San Francisco 49ers Should Zero In On A Quarterback In Round One

Dec 30, 2015; Birmingham, AL, USA; Memphis Tigers quarterback Paxton Lynch (12) drops back to pass against Auburn Tigers in the 2015 Birmingham Bowl at Legion Field. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 30, 2015; Birmingham, AL, USA; Memphis Tigers quarterback Paxton Lynch (12) drops back to pass against Auburn Tigers in the 2015 Birmingham Bowl at Legion Field. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports /

The San Francisco 49ers’ biggest area of need is arguably, the quarterback position, and the team should address its issue with the seventh overall pick.

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With the draft just days away now, the San Francisco 49ers are still generating a ton of buzz about what they intend to do with the seventh overall pick. There is no shortage of needs on this team – on both sides of the ball – so they could conceivably draft any position and turn out okay. But this team needs a leader and it needs a franchise quarterback – which is why they should take a look at Paxton Lynch.

Carson Wentz and Jared Goff are (assumed to be) going at the very top of the draft order to the Rams and the Eagles. That leaves four teams ahead of them in line to nab one of the two remaining quarterback prospects – Lynch and Connor Cook. Of those four teams though, perhaps the only one seriously looking for a quarterback are the Dallas Cowboys, who need a reliable understudy for Tony Romo – though it’s far from a lock they draft one.

All of that is to say that Lynch very well may be available at seven and if he is, the 49ers should give serious consideration to scooping him up.

It seems more than clear that Colin Kaepernick is no longer in the team’s long term plans. Yes, he’s still currently on the roster, but the cold war between the embattled quarterback and the San Francisco front office continues to rage.

Though Kaepernick has participated in offseason drills with the team, General Manager Trent Baalke has said in a recent interview that he’s not yet spoken to Kaepernick. Given the all of the animosity between the two sides, you would think that if they’re going to roll with Kaepernick under center, the coach and the GM would do their best to thaw relations and improve their working relationship – something neither of them have done.

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Add to that mix, the fact that Baalke has stated that Kaepernick is on their roster while still leaving the door open for a possible trade. But that trade – to the Denver Broncos – would depend on Kaepernick choosing to leave several million dollars on the table just to buy his way out of the Bay Area. And why would he do that? Especially when all he has to do is gut it out through this season and then, more than likely, the team will jettison him next offseason and he doesn’t have to lose a dime.

So, barring some radical about face, it seems certain that the 49ers are going to head into the season with either Kaepernick or Blaine Gabbert under center. The smart money though, seems to probably favor Gabbert “winning” the starting role. If Kaepernick plays and gets himself injured again, the whole sordid scenario that plagued the franchise this offseason will likely play out again next year.

All of that is to say that the 49ers are going to need a quarterback moving forward – a quarterback who fits Chip Kelly’s system. Lynch is a big, strong, mobile – and more importantly – accurate quarterback who would blend pretty seamlessly into the offense Kelly runs.

From the scouting report on Lynch:

"“Throws with accuracy on the move and comfortable moving the pocket with boots and motions. Good-enough arm strength to fire strikes with a quick trigger. Quick eyes to scan and make whole field reads. Improved poise to sense pressure and comfortable operating from within a confined pocket. Has the arm talent to get away with throwing without a firm base. Coaches praise his ability to acclimate and football IQ.”"

Most feel that this season is going to be a lost one for the 49ers, who are in a desperate rebuild mode. They simply have too many needs that have yet to be addressed to be competitive. Combine the lack of talent with the NFL’s toughest strength of schedule, and this could indeed be a season that mirrors last year’s 5-11 effort.

But to get a building block who can work within Kelly’s system and make the offense a little more explosive might not be a bad place to start. If Kaepernick and perhaps, not even Gabbert, being considered the long term solutions for the franchise, why not take a look at a player who very well could be.

Next: How Badly Does Kaepernick Want Out?

Solid quarterbacks are a special commodity in the NFL. They’re hard to come by. And while it’s a bit too early yet to say Lynch can be that franchise building block, the arrow most definitely seems to be pointing upward for him. Yes, there are some rough edges to Lynch’s game that will need to be smoothed out, but if this truly is a lost season for the 49ers already, giving him a year to learn the game behind a couple of veterans might not be a bad thing. Or better yet, why not let the kid learn on the job.

If there is a guy who can get the most out of Lynch’s skill set, it would probably be Kelly. The 49ers desperately need a quarterback who can fit their longer term plans. And Paxton Lynch just might be that guy.