San Francisco 49ers Should Address Biggest Need First In NFL Draft

Feb 27, 2016; Indianapolis, IN, USA; California Golden Bears quarterback Jared Goff throws a pass during the 2016 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 27, 2016; Indianapolis, IN, USA; California Golden Bears quarterback Jared Goff throws a pass during the 2016 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports /

The San Francisco 49ers have no shortage of needs that have to be filled on both sides of the ball – and they should begin their rebuild with the most important position.

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The San Francisco 49ers, holding the seventh overall pick in the draft, are looking at needing a total rebuild if they want to get back into contention at some point. They have needs all over the roster and on both sides of the ball thanks to free agent defections as well as a rash of retirements. But to get the ball rolling on the rebuild, they shoud target their biggest position of need in the first round.

At some point, Jed York, Trent Baalke, and Chip Kelly are going to get together and realize that neither Colin Kaepernick nor Blaine Gabbert is the guy who is going to lead this franchise back to the top of the mountain. Kaepernick won’t because he doesn’t want to play for San Francisco anymore and because many believe that secretly, the York/Baalke/Kelly brain trust want to jettison Kaepernick the moment they’re able to do so – while hopefully getting something in return for him. And Gabbert won’t because – well – he’s Blaine Gabbert.

Which means that the 49ers desperately need a quarterback that they can build this franchise around. While this year’s draft doesn’t have the most scintillating names to ever come through, there are a couple of good quarterbacks who can possibly be great quarterbacks. And there are a couple that a team like the 49ers can build around.

The problem for the 49ers is that they sit at number seven in the order, but there are a few teams in line ahead of them who also find themselves in need of a quarterback. The Cleveland Browns – who seem to need a new quarterback every single year are picking second, while the Dallas Cowboys – perhaps searching for the heir apparent to Tony Romo – might also be in the market for a signal caller.

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Lukcily for the 49ers, they have some options at the quarterback position in this year’s draft. The biggest question is going to be which of the four projected first round talents would be best suited to Chip Kelly’s offense.

A quick look at the top few quarterbacks show that Cal’s Jared Goff might be a good fit for Kelly’s system. He had a very productive college career, though many discount it because he played in Sonny Dykes’ up tempo, high flying, spread system – sound familiar?

For his three year career at Cal, Goff threw for 12,195 yards on 62 percent passing. He also tossed 96 touchdowns against 30 interceptions, and had a three-year QB rating of 144. The knock on him is that he’s not an elite scrambler, doesn’t make a lot of plays with his legs, and his accuracy drops when he’s on the run,

However, scouts are impressed with his mental make up, his self awareness, as well as his ability to deliver accurate passes through tight windows. Goff has room for improvement for sure, but he might be an excellent fit for Kelly’s system.

The other quarterback the 49ers might be hoping and praying they have a shot at is North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz. He was a relative unknown who has become a media darling. He’s got excellent size (6’5”, 237 lbs.) a big arm, the athleticism to make plays with his legs, and the intelligence to make the smart reads and plays.

Wentz’s stock has really shot up since the Combine and he’s undoubtedly landed on a lot of draft boards around the league.

Either Goff or Wentz seem to make sense for a Kelly-run offensive system. Both can do the job and will likely be able to do it well. At least, in time as they adapt to the pro game.

Next: How Badly Does Kaepernick Want Out?

San Francisco is going to need a quarterback. The relationship with Kaepernick is broken – perhaps well beyond repair. And Gabbert doesn’t seem like a long term solution. It might be in San Francisco’s best interest to burn it all down now and then build it from the ground up by drafting cornerstone pieces – starting with a quarterback.

It might not sit right with some 49ers fans, but it’s the blueprint laid out by Reggie McKenzie and the Oakland Raiders. And as we are seeing, it’s a blueprint that is paying dividends. It might hurt in the short term and lead to a lot of losses – but in time, if you’re smart, it will pan out and you’ll have success in both the short term as well as down the road.

The 49ers should do whatever it takes to get into a position to draft one of the top quarterbacks in the draft. It’s a move that could pay big dividends for this team.