Niners take QB Nate Davis at No. 171

For the first time since the first selection of 2005, the 49ers have invested a draft pick in a quarterback.

The 49ers went with Ball State quarterback Nate Davis in the fifth round with the No. 146 overall selection. Davis received a lot of exposure this season, as it seemed Ball State was always on prime-time TV on ESPN with those odd-ball weekday night games.


Davis (6-2, 224) was the Mid-American Conference Player of the Year. He threw for 3,591 yards with 26 touchdowns, eight interceptions and a 64.3 completion percentage. As I recall, Davis would get the snap in the shotgun formation and never adjust the ball to grip the laces. He would just throw it. That shouldn’t be an issue as he learns to take snaps behind center.


Davis becomes the fourth quarterback on a 49ers’ roster that includes Shaun Hill, Alex Smith (the top pick in 2005) and Damon Huard. He was selected because the 49ers believe he has a chance to develop into a good player in the future.


Davis was one of four quarterbacks in the draft to visit the 49ers’ offices in Santa Clara. Matthew Stafford, Mark Sanchez and Josh Freeman were the others.


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Nate Davis said he believes the only difference between he and Matthew Stafford and Mark Sanchez is those guys went to Georgia and USC, and he went Ball State (David Letterman’s alma mater).


But the reason he said he was available in the fifth round is because of a learning disability. Davis said he has a problem reading and writing. However, he said that does not translate to football. When he visited the 49ers, he stood in front of the grease board and was quizzed by 49ers quarterbacks coach Mike Johnson.


After that pick, Davis said he believed, “San Fran was the place for me.” (It’s also nice to hear him say “San Fran” instead of “Frisco.”)


Davis said he feels more comfortable throwing the ball without the laces. In high school he was a shot-gun quarterback and would take a lot of three-step drops in which he didn’t have time to adjust the ball in his hand.


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