Quarterbacks Christian Ponder of Florida State and Andy Dalton of TCU would be good fits in the 49ers West Coast offense according to ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay.
In his Thursday pre-draft conference call, the director of college football scouting for ESPN Scouts Inc. said both players could potentially have success in Jim Harbaugh’s offense and should be considered when the 49ers pick No. 45 overall in the second-round.
McShay’s recommendation was a result of a reporter asking why so many quarterbacks were being discussed as first-round selections all of a sudden. The draft expert explained that only two signal callers stand out to him as clear-cut, first-round talents and they are Cam Newton of Auburn and Blaine Gabbert of Missouri.
But that doesn’t mean McShay doesn’t foresee them being the only quarterbacks with bright futures.
He mentioned several quarterbacks who could be successful long-term, including Ponder and Dalton. However, McShay spoke of potential risks from trading back into the first-round to acquire a quarterback. He cited the inconsistent track record of quarterbacks picked in the late first and second rounds of the draft.
McShay used the 49ers as an example of the pros and cons of trading back into the first round to select a quarterback.
“Let’s say you’re San Francisco and Cam Newton goes off the board at No. 1 and Blaine Gabbert goes off the board at No. 4, hypothetically. Now you’re sitting there thinking you might have to package picks to move up to the late first to go get a Ponder or a Dalton to fit our system. But now we’re giving up picks to move up for a quarterback who is not worthy to be a first-half of the first-round draft pick. Why is he not worthy? Historically, how many of these guys have actually succeeded in the last five picks of the first round or in the second round? When you do that, it makes you nervous.”
McShay followed up by reiterating his belief in Ponder and Dalton being successful in a West Coast scheme. He added that prospects like Ryan Mallett of Arkansas and Colin Kaepernick of Nevada would be good fits if teams were looking for a player to drive the ball downfield in the passing game. McShay also mentioned Washington’s Jake Locker as a prospect worth considering for his ability to throw outside the pocket on the move.
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