What’s next under center for San Francisco?

By Brad Wilbricht  |   Friday, January 23, 2009  |  Comments( 4 )

San Francisco 49ers
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With high expectations entering the 2008 season, the San Francisco 49ers’ 7-9 record was a disappointment in many regards. However, with a new coaching regime in place, the 49ers are poised to build off winning four of their final five contests of the year.

While quarterback Alex Smith has been a massive disappointment, the emergence of fellow passer Shaun Hill was a pleasant surprise in 2008. Smith, the No. 1 pick in the 2005 draft, has been hampered by injuries and inconsistent play throughout his career, while Hill has taken advantage of every opportunity he’s been given. The other quarterback on the roster, J.T. O’Sullivan, could be on his way out of the Bay Area after the team parted ways with former offensive coordinator Mike Martz.

With the 2009 draft rapidly approaching, San Francisco’s front office must determine its long-term plan at the quarterback position. If head coach Mike Singletary and company are not confident Hill can be the starter for years to come, they’ll likely look to the draft for a possible heir apparent.

The top two quarterbacks of the incoming draft class are Georgia's Matthew Stafford and USC's Mark Sanchez, both of whom will likely be off the board when the 49ers' pick -- the 10th selection -- comes up. If that logic holds, San Francisco -- should it be looking for a QB -- will be forced to acquire a new signal-caller in the second round or later.

Kansas State's Josh Freeman and Ball State's Nate Davis could be available in the second round. Freeman (6-foot-5, 238 pounds) exhibits excellent size and a big arm, but he lacked focus at times in his college career. Meanwhile, Davis is a dual-threat quarterback who can hurt you on the ground or through the air.

Given the organization’s recent flop after selecting Smith in '05, the 49ers will exercise extreme caution when drafting another quarterback. Nonetheless, Hill is already 29 years old and Smith can’t be depended on, possibly leaving the team in need of a new face under center.
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About Brad Wilbricht

Brad Wilbricht covers numerous sporting events including the NFL, NFL Draft and college football. His analysis is simulcast through several media outlets across the country. Additionally, Brad is a regular guest on a variety of talk radio shows and can be frequently heard on the airwaves. To...
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