Who will be the 49ers backup quarterback?
San Francisco 49ers fans can take a bow, scream and shout that they received a high second round pick with another pick in the 2014 draft by dealing Alex Smith to the Kansas City Chiefs. It was about as good as horse trading comes by NFL standards, because Smith was never worth that type of compensation to begin with. However the 49ers are now in the dark without a backup quarterback for the wonder boy Colin Kaepernick. The assurance you once had of having two capable starters is gone, and any injury to Kaepernick can derail the 49ers season completely, but there should be a lot of potential free agents and quarterbacks in the 2013 NFL draft that the 49ers could target to be a capable backup in 2013. That’s why we’re going to look at who the 49ers backup quarterback in 2013 will be.
As free agents go in 2013: Josh Johnson and Seneca Wallace are intriguing possibilities. I mention these three players, because of fit. Both have the athletic ability to mimic Kaepernick’s ability to enough of an extent to win some games. Jackson has experience and won some games as a starter in the NFL. Wallace is up there in age, but has experience in the west coast offense.
While you all should know Josh Johnson from the 49ers preseason in 2012, and he didn’t disappoint one bit, but he was released due to the nature of the business. I would expect Johnson to be signed on again, and will continue to develop into a solid backup on the 49ers. However the NFL draft has some intriguing prospects for the 49ers to draft and develop as well. The 49ers will have 15 picks so far in the 2013 NFL draft, and using one on a quarterback is not a bad idea. The top quarterback the 49ers should target in the late fourth to fifth round is Matt Scott of Arizona.
Scott came off as a very raw player in college, but he made major strides in his mechanics during the draft process and exploded onto the combine with his premier athletic ability. He has the arm to make all the throws, but doesn’t have great accuracy. Sound familiar? Is Scott the next Colin Kaepernick? No, but can he develop into a pretty good Kaepernick impersonator? Yes.
Besides you need competition at the quarterback position. There is no way Alex Smith and Colin Kaepernick did not become good players, because they weren’t driving each other to be better. Competition breeds success, and Scott can give Kaepernick some much-needed competition with Alex Smith gone. The best part of making the pick is if Harbaugh develops him into a NFL starter caliber player, then Scott will yield draft picks in the future. After Scott is a big drop-off in quarterbacks to fill the 49ers needs, because Geno Smith won’t fall to the 49ers and do the 49ers really want to draft E.J. Manuel with a second or third round pick?
I’m not saying it won’t happen, but it’s highly unlikely the 49ers will take a quarterback that high. There is simply not that many quarterback prospects that can run the offense Kaepernick runs in the NFL or in the draft. However if the 49ers can pick up a Josh Johnson and draft a Matt Scott, then it will breed quarterback competition with the best man winning. That is how you build for the future. Otherwise Kaepernick will become complacent, and will have a down year. Kaepernick needs the competition, and hopefully the 49ers will find in the 2013 offseason.
James Cobern is a Featured Journalist for TPF and can be contacted at JCobern@ThePenaltyFlagBlog.com.