April is the unofficial start of spring, but in the NFL, it is the unofficial beginning of the ensuing season. Sure, there is free agency in February and March, and teams can shape themselves in that manner. But not every team chooses to use free agency as a means to enhance its roster. However, every team does use the draft to improve. And April might as well be called Draft Month, since the draft takes place later this month.
As a way to gear up for the stretch run, I’ll do a position-by-position analysis for the Niners. How does the depth of each position look? Should the position be addressed during the draft? These are questions I hope to answer. We’ll start right at the top today with the quarterback
Likely Starter: Alex Smith
Stiffest Competiton: Shaun Hill
Insurance: J.T. O’Sullivan, Drew Olson
Analysis: The Niners have too many other holes in the roster to draft a quarterback, especially now that they lost a pick in the upcoming draft after being found guilty of tampering.
The development of Smith is paramount to the future success for this team. He has showed that he can play at a high level in the past, so now it’s a matter of Offensive Coordinator Mike Martz raising his confidence, hopefully cleaning up his mechanics and giving him some creative ways in which to find his receivers. The last part is especially concerning when you consider Smith’s receiving options. Anyway, Smith needs development. And he needs to get healthy.
Hill is interesting. I’m not so sure that he can keep his momentum going from last season. He displayed the confidence and “thinking on his feet” ability that Niners fans want to see from Smith. At the very least, Hill proved that he is a capable backup, something that most NFL teams can’t claim to have.
Sullivan has been mentioned as a dark-horse candidate. Martz is enamored enough with Sullivan that he had the Niners sign him away from
Olson was a productive quarterback at UCLA in a great offensive conference, but his ceiling may not be high enough to warrant taking up a roster spot on a team that could easily use his spot on a needier position.
Conclusion: The Niners have no business using a draft pick on a quarterback. Their depth is sufficient and they need to focus their coaching resources on the development of the players currently on their roster.