Mike Sando, formerly of ESPN and now with The Athletic, released the results of his sixth annual Quarterback Tiers survey. He surveyed 55 (up from 50 last year) NFL coaches and executives and used the results to place all veteran starting quarterbacks into one of five tiers.

With high expectations surrounding the team last year, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo found himself in Tier 2 at the time. His stock has dropped following a season-ending ACL injury last season. The hope was that Garoppolo would gain his first full-season of experience last year and live up to the five-year deal signed during that offseason.

Tier 2 is reserved for quarterbacks who can carry their teams sometimes but not as consistently as those within Tier 1, according to Sando. These quarterbacks have a hole or two in their games.

Garoppolo now finds himself within Tier 3, reserved for quarterbacks who are legitimate starters but need a heavier running game and/or defense to win, says Sando. The 49ers quarterback ranked No. 19 overall (down from No. 13 last year) among the 32 quarterbacks on the list.

"Garoppolo's latest injury knocked him from the bottom of the second tier deep into the third," writes Sando. "The voters who liked his upside one year ago still liked his upside, but they weren't as willing to bet on it until Garoppolo proved he had staying power."

Garoppolo has just 10 starts' worth of NFL experience under his belt and was sidelined for the season during Week 3 last year. The 49ers went on to finish the season with just four victories. Experts who have been high on Garoppolo's potential were hoping to get their first extended look at the quarterback after he had a full offseason studying head coach Kyle Shanahan's playbook.


"I just think he's got everything if he can stay healthy," one unnamed NFL general manager told Sando. "It sounds like he will have a better cast this year, and he's got the coach."

Another NFL executive spoke of Garoppolo's leadership and presence, and noticed that 49ers players seemed more confident with the quarterback on the field.

A quarterbacks coach noted that Garoppolo's injury doesn't necessarily mean he is worse, despite his lower ranking. A fully healthy and complete season should boost Garoppolo's stock.

"His skills are the same," he told Sando. "He needs to stay healthy and all those things will show."

Garoppolo now finds himself in the same tier as quarterbacks like Kirk Cousins of the Minnesota Vikings and Dak Prescott of the Dallas Cowboys.

Around the NFC West, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson found himself in Tier 1 while Jared Goff of the Los Angeles Rams landed in Tier 2. Both are improvements over 2018's ranking. Wilson himself in Tier 2 last year while Goff was a Tier 3 quarterback.

Garoppolo completed 53-of-89 attempts (59.6 percent) for 718 yards with five touchdowns and three interceptions through three starts with the 49ers last year. Players report to training camp on Friday.