Thursday, March 24, 2011

2011 NFL Draft: Jake Locker, Ryan Mallett Could Fit With the 49ers

The San Francisco 49ers have the seventh pick in the 2011 NFL Draft and if Todd McShay's draft tools are correct on each team's needs, new head coach Jim Harbaugh could have his pick among a list of talented quarterbacks.

Assuming Auburn's Cam Newton and Missouri's Blaine Gabbert are off the board by the time the seventh pick rolls around, there are two quarterbacks the 49ers would be all too happy to be able to land.
Washington's Jake Locker and Arkansas' Ryan Mallett.

Locker is already familiar with the bay area, having to travel to Berkley to take on Cal as a member of the PAC-12 conference. At this point, 49er fans would love to hear names other than former overall number one picks Alex Smith and David Carr.

Mallett seems to be working himself up the draft board and there are some who believe he could be the overall number one pick in the draft despite all the talk surrounding Gabbert and Newton.

We know Harbaugh is the prototypical coach quarterbacks would love to play for. He's the kind of guy who makes you want to do everything you can to be prepared from game to game. Just ask the quarterback he's coached for the past few seasons at Stanford, Andrew Luck. Another quarterback who most thought would be the number one overall in this year's draft until Luck decided to return to school.

Which one of these quarterbacks would fit in Harbaugh's system? Which of these young players could come in and make an immediate impact or would either Locker or Mallett see any time at all their rookie seasons?

Those are questions that may be unanswered for now, but the speculation is why we can have fun with it.

If I'm the 49ers, which I'm not, but if I were the guy I want is the now former Arkansas Razorback. Mallett is a big, strong athlete listed at 6'6" and 253 pounds. A guy who's going to stand tall in the pocket and be able to thrive in the west coast system, assuming that's the direction Harbaugh is going.

Nothing against Locker but he might have been better off coming out after his junior season especially after his abysmal senior season. I'm sure he's wondering if he would have been the number one overall pick in last year's draft.

Mallett would come in with a talented corps of receivers, a few of them still in their first few years in the league including former Texas Tech standout Michael Crabtree along with former Ohio State star Ted Ginn Jr.

The 49ers haven't had any luck with their former first round pick at quarterback, Alex Smith. He's currently a free agent and though Harbaugh has had conversations with the former Utah Utes star, it's time for the team by the bay to go in another direction.

I'd would suggest giving David Carr a chance to prove he can be a leader but it's been made clear by members of the media who cover the team as well as fans they don't want the former number one overall pick of the Houston Texans as their new quarterback.

If this team and this franchise want the best possible pick to usher in a brand new era in San Francisco, Ryan Mallett would be the smart pick.

Things might change if the Carolina Panthers get involved and they end up taking a quarterback with the number one overall pick.

If that happens, there's no guarantee Mallett will still be available but if things play out the way some expect them to, the former Arkansas quarterback would make the new 49ers' head coach smile from ear to ear.

Follow Todd Kaufmann @T_Kaufmann and National Football Authority @NFAuthority on Twitter

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