In mid-February, coach Mike Singletary was asked if the 49ers would take a quarterback with the No. 10 overall pick. He tilted his head to the side and pressed his lips together. His body language said no.
“That’s something we’d have to talk long and hard about, actually,” Singletary said, almost-but-not-quite ruling out the thought.
Several weeks earlier, before the start of free agency, I was talking to a high-ranking 49ers official who told me it was unlikely the club would take a quarterback in the first round.
But the “vibe” I’m getting now from the organization is different.
The 49ers have made attempts toward acquiring quarterbacks this offseason to leapfrog Shaun Hill and Alex Smith. They put on the full-court press to sign Kurt Warner, flying him to the Bay Area in a private jet; and they were interested in Jay Cutler before they deemed the cost of doing business with the Broncos much too steep. Obviously, both Warner and Cutler are proven quarterbacks who have Pro Bowl credentials. On paper, they would have provided an immediate upgrade for the 49ers.
Now, the focus shifts to the draft.
Let’s say the 49ers have an opportunity to select Mark Sanchez. This is an organization that has experienced six consecutive losing seasons. GM Scot McCloughan will be on the hot seat if the 49ers remain below .500 for another season. Would Sanchez make an immediate (positive) impact on the 2009 49ers?
If you take a player at No. 10, you want him to get on the field and help the team . . . like Patrick Willis did with the No. 11 pick in 2007. Either Sanchez would spend the season on the sideline wearing a ball cap or the 49ers would have to endure the requisite struggles of a rookie quarterback who started just 16 games in college.
Sanchez might be a very, very good player in the future. But he would not be significantly better – and would probably be worse – as a rookie than what the 49ers could get out of Hill or Smith in 2009.
I still don’t believe the 49ers will take a quarterback in the first round of the draft. But my reasoning now is different than it was a couple weeks ago. Now, I don’t think either Matthew Stafford or Sanchez will be available after the first nine picks in the draft.
So the 49ers might not have to make that decision. The 49ers attended Sanchez’s pro day on Wednesday at USC. (Of course, they weren’t there just to watch Sanchez; they were there to evaluate every USC player.)
Sanchez is scheduled to visit the 49ers’ team offices in
The 49ers will probably take a quarterback in the draft. They should take one. In 2005, they selected Alex Smith with the No. 1 overall pick. Since that time, they have not chosen another quarterback.
They’ve acquired Shaun Hill, Trent Dilfer, Chris Weinke, Drew Olson, Kyle Wright, J.T. O’Sullivan, Jamie Martin, Luke Getsy and Damon Huard in the past four years. But they have not drafted a quarterback other than Smith.
They need to take a quarterback. And if they don’t do it with the No. 10 pick, they should definitely make a selection at some point in the middle rounds – taking a player such as Rhett Bomar, Stephen McGee, Nate Davis or Tom Brandstater — to develop for the future.
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