Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports



San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brian Hoyer doesn't always get a lot of respect. While head coach Kyle Shanahan has defended his quarterback since signing him on the first day of free agency in March, the media and many fans have been looking beyond 2017 to a certain quarterback in Washington, D.C. By many, Hoyer is viewed as a placeholder until the 49ers can find their franchise quarterback.

Hoyer is familiar with Shanahan's offense and has been able to immediately step in and help bring other players up to speed. The quarterback even organized and led a group of 16 players for an unofficial passing session at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas.

"I'm really excited about Brian. Brian looked really good here in phase one and phase two of the offseason," Shanahan said in May. "He's putting in a lot of work. I got to work with Brian for one year when we were in Cleveland together. He can execute an entire offense. He can read a defense. He can hang in that pocket. He's a guy that's very tough. He doesn't watch the rush. He distributes the ball to whoever should get the ball based on the coverage and he allows guys to make plays."

Elliot Harrison, an analyst for NFL.com, made one bold prediction for each of the 32 NFL teams. What does "bold" mean? "Bold as in, hard to buy, but not necessarily hard to sell," wrote Harrison. Among the bold predictions was one for the 49ers. He predicts that Hoyer will pass for 4,000 yards.

Here is what Harrison had to say about the bold prediction:

"Kyle Shanahan developed an offense that pushed Matt Ryan from viable franchise quarterback to MVP of the league in 2016. Does that mean he can work wonders with Brian Hoyer? Perhaps not, but how much does he need to? While Hoyer has never been one of the NFL's premier quarterbacks, it isn't a stretch to say his career was unfairly marred by one dreadful playoff appearance in Houston. Hoyer was averaging well over 300 yards per start with the Bears last season in the four starts before he was hurt in the Packers game in October. He's smart enough to know where to go with the football, and he should benefit from Shanahan's penchant for getting everyone involved (particularly the RBs). With the proper offense, Hoyer might be better than everyone thinks, and certainly not the quarterback they saw in one wild-card game in the 2015 playoffs."

If Harrison's prediction comes to fruition, what does that do to the 49ers' plans at quarterback? Do they move forward with Hoyer as an extended stopgap and focus on a strong 2018 quarterback draft class? Do they attempt to sign that Washington quarterback regardless of what happens in 2017? A strong showing by Hoyer in 2017 would give the 49ers more options and flexibility.

Hoyer, an eight-year veteran, started 13 games while current 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan was the offensive coordinator for a season (2014) in Cleveland. That season, Hoyer passed for a career-high 3,326 yards, completing 55.3-percent of his passes and throwing 12 touchdowns compared to 13 interceptions. Over the past three seasons, Hoyer has passed for 7,377 yards, 37 touchdowns, and 20 interceptions through 31 games.

Other quarterbacks on the roster include Hoyer's former Chicago Bears teammate, Matt Barkley, and rookies C.J. Beathard and Nick Mullens.