Quarterback Prospects and the 49ers

The next Tom Brady?

Obviously there's going to be a range of opinions about what the 49ers have here. An optimist would say they have two starting-caliber quarterbacks. A pessimist would say they have none. What can't be argued is that Smith's never played for the same offensive coordinator two years in a row, and he'll finally get that chance in 2010 with Jimmy Raye.

Top Quarterback Prospects

Sam Bradford (JR) • 6-5 • 197 • Oklahoma

Bradford (below), the 2008 Heisman Trophy winner, is an efficient and reliable passer who is extremely accurate on all of his throws. He sets up quickly in the pocket and is patient. He has a prototypical frame, but lacks the overall bulk and strength to withstand a professional pounding. Projection: First Round

Jimmy Clausen (JR) • 6-3 • 223 • Notre Dame

Clausen is an athletic passer who possesses the physical skills and mental capacity to excel at the next level. He has above average arm strength and has played three years in a pro style offense and has progressed each year. However, he lacks overall placement and touch on deep throws and doesn't feel backside pressure consistently. Projection: First Round

Tim Tebow • 6-3 • 236 • Florida

Tebow, the 2007 Heisman Trophy winner, is a naturally gifted athlete who has all the qualities of becoming a star at the next level. He has great size and strength, as well as an elite arm. He primarily worked out of the shotgun and will have to learn to take snaps under center. He has to work on his mechanics and learn a pro style offense. Projection: Second Round

Colt McCoy • 6-3 • 210 • Texas

There are many questions surrounding McCoy's throwing mechanics. But, there's a lot to like as he features one of the best resumes in this year's draft class. Projection: Third Round

Dan LeFevour • 6-3 • 229 • Central Michigan

LeFevour is a natural athlete who has prototypical size and untapped potential. He sets up nicely in the pocket, feels the rush, has the ability to buy time with his feet and delivers a catchable pass to his receivers. He has to improve his mechanics and throwing motion; he needs time to develop. Projection: Third Round

Jarrett Brown • 6-4 • 223 • West Virginia

Brown is an athletic passer who has the ability to beat the opposition with his arm and legs. He shows poise in the pocket and sets up nicely. He primarily worked out of the shotgun and will have to adjust to taking snaps under center and has to improve his accuracy. Projection: Third Round

Tony Pike • 6-5.5 • 212 • Cincinnati

Pike has an ideal NFL arm — the ball comes out of his hands with power and torque. Projection: Third Round

John Skelton • 6-5 • 256 • Fordham

Skelton looks like your typical pocket passer as he tall, strong and durable. His arm strength is adequate and his throwing motion is very good as he gets set in the pocket quickly. Projection: Fifth Round

Jevan Snead (JR) • 6-3 • 220 • Mississippi

Snead has a world of talent and shows consistency with his timing. He gets the ball out of his hands early. Projection: Fifth Round

Sean Canfield • 6-3.5 • 221 • Oregon State

Canfield makes accurate throws, but the passes take too long to get there most of the time. Projection: Sixth Round

Mike Kafka • 6-3 • 220 • Northwestern

Kafka has drawn the attention of teams that run a West Coast offense. He doesn't possess an elite arm but throws with a good sense of timing. Projection: Sixth Round

QUARTERBACK

49ers' need at position (1-10): 3

Current Players: Alex Smith, David Carr, Nate Davis

Positional overview: Smith's only 25, so let's not give up on him yet. Carr is a physical upgrade over Shaun Hill and looks to be an ideal backup, though he likely views himself as more than that. Davis remains a long-term project, and with Scot McCloughan gone, one wonders how much support he has within the organization.

When to address: Fourth round.

Who's there: Ironically for a draft that's been billed as the deepest in years, this year's class is fairly week at the game's most important position. Sam Bradford and perhaps Jimmy Clausen are considered to be franchise quarterbacks, but they'll both be gone by the 13th pick. Everyone else is a question mark. A guy I like is Tony Pike out of Cincinnati. His frame and temperament reminds me of Tom Brady and he won a lot of games in the Big East conference and put up some gaudy numbers. Dan LeFevour is another intriguing guy, a great athlete who beat teams with his arm and legs during a spectacular career at Central Michigan, but he didn't play against quality competition very often.

SFI's pick: No one. Comment: I'm not too high on any quarterback on this draft and the team certainly has other needs. However, if the other guys on their board are already taken, the 49ers could do worse than taking a fourth round gamble on Pike, the lanky passer from Cincinnati.

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