He loves the 49er
As the most beloved and ballyhooed prospect to come out of TCU since LaDainian Tomlinson, we all have a heightened sense of interest where Red will end up playing football professionally. So rather than make you all dig through the muck and mire that are sports related internet rumors, we will compile them all here, team by team, as they come along. For the sake of brevity, we will only feature team's that have scheduled an interview with Andy, look at their current QB situation and draft picks and make one of our patented hasty assessments from there. We will also give more credence to team's with picks in the 2-4 rounds because we're optimistic and can't see Dalton lasting beyond there.
Today we'll take a look at the only organization to send their head man to TCU's pro day, the San Francisco 49ers.
QB's Currently on Roster: David Carr, Alex Smith, Troy Smith.
Draft Picks: Round 1 (7); Round 2 (13); Round 3 (12); Round 4 (11,18).
Why Rooster Fits: A cursory glance at the current QB roster should spell it out pretty nicely. The fact that Jim Harbaugh himself deemed Dalton worth the trip to Fort Worth when most team's simply send a scout or assistant should make it pretty clear: San Francisco needs a QB as bad as any other team in the league and 14 is in their sights. Former first overall pick Alex Smith has been just shy of a complete bust, although Jim Harbaugh fancies himself a bit of a QB guru and will likely focus his efforts on helping Smith regain his Utah form before completely casting him off. David Carr, another first overall pick, clearly has too much mental damage left from the beatings he took while a Texan and must be in complete shock grasping the downward trajectory his career took. And Troy Smith, bless him, will never be a successful QB in the NFL.
In most of the mock drafts I have seen, Cam Newton and Blaine Gabbert are off the board by the time the 49ers pick at 7, but if one of those guys is to fall, you have to think they'll be at or near the top of their draft board. Depending on how they rate out, Dalton to SF could be completely obsolete early on Thursday night of Draft Weekend. However, assuming Newton and Gabbert are gone, I could very easily see SF giving Dalton a shot with their mid round pick in the 2nd. Dalton has really elevated his league wide perception since before the Rose Bowl and I don't think it's out of the realm of possibility that he could go this high. He's still behind Gabbert, Newton, Ryan Mallett and Jake Locker - BAFFLING!!! - but I think he's certainly on par with Christian Ponder, with Ponder rating slightly higher.
Looking at the stats, the way their passing game functioned this past season would certainly fit Dalton well as a young guy learning in the league. The leading receiver was actually TE Vernon Davis, and while clearly TCU's passing game was very TE averse, you can't discount their importance in the NFL. Davis is a major weapon in this offense and to be able to hit in on a quick route and let him do the rest is a stat boost an QB will take. This would be a great way for Dalton, who is not necessarily a great deep passer, to exploit his skills set. Also on this note, the third highest yardage receiver was RB Frank Gore, which directly plays to what AD saw at TCU. Also of note is receiver Michael Trabtree - remember him? - who hasn't exactly made the impact you might have expected based on his hold out and college reputation, but who seems to be coming into his own as a go to guy.
As much as I'd hate to see Rooster in the Bay Area playing for the team that terrified by childhood dreams, I don't think there's any question that he's one of their targets, and is probably higher on their chart than he is on most others around the league. I'm not sure how this situation will look when we bring it all together the week of the draft, but I have to imagine they'll be in the Top 3.
Why Rooster Doesn't Fit: There's really only one reason here and that is the fact that SF doesn't need a QB project - they need a starter. With Carson Palmer whining his way out of Cincinnati, I think the 49ers will make a MAJOR play for him assuming this whole CBA gets ironed out sometime in the near future. In that case, they'd have a starter and would probably keep 2/3 current guys on the roster as backups depending on their contracts which would bump AD out of the pecking order.
However, should Harbaugh decide that none of those guys are worthy of even clipboard holding duties, I suppose there are worse situations for Dalton than to sit for a few years and learn. However, do you really want AD to learn from a whiny bitch failure like Carson Palmer who is threatening to retire from his current team if they don't trade him? Palmer has been a colossal disappointment in Cincinnati given his pedigree and expectations. But, if SF did make a play for him, they'd expect him to start for at least the next 5 seasons which wouldn't give Dalton much space to shine. However, that's completely hypothetical so I can't really use this as my argument.
Truthfully, if the status quo remains, this would still not be a good situation for Andy as he would have no QB of note to learn from and would likely be forced into a starting role much sooner than preferred. This pick is going to come down to how much Harbaugh believes in a QB currently on his staff. If he thinks Alex Smith is the man, I could see him taking Dalton as insurance, which would allow him to develop and compete a couple of years down the line for a starting role. If he doesn't, then he's definitely going to go for something along the lines of the above paragraph because resting the success of your first NFL Head Coaching job on a project rookie QB isn't good for anyone's job status.