Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

PFF lists 49ers’ Jimmy Garoppolo at No. 22 in recent QB ranking

Jul 13, 2021 at 7:15 AM--

Bruce Gradkowski of Pro Football Focus went through the exercise of ranking each of the 32 projected NFL starting quarterbacks ahead of the 2021 season. The two starting quarterbacks from Super Bowl LV — Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs and Tom Brady of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers — came in at Nos. 1 and 2.

You have to scroll all the way down to No. 22 to find the San Francisco 49ers' projected Week 1 starter — Jimmy Garoppolo. Much of that has to do with the veteran quarterback's track record regarding injuries rather than his ability to win football games. Garoppolo, after all, is 24-9 (including playoffs) as a starter since being traded to San Francisco in 2017. However, the quarterback has also missed 23 games over the past three seasons, including being sidelined for 10 games in 2020.

San Francisco traded up to select quarterback Trey Lance at No. 3 overall in a move to secure its future.

"Injuries have become the story for Garoppolo, as he has started less than 50% of the 49ers' games since the beginning of the 2018 season," wrote Gradkowski. "He did manage to lead the Niners to a Super Bowl appearance the year he came back from his torn ACL. Things are different now, as he has Trey Lance waiting in the wings in case he is either injured or shows a stretch of inconsistency.

"Garoppolo has shown he's capable of executing Shanahan's offense at a high level, but he tends to make a few questionable decisions or throws per game. Lance did a phenomenal job of protecting the football in college. It will be interesting to see how this plays out — expect Garoppolo to have a good year even under such pressure."

Maybe Garoppolo is pushed by the rookie waiting in the wings and enjoys a good season in 2021. That could create an interesting situation for San Francisco's decision-makers moving forward.

While there is competition among the quarterbacks, the addition of Lance hasn't seemed to create any friction in the locker room. On the contrary, the team, including Garoppolo, has welcomed the young player with open arms.

"I know there was a story that came out that Jimmy Garoppolo was one of the first guys to text Trey Lance (after the QB was drafted)," tight end George Kittle shared last month. "That's just the type of guy that Jimmy is. He's not going to say away from adversity, shy away from a draft pick. He has a fire lit under him, and he's excited to roll."

Where did the other NFC West quarterbacks rank? Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks came in at No. 4. Matthew Stafford of the Los Angeles Rams sits at No. 11. Kyler Murray of the Arizona Cardinals is listed at No. 17. That makes Garoppolo the lowest-ranked quarterback within the division.

Who is the lowest-ranked quarterback overall? That would be Drew Lock of the Denver Broncos.

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