both play significant roles this year. I can’t remember the last time I thought a Trent Baalke pick would be a difference maker in his first year — or even at all.
Maybe we’ll be saying that about GM John Lynch next year at this time, too. But I’m leaning towards doubting that, at the moment. In fact, if these low draft fellows turn out to be keepers, this draft might be one of the best Niner drafts of this century.