The San Francisco 49ers found themselves in a predicament in the 2013 preseason.
The team had traded for QB Colt McCoy from the Cleveland Browns, but they didn’t appear to have faith in him to take over in the event that starter Colin Kaepernick was ever lost for an extended period of time. San Francisco brought in a myriad of quarterbacks to compete before finally settling on McCoy. Thankfully, Kaepernick was able to stay healthy all season.
This offseason, the team decided to let McCoy walk via free agency and traded for another underachieving former starter in Blaine Gabbert. While the 49ers obviously feel that head coach Jim Harbaugh can get the best out of Gabbert, he has one year left on his contract and doesn’t appear to be a long-term answer.
Given the situation behind Kaepernick, it would benefit the 49ers to invest a 2014 draft pick in a quarterback. The prospect they take could be slated as the third stringer this season before being moved to primary backup duties in 2015. Harbaugh has had a golden touch when it comes to quarterbacks, and picking someone he has faith in could go a long way in giving the 49ers insurance for the next half decade.
Even with contract talks being tabled in the wake of Kaepernick’s incident in Miami, all indications are that the Niners are looking to extend their quarterback before the season starts. However, should talks break down or the Miami situation end up being a problem, the 49ers would have a player waiting in the wings to take over.
If selecting another quarterback is a priority to the 49ers, one name to keep an eye on is Eastern Illinois product Jimmy Garoppolo. With six picks in the top 100, San Francisco could be in a position to use a second rounder on Garoppolo if they feel he can help the team. Harbaugh has already had a private workout with him earlier in the offseason, and while Garoppolo is considered a bit of project, there may be no better teacher than Harbaugh.
At 6-foot-2 and over 220-pounds, Garoppolo has the size for the position and his quick release is an intriguing feature for coaches. He has also been commended for his work ethic and mental makeup, both of which can help a player go a long way in the NFL.
Even if/when Kaepernick is solidified as the long-term quarterback of the 49ers both on the field and contractually, Garoppolo could still prove to be a valuable trade chip down the road for a a team in need of a signal caller.