Breaking Down the San Francisco 49ers’ Depth at Quarterback


When I began writing this piece, Seneca Wallace just joined the San Francisco 49ers and Colt McCoy had yet to be named backup QB. At that point in time, Wallace’s addition to the roster indicated uncertainty about the backup QB’s on the depth chart, but with recent developments, a clearer picture of the 49er backup situation.

With Scott Tolzien cut from the roster, only four quarterbacks remain on the team, and all of them could foreseeable be on the squad to start the regular season.

Clearly, Colin Kaepernick is one of the four, and will be the main feature (I could be talking about the 49ers depth chart or the Sports Illustrated issue).

Jun 5, 2012; Berea, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Colt McCoy (12) back hands the ball to quarterback Seneca Wallace (6) during minicamp at the Cleveland Browns training facility. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Colt McCoy is the backup as of right now, with head coach Jim Harbaugh saying, “I feel real good right now that Colt’s the backup.”

Interestingly, back in 2012 Senica Wallace and McCoy fought over the Cleveland Browns’ backup QB position behind Brandon Weeden.

In an article for’s sports blog, Wallace said “Can any of you guys see all three of us being here?” referencing McCoy, Weeden and himself. “You’ve written about it, so that answers your question… Probably not.”

Wallace was right; he was released at the before the 2012 season by the Bronws.

San Francisco is quite different from Cleveland. For one thing, Harbaugh could care less what the media thinks or says, and perhaps that will rub off on Wallace, who was clearly reading into what others thought. Also, there is the little fact that the 49ers are among the favorites to reach the Super Bowl this year; the team is tied with the Seattle Seahawks as the second favorite to win the Super Bowl (at 17/2) behind the Denver Broncos, according to

Wallace’s attitude during the 2012 controversy remained professional.

"I mean look, this is my 10th year. I know the ropes. I know what goes on. I’m not naïve to that. I know the system well enough to compete at anytime. Whatever decision is made, that’s the coaches’ decision."

While he will have to learn the 49ers system, his attitude would make him an ideal third option at QB, if he’s willing to fill that roll and the 49ers choose him over B.J. Daniels.

I think given the chance, Wallace will be willing to be the veteran on the sideline mentoring young quarterbacks. He knows that in the NFL, a third option can become the first quickly. Wallace’s running ability makes him a nice fit to maintain the style of play the 49ers will display under Kaepernick.

Aug 25, 2013; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback B.J. Daniels (5) looks to pass the ball against the Minnesota Vikings in the fourth quarter at Candlestick Park. The 49ers defeated the Vikings 34-14. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

B.J. Daniels could take the third roster spot from Wallace. Daniels has been playing with special teams in an attempt to receive as much playing time as possible.

“Whatever I can do to help out on this team you know I’m willing to do. I find it pretty interesting if I get the opportunity to return a kickoff and then stay on the field and have to play quarterback, that would be pretty cool,” Daniels said in a recent interview.

While he would never return a kickoff to start a drive while starting at quarterback in a real game, Daniels’ willingness to play other positions might allow a fourth quarterback to remain on the roster. If Wallace receives the third string role and the 49ers lack roster room for Daniels, then the rookie seventh-round pick will find a spot on the practice squad.

The 49ers have a quality set of backups at the quarterback position who they hope will only see playing time as games wind down during blowouts.