Nick Mullens put on a show during his first career NFL start last season. Replacing an injured C.J. Beathard, who himself was playing because starter Jimmy Garoppolo suffered a season-ending ACL injury, Mullens proceeded to pick apart the Oakland Raiders defense while completing 16-of-22 passes for 262 yards with three touchdowns and a passer rating of 151.9 in a 34-3 rout.

It was a thrilling victory — just the second of the season — for the Niner Faithful in what was the final Battle of the Bay.

Mullens went on to lead the San Francisco 49ers to two more victories over the next seven games and proved to everyone else what he had known for some time — he can be a successful NFL quarterback. He finished the season having completed 176-of-274 attempts (64.2 percent) for 2,277 yards with 13 touchdowns and 10 interceptions through his eight starts.

Mullens' passing yard total through his first eight games ranks as the fourth-most in the NFL since 1970. He became the first 49ers quarterback to throw for 220-or-more yards in eight consecutive games since Joe Montana did so in nine straight games from December 9, 1985, to December 7, 1986.

On Monday, Mullens will open organized team activities (OTAs) in a battle for the backup quarterback job with the man he replaced last season, Beathard. Last year's performance won't mean anything when that competition kicks off. The two will be on equal footing until one proves himself better than the other.

Garoppolo will be eased back into practice as he continues to rehab. He will throw and get some non-contact work while the bulk of the snaps go to Mullens and Beathard.

Head coach Kyle Shanahan said in March that he didn't know which quarterback would get the first reps when OTAs begin.

"We'll flip a coin the first day," Shanahan said.

Mullens welcomes the offseason competition and another opportunity to prove himself.

"It doesn't matter what you did in the past," Mullens told Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle this week. "On the door it says, 'What's Important Now.' And that's what I've been focusing on and will continue to do every single day. What's important now: I want to be best at QB drills we did with the coaches today. I embrace it. Competition brings out the best in people."

Beathard and Mullens entered the NFL during the same offseason. The 49ers made the former a third-round pick out of Iowa while the latter was signed as an undrafted free agent out of Southern Miss. Experts questioned Mullens' arm strength coming out of college.

"I don't worry about what I can and can't do," Mullens said. "I feel like I proved that I'm pretty good and can play in this league."

Click here to read Branch's entire feature on Mullens which includes several more quotes from the quarterback.

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