I think I know which quarterback the 49ers will take in the upcoming draft.
Before I tell you his name, though, I want to tell you how I arrived at my conclusion and why I ruled out other quarterbacks.
This is my axiom: The 49ers probably want to draft someone who can develop into a franchise quarterback in the near future, but also compete for the starting job this year. And the Niners probably don’t want to draft that quarterback in the first round.
The 49ers own the second pick. The best quarterbacks available according to most draft experts are Mitch Trubisky from North Carolina, Deshaun Watson from Clemson and Patrick Mahomes from Texas Tech. Most years, those three would be second-round picks, but this year’s QB class is weak. Teams probably will draft those three somewhere in the middle of Round 1.
I’m ruling out Trubisky, Watson and Mahomes. The 49ers will take a quarterback later in the draft. The Niners will conclude those three are not worth the first-round pick.
But the 49ers won’t draft a quarterback much later than Round 1. If the Niners wait until the third round to take a QB, the best ones available probably would be Davis Webb from Cal, Nathan Peterman from Pittsburgh and Brad Kaaya from Miami.
Those three are not good enough to beat out Brian Hoyer for the starting job. And they probably aren’t even good enough to beat out Matt Barkley for the backup job. Barkley is a former fourth-round pick who was much better in college than those three were. He also has playing experience in the NFL. He’s a quality backup.
I’m ruling out Webb, Peterman and Kaaya, plus any other quarterback the 49ers could take after Round 3.
The only quarterback I haven’t ruled out is DeShone Kizer from Notre Dame. Here’s what you have to know about him:
Kizer fits Kyle Shanahan’s play-action passing game. Last season, Kizer’s QB rating on play-action passes was 154.7.
He also is big, he runs well, he has a strong arm and he’s fearless in the pocket, willing to hang in and take a crushing hit. These traits are not coachable. They’re innate.
But he will fall to the second round, and he deserves to fall.
Kizer isn’t an accurate passer. Most coaches believe accuracy is another innate ability — either you can hit the milk bottles with a ball at the carnival or you can’t and never could.
Kizer doesn’t seem like a milk-bottler.
When he throws, he doesn’t align his lower body with the target. Typically, he points his front foot away from the target. Kizer’s arm has to fight Kizer’s foot.
But, there may be hope for him. If he were aligning his lower body properly and still missing receivers, you could say he definitely isn’t accurate. That’s not the case with him. If he fixes his footwork, he may become accurate. And footwork is fixable. Kyle Shanahan recently explained this when a reporter asked him about Kizer.
“If a guy is missing throws,” Shanahan said, “you look at why they are missing throws. You don’t ever want to change a guy’s throwing motion too much — that’s pretty much how they throw and you don’t want to mess with it. But, you can always work with their footwork and their timing and keeping their feet under them and how to keep them being a passer, not getting them in a running position. All that stuff goes into account when you’re throwing the ball. It’s a lot easier throwing the ball when you’re balanced. How many times do you get off balance? Those are things you try to help them with.”