QB talk: Freeman visits with 49ers

Being a fan of college hoops, I was looking forward to last night’s championship game. After about four minutes, I started searching for other things to occupy my attention.

Luckily, just a minute or two into the second half, the phone rang. It was Rob Rang who rang. He returned my call at the perfect time.


Rang has become one of the most-respected draft experts based on his work with NFLDraftScout.com. Rather than watch the conclusion of the basketball game, I spent an hour on the phone talking about the 49ers’ draft.


He shared his insights on just about every position of need for the 49ers in the draft. He provided way too much information and opinion to post in one blog entry, so we’ll break it up over several days.


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Today, the 49ers are expected to have three players visit their Santa Clara complex. Defensive tackle B.J. Raji arrived last night, and he visited this morning. Quarterback Josh Freeman of Kansas State and running back Kory Sheets of Purdue are also scheduled for visits today.


Let’s focus a little on the quarterbacks because Freeman’s visit is interesting. In speaking with Rang last night, he believes there is little chance the top two quarterbacks – Matthew Stafford and Mark Sanchez – will last until the 49ers select with the No. 10 overall pick.


Therefore, teams that want a quarterback might feel inclined to move up to get Freeman. After the top three quarterbacks, there is simply not a lot out there for a team desperate to find someone at that position, Rang said.


Here are Rang’s thoughts on the quarterbacks, and how it affects the 49ers:


“I don’t think they’re necessarily getting that much better if they take a quarterback,” Rang said. “You’d still have a young kid who is unproven, just like Alex (Smith) is. But at least Alex has been around and knows the system. And if he’s going to be known as anything other than a bust, he’s going to have to work his butt off. So he’s going really be trying to prove something.”


Q: So you don’t believe Sanchez would make the 49ers better immediately?

Rang: “Personally, I really like Sanchez. I think he’s got that indefinable ‘it’ quality to him. If he had an opportunity to play more, he could’ve been special and probably warrant No. 1 consideration. The fact he only has 16 starts, you can’t take him at No. 1. I watch him and I see him make plays. He’s a lot more savvy than he has any reason to be for as little as he played in college. He makes plays that get me all excited. Possibly, he would make San Francisco better, but not quickly enough to warrant that pick. If he’s there, look for the 49ers to trade out with a few other teams jumping up to get him. But I don’t think there’s any chance in hell he’ll still be there. Now, there is a possibility of teams trading up to get Freeman. Because once the other two go, it’s a free-for-all. If you want a quarterback, you better take Freeman.”


Q: What options do the 49ers have if they wait until the middle rounds – 3, 4 or 5 – to get a quarterback to develop?

Rang: “This is such an ugly draft that way. The seniors are so bad. (Tom) Brandstater from Fresno State has a shot because he’s big and strong and he has an arm. The one I like that I think is kind of a hidden gem is Stephen McGee from Texas A&M. (Former Packers coach Mike Sherman, currently at Texas A&M) and (49ers GM) Scot McCloughan have their history together. McGee was basically used as an option quarterback and so he is very much a raw prospect, but you can see he’s got talent. He struggled with durability, but a lot of that is because he was an option quarterback and he took a lot of hits. At the Shrine Game and the combine he flashed. He’s one of the very few senior quarterbacks who has a chance to play at the NFL level.


“This is the worst I’ve seen (for quarterbacks) in the last 10 years – maybe longer than that. The fact that Pat White is getting all this talk as a quarterback is just an indication of how bad it is. He can throw the ball, but that doesn’t make him a quarterback. You’ll never win consistently with him as a legit quarterback. The wildcat stuff has everybody excited about him.”


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