Five incompletions and 81 rushing yards. Those are the career statistics of former NFL quarterback Pat White, who last played in 2009 for the Miami Dolphins. After sitting out the past three seasons, the West Virginia product could be making a re-appearance with the San Francisco 49ers.
White, drafted by the Dolphins in the second round of the 2009 NFL Draft, was noted for his athleticism. Miami planned on using the mobile quarterback in their Wildcat offense, but that experiment never came to fruition.
Earlier this month, White took part in West Virginia’s Pro Day. Niners head coach Jim Harbaugh apparently saw what he liked in White, and has contacted the quarterback about scheduling a private workout. San Francisco needs a backup to Colin Kaepernick. At this point in time, only third-year signal-caller Scott Tolzien sits behind him on the depth chart, and Tolzien has never taken a regular-season snap.
Harbaugh certainly has a proven track record of getting the most out of his quarterbacks. At Stanford, Harbaugh worked with Andrew Luck, who set numerous school records during their two seasons together.
In his first season serving as 49ers head coach, Harbaugh rejuvenated Alex Smith’s tumultuous career. Smith threw for a career-best 3,144 yards and helped lead San Francisco to a 13-3 record in 2011. Before losing his starting job this past season, Smith was showing further growth, as he had a 70.2 completion percentage while recording a 104.1 passer rating.
Despite his production, Harbaugh made the switch to Kaepernick and unleashed his abilities onto their opponents. Kaepernick came just five yards shy of capturing the franchise’s sixth Super Bowl title in just his 10th career start.
White has a ways to go before he is even considered for the backup spot, but Harbaugh has an eye for talent at the quarterback position. From a playing standpoint, White possesses the physical tools to run some parts of the Pistol. Should Kaepernick suffer an injury, the playbook would not need to undergo a drastic overhaul.
With proper coaching and a talented offensive cast to work with, White could re-establish his playing career to some extent — even if it is as a career backup.
The 49ers have nothing to lose by giving the former college standout a look.