Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports


Todd McShay: There isn’t a franchise-changing QB in the draft

Jan 9, 2017 at 3:21 PM--


Junior quarterback Mitch Trubisky declared for the 2017 NFL Draft today, foregoing his senior year at North Carolina. You may not have known his name prior to 2016, but you will hear a lot about him in 2017.

Despite his limited starting experience, many rate Trubisky as the best available quarterback in the upcoming draft, including ESPN's Mel Kiper and Todd McShay. However, that doesn't mean that either believes that there is a franchise quarterback to be had in April. "This isn't a strong quarterback class," wrote Kiper back in December.

Both have listed Trubisky, DeShone Kizer of Notre Dame, and Deshaun Watson of Clemson as their top three quarterbacks available – in that order. All three could be selected int the first round by quarterback-needy teams. One of those teams is believed to be the San Francisco 49ers.

Trubisky has already appeared within a number of mock drafts as the 49ers' selection with the second overall pick. McShay doesn't necessarily believe that picking a quarterback in this class so high is a good idea.

"This is not a great quarterback class," McShay wrote Monday morning in his listing of the top 10 available quarterbacks. "None of these guys is currently in my Top 32, and I've been saying for a while that there aren't any franchise-changers in this group. Trubisky had a great season for the Tar Heels, but I'd be wary about spending a high pick on him because of his limited starting experience."

Trubisky has moved up McShay's draft board since his earlier evaluation at the end of October. "I'll be perfectly candid: I have not studied tape on Trubisky," McShay wrote back then. "He wasn't on our radar over the summer, having thrown just 125 passes in his prior seasons, but he's the only guy in this class who I've gotten positive feedback on from scouts. With a 71.2 completion percentage and an 18-to-2 TD-INT ratio, Trubisky has had a true breakout season. He could be moving up my board soon."

In his only season as the starter for the Tar Heels, Trubisky set school records with his 3,748 yards passing, 30 touchdowns, 304 completions, 447 attempts, and 4,056 yards of total offense. That is a 68-percent completion percentage.

"If I had come back (for my senior year), I know we could've done great things," Trubisky said. "But I feel like this is my chance, so I've got to take it."

It is unknown if the 49ers' future general manager, whoever that might be, would feel differently about any available quarterback. Certainly, drafting a quarterback as high as the second overall spot would indicate a strong belief that the player is someone that you can build around. Of course, the 49ers may pursue a trade for a starting quarterback. That would allow them to focus on other areas in the draft.

New England Patriots backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is likely to be a hot commodity leading up to the draft. His name could be linked to the 49ers if the team lands Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels as their head coach.

Any new head coach will likely want to establish his quarterback of the future and they will have a clean slate to start with. Colin Kaepernick finished the season as the team's starting quarterback but is expected to opt out of the remainder of his contract and become a free agent in March. While Kaepernick has said that he plans to play in 2017, it is anywhere's guess where that might be. No other 49ers quarterback will be under contract.



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