NFL draft prospects at QB shine spotlight on smaller schools

This is my feature on the allure of quarterbacks who went to non-major-conference colleges.

For the past five years, every quarterback who was chosen in the first round of the NFL draft went to a major-conference college. Meaning a college in the Pac-12, Big Ten, Big 12, SEC or ACC.

Forget that trend.

Draft gurus expect three quarterbacks who went to non-major-conference colleges to get drafted in Round 1 this year — Blake Bortles from Central Florida, Teddy Bridgewater from Louisville and Derek Carr from Fresno State. For the sake of this article, call non-major-conference schools “small” schools.

Three more quarterbacks who went to small schools probably will get drafted before Round 5 — Jimmy Garoppolo from Eastern Illinois, Brett Smith from the University and David Fales from San Jose State.

Only one quarterback who went to a college-football powerhouse has a chance to get picked in the first round — Johnny Manziel from Texas A&M.

What has changed?

“If I were coming out in the draft today, maybe I would be a third- or fourth-round consideration because of my ability,” former 49ers quarterback Jeff Garcia said in a telephone interview.

No quarterback symbolizes the NFL’s evolving philosophy toward drafting college quarterbacks better than Garcia. No team wanted him when he entered the draft in 1994, even though he started three years at San Jose State and broke the school’s total yardage record for quarterbacks. So he played five years in the Canadian Football League before Bill Walsh brought him to the 49ers, where he was a Pro Bowler three seasons in a row. He was a Pro Bowler in 2007 for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

“Coming out of San Jose State, I felt like I was ready to compete in the NFL had I been given that opportunity,” said Garcia. “I had been invited to the East-West Shrine Game. I was MVP of that game. I competed against some of the best in the country. I felt like I rose to the level, if not above the level of the competition in that game, and I felt like that’s how I always played.”

San Jose State was off the radar — hardly ever played games on television — and Garcia was too short — they list him at 6-1. Now, small schools like San Jose State are on television practically every weekend, and the NFL loves shorter quarterbacks like Russell Wilson and Johnny Manziel.

“A lot of people compare Manziel to me, and maybe there are some similarities,” Garcia said. “I love his athletic ability. I love how he’s able to extend plays and make plays. I’m not a huge fan of his mechanics. I feel like he’s going to run into trouble throwing off his back foot, throwing off balance, throwing balls into coverage, not making good decisions, holding onto the ball too long in the pocket or relying on his legs too much. I think those things that he was able to get away with at the collegiate level he will not get away with at the NFL level.”

Manziel in the mix

One of the reasons certain draft gurus love Manziel is he played in the SEC, the toughest conference, meaning he played the toughest competition. But he also had a projected first-round pick at left tackle on his team — Jake Matthews — and a projected first-round pick at wide receiver — Mike Evans. Manziel played with great players in college. That does not accelerate a quarterback’s development. It may decelerate it.

“You look at the quarterbacks that have come out of the big schools,” Garcia said. “You look at Mark Sanchez, you look at Matt Barkley, you look at Matt Leinart coming out of USC. Look at quarterbacks that have come out of the University of Florida over the years. They’re surrounded by the best talent in the country. They go out there and they’re successful and it seems like things come so easy to them. Now all of a sudden, they get the opportunity at the next level and things aren’t so easy anymore. They don’t have the most talented skill players around them because everybody is talented and skilled. So now they’re facing evenly matched competition. How are they able to separate themselves from the rest? They have never had to do that because they had such great talent. They had an advantage. Now when they’re challenged, they don’t know how to deal with that.

“I learned how to do that at San Jose State because I was challenged every single week to be better, to be greater, to overcome the odds, to find a way to succeed. That wired me a different way. It wired me with the mentality that I was going to battle and fight and find a way no matter what the situation may be. You look back at that Giants playoff game with San Francisco and overcoming that 24-point deficit in a quarter and a half. I had been in that situation many times before. And I may not have always had a big-time comeback, but that didn’t scare me.”

In a lot of ways, going to a smaller school is more conducive to quarterback development.

“You can recruit the most physical players in the country at some big schools,” said Ted Tollner, who was a head coach at USC and San Diego State, and an assistant in the NFL. “Other schools, you’re not going to get all of those big offensive linemen where you’re going to pound and control the ball. So you spread the game open and allow your quarterback and wide receivers to make up for the physical bulk that some of those other programs have.”

Quarterback guru Terry Shea said, “For the position that we’re referring to, it all comes down to repetitions in practice and in games. It can only benefit a quarterback to get more reps at a younger age. And a quarterback has a greater chance to play early at some of the smaller schools we’re talking about, which consequently lends itself to more skill development at a younger age.”

Shea was Garcia’s head coach for one year at San Jose State. The past two off seasons, Shea has trained David Fales, San Jose State’s most recent starting quarterback.

Shea is wild about Fales, and so is Garcia.

“I think that playing at San Jose State where maybe your offensive line is not the strength of your team, it’s important to get the ball out on time,” Garcia said. “David Fales is not a guy who’s been able to rely upon foot speed. He doesn’t have it. But he has great pocket presence, great pocket awareness, he can move around enough to buy an extra second and he has really good anticipation. He throws the ball to spots and he’s accurate.”

Fales grew up in Salinas, 30 miles south of Gilroy, where Garcia grew up. Fales first went to the University of Nevada, but transferred because he was not a running quarterback and didn’t fit the zone-read pistol offense current quarterback Colin Kaepernick was running.

Fales transferred to Monterey Peninsula College and started there for two years. Then he transfered to San Jose State. His first season as a Spartan, he completed 72.5 percent of his passes — best in college football.

“David puts the ball where only the receiver can get it and the defender can’t,” said Ron Caragher, who became San Jose State’s head coach before Fales’ senior season. “He has a strong arm. He throws the deep out. He throws the dig route down the middle very well. And then he also has touch — throwing the screen passes and the check downs to the running back. And then he has the homerun throw, too — deep over the defense. Those are his physical strengths.

“His intangibles are high as well. The two-minute offense, he executed that well. We were down eight with just over a minute left against Navy, and David just chipped away, converting a fourth-and-6 early in the drive. David got the last snap off with one second on the clock to throw what would eventually be the game-tying touchdown.”

Quarterbacks who go to college-football powerhouses sometimes can’t develop those skills. Receivers are wide open. Everything is too easy.

Small-school advantages

So, should top high school quarterbacks start choosing to go to smaller schools?

“I think it’s going to be a trend,” said Josh Johnson, who went to the University of San Diego, a non-scholarship FCS (formerly Division I-AA) program. Johnson now is the backup quarterback for the Cincinnati Bengals. “If you go to a big school, there will be a five-star running back, or a five-star wide receiver. If you try to get them to learn an NFL offense, that might not be their strength at 18 or 19 years old. But they’re a hell of a player, so the coaches have to simplify the game for them and allow them to be great athletes.”

From Johnson’s point of view, that inhibits the growth of the quarterback, who is almost a supporting player on these teams. “That’s what I see in college football nowadays. A lot of these offenses are allowing these running backs and receivers to be great athletes. It’s different at the small schools. All of the athletes have a similar skill set, so you need your quarterback to be on point.”

Johnson was a good high school quarterback at Oakland Tech, but was small (5-10, 160 pounds) and got injured his junior year. The only schools that were interested in him were Idaho State and St. Mary’s — the Gaels still had a team.

Johnson’s high school coach, Alonzo Carter, approached Jim Harbaugh after Harbaugh’s final game as an assistant coach of the Raiders. Harbaugh had just accepted the head coaching job at the University of San Diego. Coach Carter convinced Harbaugh to consider Johnson. Harbaugh ended up recruiting Johnson, and Johnson became the full-time starter at USD his sophomore year.

“I was able to start for three years, and it was a constant learning process for me in an NFL offense,” said Johnson. “But those big schools, they just try to win because the coaches have got to save their jobs. They’ve got to get the ball to their best players and make the game easy for their best players. This doesn’t help the quarterback develop.”

Johnson grew 5 inches and put on 45 pounds at USD, and now is one of the most athletic quarterbacks in the NFL. Does he ever wish he had grown earlier as a teenager and gotten to play at a big school like Cal or UCLA?

“Honestly, no,” Johnson said. “I like the player I’ve become. I like the person I’ve become from going to USD and I’m very comfortable with that. I don’t know if I would have been able to become that somewhere else. Going to these bigger schools, you’ve got to deal with five-star recruits and guys who are hyped up. Stuff that you deal with in the NFL. Now that I’ve been in the NFL, I don’t know if I really would have wanted to deal with that in college.

“We had something special there at USD. It was a bunch of guys who just wanted to play football, and there was no added incentive because we were paying to go to school.”

Think of small schools as a learning laboratory, not a factory of winning.

Like Johnson, Garcia was a small quarterback who was overlooked. San Jose State didn’t recruit him out of high school. He played his freshman year at Gavilan Junior College in Gilroy. His father was the head coach.

“In no way do I look back and wish that the road was any easier for me,” he said. “One of the best years of my life was playing football for my dad at Gavilan Junior College. Having to go to Canada, having to work my way back later to the NFL, it made me appreciate things that much more.

“I think when you talk to people who know me today, I believe they would say I’m a very down-to-earth, very genuine, very humble person. I think that having the path, the journey, the road that I went through made me truly appreciate life in general. I appreciate the fact that I had to go out there and work for it and continue to prove to people that I deserve it, and when I got the shot, the chance, I showed that I was worth it.”

Grant Cohn writes sports columns and the “Inside the 49ers” blog for the Press Democrat’s website. You can reach him at grantcohn@gmail.com.

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    1. niners have so much ammo they will make 3 moves get top notch then trade down and pick up picks for future and pick up depth future QB. book it

          1. Did Garcia’s enthusiasm for the game come through in your discussion?

            Heard he spent some time this offseason with your guy, Hundley. Hopefully he didn’t help him too much.

            1. Absolutely. Garcia was the most passionate person I interviewed. We talked for more than a half hour. Very generous man.

  1. Grant what makes you think this yr is the start of a trend and not just an anamoly. Its happened before, i remember when the Mid American conference was ” the cradle of QB’s:

  2. Nice examination.
    On another note, I just got a chance to watch a clip, with sound, of Richard Sherman getting slugged in the face. Then they showed it again. I’m in a cheerful mood now.

  3. This was a very long, drawn out, long winded article, Grant. I enjoyed the heck out of it. Thank you for writing this…

  4. Love how Jimmy Garoppolo gets rid of the ball. I’ve been a fan of quick release QBs since Marino.

  5. Great read Grant! Great research! I know arron Rodgers played for Berkley but he was not recruited coming out of pleasant valley high school, went to butte college , and was only found when Jeff Tedford came to look at te Jeff cross. With that slight and then dropping in the Alex smith draft it fueled his fire. Abilities are important but some guys just have , more, grit determination and drive, arron spent most of his free time doing boring repetative drills most people would think was a waste of time. Love these articles Grant! Thank you!

  6. Grants wishes may come to fruition. ESPN is reporting Baalke and Harbaugh think highly of Fales.

  7. Excellent work Grant!

    Thanks for the break down on big vs small school QB’s. The interviews were insightful and refreshing.

    I’ve always been a big fan of Jeff Garcia and (if you remember) have made a few attempts over the years to have you use him as a regular for analysis.
    Garcia knows the game and his perspective is very keen and as well as honest.

    Also, I have not given much attention on D.Fales throughout his career, but the high praise coming from his former Spartan coach regarding Fales’ accuracy and ascension from Salinas to San Jose sparked an interest.

    Josh Johnson provided very good perspective as well.

    Thanks Grant, very good stuff!

  8. Grant

    Very nice piece….you have given voice to a lot of ‘small college’ QB’s. I have been advocating for small college players for a long time, and I believe that there are several WR’s who can go nose-to-nose with their ‘big’ college rivals. One that I know of is still in training after not making it with the Jags last year. (Tell me, just who on the Jags DID make it last year?) His times would have put him in the top 5 at last years combine…IF he had been invited….he was too busy resetting all of the receiving records at his Alma mater (45 years worth), and keeping his nose clean. That might be his only drawback. As I have been saying….THEY ARE OUT THERE!!

    Thanks for the great piece

  9. Interesting read. # 7 went to a smaller school, but also gets by on raw talent, as opposed to brains. Harbaugh and Niners would be wise to take a shot at developing a QB who can anticipate throws from the pocket and go through their progressions. Tossing out ~ $18 million/year seems like a big gamble for an athlete playing QB, as opposed to developing a true, high intellect QB. $18 mil per year can then be spent elsewhere across the roster.

  10. Kaepernick had a 4.0 GPA at Reno and scored 37 on the NFL Wonderlic. The QB average is 24 and the mean score of all players, excluding OL is 21, with a standard deviation of 7. That puts Kaepernick more than two standard deviations above the mean. In other words, he is a very smart football player….

    1. Way to many tattoos. I demand to see the transcripts….. And his birth certificate while your at it.

    2. No Razor, a 37 does NOT make him a very smart football player, it doesn’t even make him a smart person.
      It makes him good at doing tests and good at remembering facts.
      I did the Wonderlic online and only missed one Q,
      Do you want to draft me?

      1. It means he can learn and problem solve. It’s a complicated offense, and a thick playbook. Like it or not, the kid is smart. Do you have any film? The Wonderlic is part of the portrait of the player. I would remind you it was no coincidence Ochocinco could not process the intricacies of the Patriot offense, and consequently was rendered pretty much useless…

        1. Razor, I agree that it helps sort out people who can study and remember a big playbook, but it does NOT tell you whether someone is a smart football-player.
          Alex-40
          Marino-15

          I think a high wonderlic score says more about the player off the field than it does on it.

        2. Raor here are some Wonderlic Q’s to show you how they are related to football;

          Wonderlic Sample Quiz

          Question Excerpt
          1. Round 907.457 to the nearest tens place
          A. 908.00
          B. 910.00
          C. 907.50
          D. 900.00
          E. 907.46
          14 comments
          2. What is the average of: 12, 15, 23, 10
          A. 10
          B. 15
          C. 16
          D. 12
          E. 20

          3. How many of the six pairs of items listed below are exact duplicates? Nieman,K.M. Neiman,K.M. Hoff, J.P. Hoff, J.P. Thomas,G.K. Thomas,C.K. Pino, L.R. Pine, L.R. Hammar,C.G. Hamnar,C.G. Warner, T.S. Wanner,T.S.
          A. 1
          B. 2
          C. 3
          D. 4
          E. 5
          4 comments
          4. On Monday and Thursday, lunch cost $5.43 total. On Tuesday and Wednesday, lunch cost $3.54 on each day.On Friday, lunch cost $7.89. What was the average daily cost?
          A. 3.19
          B. 3.75
          C. 3.90
          D. 4.08
          E. 4.23
          10 comments
          5. . What is 1230.932567 rounded to the nearest hundredths place?
          A. 1200
          B. 1230.9326
          C. 1230.930
          D. 1230.00
          E. 1230.9330

          1. If three inches of rope cost 7 cents, how
            much would two feet of rope cost?

            What is the next number in the sequence: 3,
            8, 18, 38?

            The first one is pretty easy. The second one made my brain hurt until I cracked the code. Now try going through 50 such questions in 12 minutes, knowing
            that your professional future depends upon how many you get right. As I said, the Wonderlic is “part of the evaluation” of a player, not the overriding factor. The NFL doesn’t take it with a grain of salt, and they don’t give it too much weight either.

            A 2009 study by professors at the University of Georgia, Fresno
            State and Towson State found no connection between Wonderlic
            scores and performance during the first three years of a player’s
            NFL career. In fact, one of the authors of that study, John W. Michel, told The
            Washington Post that there was actually a “negative relationship”
            for defensive backs — i.e., the lower a defensive back scored on
            the Wonderlic, the better he performed on the football field. With that said, football is 80% mental and 40% physical…..

            1. Razor, how about this.
              Everybody who wants to post on this blog, including Grant, has to do the Wondelic.
              We post the score right next to your avatar!
              My son had to do the DMV test and I found it to be more a test in comprehension of English then in knowledge of the rules. We could throw some of that in there too so people are forwarned when they read the blog!

    1. I didn’t need a trainer to tell me that, but verification is always nice. Wasn’t long ago, Grant was hailing Newton as the better athlete…..

  11. I realize that when you have a talented and relatively deep team like we do you can’t keep all of your picks, with that said how would it have changed this years draft if we had kept Marcus Cooper? Would we still be targeting a CB with our first pick? Would we still be targeting a CB with one of our first three picks?

    1. They don’t have a guy who can cover the slot, unless you’re comfortable with Cox or Wright.

      1. How do you know Cooper couldn’t have filled the role of slot? His 3 cone shuttle time is on par and better then many of the CB’s in this draft being considered to play slot. 4.45 40 isn’t blazing but it isn’t slow either.

          1. Well that doesn’t suggest he can’t play slot it just says that’s where KC needed him.

            Here’s the thought, what would your mock draft look like if you didn’t need to use your first three picks on a CB? How much better of a WR or LB or other position would be able to pick up if we weren’t so tied to grabbing a CB this year?

              1. Correct or not you don’t feel an overall sense by most that the team is going to target, out of need, a CB with either of their first two picks? I’ve seen by many on here moves up to nearly the top 10 to grab one so maybe I’m wrong but it definitely feels like most think we need a CB pretty bad. This isn’t necessarily my own point of view but I feel like it’s the general consensus among those that bother to make a mock draft for the team. I believe you would be hard pressed to find a mock draft that doesn’t have us selecting one with at least either of our first two picks.

                That to me is being tied to a position. Maybe it’s just a matter of semantics.

    2. Probably. Cooper would likely have barely played for the 49ers last season if they’d kept him, so he’d still be an unknown quantity.

      1. I don’t think an entire year on the team makes you an unknown quantity to the coaches and staff, to the fans maybe but the team is probably pretty familiar with him by then.

        1. Familiar with the player sure, and may have high hopes for them, but you never know until they play. Keep in mind even with Cooper they’d only have Brock, Cooper and Morris (maybe – though he may not be on the team if they kept Cooper) on contract beyond 2014. They’d still need to spend a high pick on CB regardless.

          1. They’d still need to spend a high pick on CB regardless.
            ————————
            I’m not so sure. Culliver isn’t going anywhere so If Cooper was capable of playing slot we’d have our 3 starters in place; Brock, Cully and Coop.

            I don’t care for Wright or Cox so It would be hard to imagine they wouldn’t still use a late second or a third round pick on a CB but I don’t know that they’d need to use either of their first two or three picks on one.

            1. I don’t think they will anyway. As per my latest mock, I think they’ll wait until round 3. Still a high pick, but not one of their top picks.

              I may not have been clear with my original comment – all I was trying to say was I don’t think having or not having Cooper will have any impact on their draft plans – I think they’d still be looking to add more CB talent in the draft regardless.

              1. Sure is razor. That’s why I don’t understand when people say having 11 picks is too many. Sure, they probably will end up with less than 11 players out of the draft, but when I hear people suggesting packaging up heaps of picks and taking just a handful of guys I simply don’t get it.

  12. Not sure if anyone else has already mentioned it or not, but John Morton spent 90 minutes with Cody Latimer after his workout Friday.

    The 49ers also had Kelvin Benjamin in for a private visit.

    One thing is for certain – the 49ers are doing a lot of homework on the top WRs in this draft.

      1. Do you mean fall to #56 or #61? Could be right, but would be a shame to do all this work to then simply resort to taking the best of the rest at their pick at #56 or #61…

        I expect them to have a couple of WR targets when it is all said and done – i.e., drill it down to maybe 3 or 4 WRs they really like, probably with differing grades, and manoeuvre to get one depending on how the draft plays out.

        1. but would be a shame to do all this work to then simply resort to taking the best of the rest at their pick at #56 or #61…
          —————
          The bigger shame is not to know which of the prospects is dropping because of a serious red flag or because he’s just slipping past the other teams that didn’t spend the extra time on them.

          1. Sure, I absolutely agree with that.

            But if you need a WR, and are going to spend a lot of time getting to know the WRs, do you really then want to just sit and wait and hope one of the guys you like falls to you, or be happy to just take the best of the rest if they don’t? If you don’t have a lot of draft capital then you sometimes have to take that approach. The 49ers aren’t lacking for draft capital though.

    1. The difficult part is donning the draft mask and making your way through their smoke screens and identify their true targets…..

      1. Yeah. That’s what this seems more like to me. Hide their true target(s) amongst a crowd.

    2. Looked at Cody Latimer’s highlights the other day. He was the last WR I have reviewed because there was so little chatter about him. He skipped much of the combine because of a foot thing.

      21 years old, thick bodied, 6-2, 215, strong as heck, shows nifty moves and good enough speed. His basketball background shows up. Physical. Naturally coordinated contorting his body to grab the ball. Makes contested catches. Worms his way into the endzone.

      Everyone was talking a day three pick. Walterfootball didn’t even have him in their top 140 players. Then he recently had a killer pro-day. Now waterfootball has him in the high second round. Dang!

      1. I know its the fashion to think “he could be the next Boldin” when reviewing physical receivers, but Latimer seems the closest from a physical standpoint. Have no idea if he’s mentally like Boldin.

        The pattern for Baalke is to “reach” for the first pick… that means trading up for a guy like Lee or Fuller, or standing pat to snag someone like Latimer nor caring if he gets ripped by media or us.

      2. Yeah, I remember watching a little bit of film on him earlier in the piece and being surprised he wasn’t being considered a third round pick, thought he was being underrated. Sounds like I might not have been doing him enough credit though as current talk is he could well end up being a surprise first round pick – he’s even been invited to the draft!

        When its all said and done I don’t think he goes in the first round, but right now it would seem unlikely he makes it past early/ mid 2nd round.

  13. While Sammy Watkins is the blue chip WR in the draft there are still many WR’s that could contribute on the 49ers and eventually become future stars.

    Sammy is a lock for a top 5 pick and that makes him untouchable for us. I’m not completely sold on Mike Evans. B.Cooks and Beckham have great speed but the ascent his been a slow rise.

    If we’re going to make a deal for a WR who is likely to be drafted somewhere between the 15 – 24 pick of the first rd, I make that deal to get Marqise Lee.
    Lee has been a productive WR from the first day he stepped onto the field for USC and has remained one of the best WR’s in college football even though bothered by nagging leg injuries.

    I believe we could find our “speed” WR in the 2 – 3 rds. Yes, we need a WR that can stretch the field, but I’ve been around long enough to know that speed doesn’t always equate to skill.
    Lee is not a burner but he’s fast enough, but more importantly he is high on skill.
    Crabtree and Boldin aren’t burners but they are top WR’s in this league because of skill.
    If we go with a WR in the 1st, for me it’s M.Lee.

  14. @Hammer

    Word on the street is your boy Glennon might be up for auction. Should the 49ers grab him?

    1. Razor, If you’re talking about QB Mike Glennon, I would be happy to have him as our #2 over Blaine Gabbert, anytime. He looked pretty good in the game at C Link last season. Almost pulled off a huge upset on the Seahawks home field. I really wish he had. Our whole season may have been ended very differently…

  15. Mock 9.0 Draft ~

    30. Marquise Lee WR USC
    56. Jeremiah Attaochu OLB Georgia Tech
    61. Steven Tuitt DT ND
    77. Weston Richburg C Colorado
    94. Bashaud Breeland CB Clemson
    100. Jack Mewhort OT Ohio St.
    129. Author Lynch TE Georgia
    170. Ahmad Dixon S Baylor
    242. Lorenzo Taliaferro RB Coastal Carolina
    243. Brandon Thomas OG Clemson
    245. Aaron Colvin CB OK

        1. Not speaking for him.
          I’d just point out that in the final sprint, we tend to talk ourselves out of guys. Negativism reigns. We focus on what we worry they can’t do, rather than what they have done and might be able to do.

        2. MWD,
          I would jump on Lee without hesitation especially if he’s still there at 30. Lee has had a stellar career since day one at USC, and his stats and numerous accolades overshadow those of any other WR coming into the draft.
          Watkins, Evans, Cook, and Beckham will likely be drafted higher than Lee because Lee did not put up the numbers he did of two years.
          But I attribute that to having a nagging leg injury (which he never used as an excuse) along with not really getting exceptional QB play.
          Many people are not enamored with his speed but he has 5 receptions of 75 yrds and more.
          Aside from Watkins, I think that Lee is more NFL ready than the others.

          Watkins and the afore mentioned WR’s will get plenty of playing time as rookies because they will likely be asked to fill an immediate need.
          If Lee is picked by the 49ers he will not be under as much pressure to immediately perform which could be a big blessing in disguise because he could develop under Crabtree and Boldin.

          As for me, I say we get our ‘speed’ WR between the 2-3 rds.

          1. I think Lee will ultimately become the next USC receiver to fail to live up to his college hype in the NFL. I don’t think he’ll fail as miserably as some other USC alumni, but I don’t think he’ll become a dominant WR either. Not overly fast, only average size, inconsistent hands, and can struggle against press.

            1. Scooter

              I’m taking your side on this….If it’s bias, I don’t know, but Marquis Lee, if he had been going to ‘Slippery Rock’ or wherever…O.K. USC uhh…uhh. Running back University doesn’t produce WR’s that produce in the NFL, because they don’t see enough passes through their college careers. Do some swaps and set us up with a 2015 first rounder with our picks from the 4th round on. Let’s let Baalke to do some draft magic with the rest. I’d love to see a high end QB in the 3rd.

              1. Oregon,

                What is your criteria for a “high end” QB?
                And can you name any “high end” QB’s that might be available in the 3rd rd?

        3. I would rather take him in the second round due to his injury history AES. I don’t deny that he is talented, but his injuries make me want to wait and see if he falls to us in the second round.

          1. If Lee is available in the second that is much better. But if he makes it to the 2nd rd, I would make a deal to move up in the 2nd to ensure we draft Lee (ala Kaepernick in 2011).

            My sense is that Lee won’t make it out of the 1st but come draft day, if there is a general consensus among teams that he is not worthy of a 1st rd pick than I wait for the second to make a deal.I

            I would lean towards Dee Ford with our 1st pick and then Lee with our 2nd.
            Again, we could find our ‘speed’ WR and future CB after those picks.

            Unless there is a Revis type CB in this year’s draft I don’t use our first pick for a CB.
            Cully, Brock, Bethea, Reid, Cox, Wright, and Cooks will hold down the fort until we find our star CB.

            I like Martavis Bryant with one of our 2nd picks as our speed WR threat. There are other fast WR’s such as Jeff Janus that could be drafted on day 3 as well.
            But while these type of players would need developing, Ford and Lee could begin to contribute from day one.

          2. AES

            Sorry, I almost missed your post…I think that there will be several high-end QB’s available in the third, including Garrapollo and many others who have been posted on here. Someone who has height, arm strength, quick feet, and good college coaching to a pro set offensive system. They may be from small schools also….a lot to deal with. Thanks for asking….

  16. Razor
    I like it. I do have some qualms with Dixon and Colvin dropping that low, but it they are there for us I would take them.

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