The new coach of the 49ers wants to find a quarterback who will “live and die football.” And he’s not sure yet if the 2017 draft class has one.
PHOENIX — The San Francisco 49ers need to find a franchise quarterback. It might not happen this offseason or even in 2018, but Kyle Shanahan knows that, at some point, the team needs to find the building block it can’t rebuild without.
Brian Hoyer, 31, and Matt Barkley, 26, are the only two quarterbacks on the 49ers’ roster and neither of them fits the bill. It’s entirely possible, if not likely, that Hoyer will be the team’s starter in 2017, but all eyes will be on the NFL draft. With the No. 2 pick, San Francisco will essentially have its choice of every player in the class not named Myles Garrett.
“It feels good to be in a situation where we do have the second pick of the draft. It’s one that I hope to not be in again, but it’s nice coming in and having a lot of options,” Shanahan said at the NFL’s annual meeting Wednesday. “We want to do whatever gives us the best chance as an organization and that could be anything. We could trade and grab more people, and if not, we’re going to get a good player with the second pick in the draft, and regardless of what position that is, we have to get the best player available.”
Only a handful of mock drafts believe that player will be a quarterback. It’s not for a lack of need by San Francisco, but there’s a general sense that there may not be a passer who merits a top 10 selection, let alone the No. 2 pick.
Shanahan wouldn’t say Wednesday if he believes there’s a quarterback worthy of such an early and valuable pick, and also wouldn’t say if he felt there was even one ready to play right away. He did, however, preach the importance of patience when searching for a signal caller to build around.
“No one can guarantee anything. Everyone is just looking for that franchise quarterback and people have found them with the first pick of the draft and people have found them in the sixth round,” Shanahan said. “Just because he’s the first guy taken doesn’t mean he’s the going to be the best guy. Sometimes the last guy can be the best guy, you never know.”
What is for sure is that the 49ers will be adding more quarterbacks. With just two on the roster, Shanahan made it clear that the team will head into camp with more options and could add more veterans later in the offseason, depending on the team’s haul in the draft.
If the 49ers do elect to take a quarterback in the first round, the frontrunner is North Carolina’s Mitchell Trubisky, despite the fact that he had just 13 starts in his college career.
“Of course the more games that are out there, the more coaches like because there’s more to study, but that’s not [Trubisky’s] fault,” Shanahan said. “He can only control what he can control and in the opportunities that he got, he played at a really high level. That’s why he’s in this discussion.”
There are rumors that Kirk Cousins could be the eventual quarterback of the 49ers and Shanahan was even asked about Johnny Manziel, whom he worked with during his 2014 season as the offensive coordinator of the Cleveland Browns.
Shanahan enjoyed working with Johnny Manziel the short time they were together – always working when in the bldg – accountable.
— Jennifer Lee Chan (@jenniferleechan) March 29, 2017
But no matter who the 49ers peg as the future of the organization, Shanahan already knows exactly the type of personality he’s looking for.
“You have to live and die football,” Shanahan said. “Usually the guys who are successful are those guys who are obsessed with the game and it’s not just the coach telling them exactly what to do — it’s that they can’t enough of it and they want more and they live for it.”
He doesn’t know yet if that quarterback is in the 2017 NFL Draft, but Shanahan is certainly looking.