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Does having Harbaugh give you more comfort in this draft?

I will preface this post by saying I am not a noob to this forum. My old handle was Stillincollege and has since been deleted because of account inactivity; but I still read posts on a regular basis.

Most of the posts that involve Harbaugh and possible draft selections for the QB position insinuate that he has some sort of God-given ability to judge and mold talent at the NFL level. This pattern resonates with what most reporters in the Bay Area are doing themselves. Some of the words one encounters for this mystery quarterback are “anointed,” phrases such as “in Harbaugh we trust.” The reality of the matter is that Harbaugh has yet to prove anything at the NFL level, and even those who have done so (specifically offensive-minded Hcs) have proven time and time again that one's capacity to draft a QB has nothing to do with how the franchise fares.

Ken Whisenhunt

He was the Steelers' OC during Cowher's only superbowl win, and almost led the Cardinals to a victory of their own as their head coach. His only success came from using the veteran Kurt Warner, whose career he revived. The point is that he has yet to prove himself as being an effective draft-evaluator of QBs, but it is obvious that he works well with veterans. Although Ben Roethlisberger won a superbowl under his tenure with the Steelers, it is also fair to say the Steelers won in spite of him. The passing-efficient Roethisberger only came after Whisenhunt left Pittsburgh.

Mike Shanahan

He was our OC during our last superbowl with Steve Young, and upon going to Denver he inherited John Elway, with whom he won two superbowls. He signed Jake Plummer as a free agent and turned his career around. His only success as a draft-evaluator and molder of college QBs came in the form of Jay Cutler. But it stands to reason that his reputation emerged from his work with veterans. His greatest failure, however, was Griese, who never could led the Broncos as far as Plummer could.

Mike Holmgren

He was our OC during Montana's epic drive against the Bengals. He coached a young Brett Farve that came through trade to Green Bay. The only other quarterback that one associates with Holmgren in Matt Hasselbeck, whom the Packers drafted a year before Holmgren left the organization. Yet, it was Andy Reid who pushed for Hasselbeck, not Holmgren, leaving doubt as to Holmgren's ability to draft and mold QBs. Nonetheless, no one can question Holmgren's ability to coach quarterbacks.

Hasselbeck article - http://www.nfltouchdown.com/in-my-opinion-matt-hasselbeck/

Jon Gruden

As Shaun King astutely noted a couple of weeks ago, Jon Gruden has yet to prove that he can coach up young quarterbacks, especially those that the Buccaneers drafted. He had success only with veterans, going from his days in Oakland with Gannon to Brad Johnson, Griese, and Garcia. His failures were Luke McCown, Chris Simms, Shaun King, Bruce Gradkowski, just to name a few. Again, this is an offensive-minded head coach who succeeds like Whisenhunt with veterans.

Andy Reid

For those of you who are hoping that Harbaugh is the man with the magic touch, look no further than Andy Reid. He handpicked Donovan McNabb when all of Philly booed the selection, made Kevin Kolb worthy of being debated for a 1st or 2nd round pick through trade, restored Vick's career, and went to the playoffs with Garcia. As stated before, he is the one who pushed for the drafting of Hasselbeck as a QB coach for the Packers. As a draft-evaluator and molder of young talent, Reid has proven himself to be amongst the best.

What is common between most of these coaches is that they took players like Favre, Plummer, and Roethlisberger (all of whom had talent) and won with them. It is reasonable to say that if a player like Cam Newton has talent, and Harbaugh proves that he can win with him, no one will question his judgment in the rear-view mirror. This statement is the same that one could make concerning the long-term relationship of Reid and McNabb (multiple NFC Championships and one trip to the superbowl). As far as Harbaugh's having some ability to pick and mold a 2nd or 3rd round draft pick into a star, numerous posts and articles online have already referenced the fact that most of the playoff QBs come from the 1st round—the Montanas, Bradys, and Warners are extremely rare.

With respect to Harbaugh and QBs, I would suggest praying for Reid-like all-around competence (with the draft, young talent, and veterans), while being satisfied with any resemblance to Jon Gruden as a coach who can win with with veterans. Anything in between those two poles, such as a similarity to Mike Shanahan, would be extremely solid. Yet, that which most posters and members of the media are neglecting, is the degree to which Harbaugh is competent on the other side of the ball. The inability to consistently field a strong defense got Gruden and Shanahan fired. For those of you who watched our game against the Eagles, none can forget how Andy Reid barked orders and organized his decimated defense (injury-plagued), ultimately leading his team to victory. If anything, the Eagles have consistently been strong on both sides of the ball over the years during Andy's reign. As a head coach, I do not want Gruden or Shanahan, just as I would not want Brian Billick (who on the opposite end of the spectrum fielded a strong defense but never had a good offense). But I cannot stress this point enough: it does not matter how good the future QB does in SF if our defense consistently fails, because Harbaugh will ultimately lose his job. I do not know how good Vic Fangio is compared to Manusky, or if Harbaugh possesses any ability to overcome any deficiencies of the former, all I care about is if we can get a QB, whether rookie or veteran, who can be coached to perform adequately so that the 49ers can compete for the playoffs year in and year out, as our defense holds its own.

I am one of those people who believes that the only player who has physical talent worth a number #1 pick is Cam Newton (who will not fall to us), and would rather spend our first two picks on fixing our defense, with players like Peterson, Prince, and Miller. There will be a run on QBs so that anyone we take in late 1st or 2nd round will be a reach. If Harbaugh really wants a QB, I see him taking one early or later in the draft, none in between. With the 7th overall pick he is in position to select the best, and with 12 picks in total he has enough selections to get a diamond in the rough. But as said before, anything in the late-1st to 2nd round range will just be reaching for a QB when we could simply select a defensive player who is being overlooked.

I do not advocate being cute and trading back while waiting for our QB in the middle of the 1st. I rather have Vince Wilfork than Rashaun Woods.
[ Edited by Eskendale on Apr 24, 2011 at 11:52 PM ]
Eskendale--Harbaugh's reputation stems from judging which QBs would make it in the NFL, for other teams. He did this as a player and then kept doing it during his coaching career. Fellow coaches and GMs who know him say he was extremely accurate in his assessment of who would make it in the NFL.

So, you are correct that talent will help a good coach succeed, but being able to evaluate talent is a separate issue. JH has spoken highly of Newton and other QBs in the draft, now we will see how he really feels this week!

Have a great time during the Draft!

Edit: And welcome back!
[ Edited by dtg_9er on Apr 25, 2011 at 6:53 AM ]
Originally posted by dtg_9er:
Eskendale--Harbaugh's reputation stems from judging which QBs would make it in the NFL, for other teams. He did this as a player and then kept doing it during his coaching career. Fellow coaches and GMs who know him say he was extremely accurate in his assessment of who would make it in the NFL.

So, you are correct that talent will help a good coach succeed, but being able to evaluate talent is a separate issue. JH has spoken highly of Newton and other QBs in the draft, now we will see how he really feels this week!

Have a great time during the Draft!

Edit: And welcome back!

Thank you for the kind words!

Yes, I have read articles that mentioned Harbaugh's accurate pre-draft evaluations of players like Tony Romo, David Garrard, Joey Harrington, and David Carr. But as a poster earlier in this thread mentioned, Bill Walsh--supposed QB Guru of Gurus--even made mistakes with evaluating college QBs. Even Trent Edwards had the approval of Bill Walsh (although one could claim that in his old age he lost his touch).

The point I was trying to drive home was that there are many good offensive-minded coaches who reached the super bowl without ever having groomed a young QB, so we shouldn't be so much stock into what happens on draft day. For Harbaugh, it may not be what he can do with a Montana, someone he drafts himself, but with a Steve Young, someone he acquires through trade or free agency. The same guy who spotted and drafted Ryan Fitzpatrick is the same person who wanted J.T. O'Sullivan to quarterback our team and claimed that he was surprised when Shaun Hill substantially outperformed him. I think allowing Harbaugh the possibility of failing his draft selections at QB is realistic, and certain permissible considering that so many successful offensive-minded head coaches have had winning records with only veterans and not youngsters.
[ Edited by Eskendale on Apr 25, 2011 at 8:03 AM ]
Didnt Harbaugh mention in an interview that he wasnt in the drafting process side of things? That Baalke would be the main cog. Harbaugh could input but it all came down to Baalke.
Originally posted by Eskendale:
I will preface this post by saying I am not a noob to this forum. My old handle was Stillincollege and has since been deleted because of account inactivity; but I still read posts on a regular basis.

Most of the posts that involve Harbaugh and possible draft selections for the QB position insinuate that he has some sort of God-given ability to judge and mold talent at the NFL level. This pattern resonates with what most reporters in the Bay Area are doing themselves. Some of the words one encounters for this mystery quarterback are “anointed,” phrases such as “in Harbaugh we trust.” The reality of the matter is that Harbaugh has yet to prove anything at the NFL level, and even those who have done so (specifically offensive-minded Hcs) have proven time and time again that one's capacity to draft a QB has nothing to do with how the franchise fares.

Ken Whisenhunt

He was the Steelers' OC during Cowher's only superbowl win, and almost led the Cardinals to a victory of their own as their head coach. His only success came from using the veteran Kurt Warner, whose career he revived. The point is that he has yet to prove himself as being an effective draft-evaluator of QBs, but it is obvious that he works well with veterans. Although Ben Roethlisberger won a superbowl under his tenure with the Steelers, it is also fair to say the Steelers won in spite of him. The passing-efficient Roethisberger only came after Whisenhunt left Pittsburgh.

Mike Shanahan

He was our OC during our last superbowl with Steve Young, and upon going to Denver he inherited John Elway, with whom he won two superbowls. He signed Jake Plummer as a free agent and turned his career around. His only success as a draft-evaluator and molder of college QBs came in the form of Jay Cutler. But it stands to reason that his reputation emerged from his work with veterans. His greatest failure, however, was Griese, who never could led the Broncos as far as Plummer could.

Mike Holmgren

He was our OC during Montana's epic drive against the Bengals. He coached a young Brett Farve that came through trade to Green Bay. The only other quarterback that one associates with Holmgren in Matt Hasselbeck, whom the Packers drafted a year before Holmgren left the organization. Yet, it was Andy Reid who pushed for Hasselbeck, not Holmgren, leaving doubt as to Holmgren's ability to draft and mold QBs. Nonetheless, no one can question Holmgren's ability to coach quarterbacks.

Hasselbeck article - http://www.nfltouchdown.com/in-my-opinion-matt-hasselbeck/

Jon Gruden

As Shaun King astutely noted a couple of weeks ago, Jon Gruden has yet to prove that he can coach up young quarterbacks, especially those that the Buccaneers drafted. He had success only with veterans, going from his days in Oakland with Gannon to Brad Johnson, Griese, and Garcia. His failures were Luke McCown, Chris Simms, Shaun King, Bruce Gradkowski, just to name a few. Again, this is an offensive-minded head coach who succeeds like Whisenhunt with veterans.

Andy Reid

For those of you who are hoping that Harbaugh is the man with the magic touch, look no further than Andy Reid. He handpicked Donovan McNabb when all of Philly booed the selection, made Kevin Kolb worthy of being debated for a 1st or 2nd round pick through trade, restored Vick's career, and went to the playoffs with Garcia. As stated before, he is the one who pushed for the drafting of Hasselbeck as a QB coach for the Packers. As a draft-evaluator and molder of young talent, Reid has proven himself to be amongst the best.

What is common between most of these coaches is that they took players like Favre, Plummer, and Roethlisberger (all of whom had talent) and won with them. It is reasonable to say that if a player like Cam Newton has talent, and Harbaugh proves that he can win with him, no one will question his judgment in the rear-view mirror. This statement is the same that one could make concerning the long-term relationship of Reid and McNabb (multiple NFC Championships and one trip to the superbowl). As far as Harbaugh's having some ability to pick and mold a 2nd or 3rd round draft pick into a star, numerous posts and articles online have already referenced the fact that most of the playoff QBs come from the 1st round—the Montanas, Bradys, and Warners are extremely rare.

With respect to Harbaugh and QBs, I would suggest praying for Reid-like all-around competence (with the draft, young talent, and veterans), while being satisfied with any resemblance to Jon Gruden as a coach who can win with with veterans. Anything in between those two poles, such as a similarity to Mike Shanahan, would be extremely solid. Yet, that which most posters and members of the media are neglecting, is the degree to which Harbaugh is competent on the other side of the ball. The inability to consistently field a strong defense got Gruden and Shanahan fired. For those of you who watched our game against the Eagles, none can forget how Andy Reid barked orders and organized his decimated defense (injury-plagued), ultimately leading his team to victory. If anything, the Eagles have consistently been strong on both sides of the ball over the years during Andy's reign. As a head coach, I do not want Gruden or Shanahan, just as I would not want Brian Billick (who on the opposite end of the spectrum fielded a strong defense but never had a good offense). But I cannot stress this point enough: it does not matter how good the future QB does in SF if our defense consistently fails, because Harbaugh will ultimately lose his job. I do not know how good Vic Fangio is compared to Manusky, or if Harbaugh possesses any ability to overcome any deficiencies of the former, all I care about is if we can get a QB, whether rookie or veteran, who can be coached to perform adequately so that the 49ers can compete for the playoffs year in and year out, as our defense holds its own.

I am one of those people who believes that the only player who has physical talent worth a number #1 pick is Cam Newton (who will not fall to us), and would rather spend our first two picks on fixing our defense, with players like Peterson, Prince, and Miller. There will be a run on QBs so that anyone we take in late 1st or 2nd round will be a reach. If Harbaugh really wants a QB, I see him taking one early or later in the draft, none in between. With the 7th overall pick he is in position to select the best, and with 12 picks in total he has enough selections to get a diamond in the rough. But as said before, anything in the late-1st to 2nd round range will just be reaching for a QB when we could simply select a defensive player who is being overlooked.

I do not advocate being cute and trading back while waiting for our QB in the middle of the 1st. I rather have Vince Wilfork than Rashaun Woods.

Mike Holgrem also developed Aaron Brooks and Mark Brunell who went on to lead other teams to playoff seasons but were stuck as Brett Favre's back-ups.
Originally posted by ace49ers:
Didnt Harbaugh mention in an interview that he wasnt in the drafting process side of things? That Baalke would be the main cog. Harbaugh could input but it all came down to Baalke.

It's the same situation Green Bay has with McCarthy/Thompson, 50/50 (in which the coach has to have a good relationship with the GM), cause both share an influential role; but when the trigger is pulled Baalke is the one making the phone call on draft day.
Originally posted by SnakePlissken:
Originally posted by ace49ers:
Didnt Harbaugh mention in an interview that he wasnt in the drafting process side of things? That Baalke would be the main cog. Harbaugh could input but it all came down to Baalke.

It's the same situation Green Bay has with McCarthy/Thompson, 50/50 (in which the coach has to have a good relationship with the GM), cause both share an influential role; but when the trigger is pulled Baalke is the one making the phone call on draft day.

im willing to bet harbaugh has a 90/10 split when it comes to picking his QB
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We'll find out soon...it's premature to feel that way to be honest. We don't know anything about Harbaugh's drafting skills. Baalke has had 1 year exp. so too early to judge him too.
Originally posted by 49ersMyLife:
We'll find out soon...it's premature to feel that way to be honest. We don't know anything about Harbaugh's drafting skills. Baalke has had 1 year exp. so too early to judge him too.

I agree, although, Balkee worries me, his trade last year to move up two spots was pure crap and unnecessary. I hope that if Patrick Peterson is available at 7 we pull the trigger, if not I would not mind a trade back in order to add picks and move back up in round 2 and grab a QB.
Originally posted by boriken_9er:
Originally posted by 49ersMyLife:
We'll find out soon...it's premature to feel that way to be honest. We don't know anything about Harbaugh's drafting skills. Baalke has had 1 year exp. so too early to judge him too.

I agree, although, Balkee worries me, his trade last year to move up two spots was pure crap and unnecessary. I hope that if Patrick Peterson is available at 7 we pull the trigger, if not I would not mind a trade back in order to add picks and move back up in round 2 and grab a QB.

It also worries me that Baalke and Harbaugh are so young and that Baalke may have made the trade last year because someone faked him out. There is a lot of game playing in the NFL draft process and Walsh was a victim and a victimizer at times. I hope Baalke can be as crafty, but doubt it. Hope they quietly go after players they can agree on, with the number of picks they have it should be a good draft...although 6th and 7th rounders don't excite me much.
Originally posted by YungAce:
i'm starting to feel like harbaugh will make many questionable picks...

i knew it! LOL
As much as I would like to say yes and put all trust in our new HC, the jury is still out on him as far as how he can manage a NFL team. Seeing is believing.
Baalke to Harbaugh > We need a new QB

Harbaugh to Baalke > Good idea...just don't pick anyone in the first 3 rounds..there's no one there worth the pick. There's a couple guys down deep that I might be able to coach into something though...other than that, let's look at FA cuz I don't see anything better than Alex.


Baalke slams phone.


Next day Baalke says something nice about Alex Smith and extending a peace offering.
Harbaugh's not trying to find a starter, he is just trying to buy time till he can get a shot at Andrew Luck next draft. And when he finds out if the possibilty is gone he will find his next QB.