On March 26th, the Dolphins shook up the upcoming NFL draft and Jimmy Garoppolo by trading the third overall pick to the 49ers.
In trading up to the third overall pick, it’s a foregone conclusion the 49ers are going to draft Jimmy Garoppolo’s replacement. Trading away three first-round picks shows the desperation that the organization must feel. In three full seasons with the 49ers, Jimmy Garoppolo has completed a 16 game schedule just once in 2019. In 2018, he suffered a season-ending injury in game three; while in 2020, he played in just six total games. Now approaching age 30, it appears the 49ers’ patience with Jimmy Garoppolo has worn out.
The West Coast offense that the 49ers run has helped many quarterbacks throughout NFL history shine on Sundays. But it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that head coach Kyle Shanahan doesn’t trust Jimmy G. In his one healthy year, he ended the regular season 19th in pass attempts but was still top 10 in turnovers. In the NFC Championship game, Jimmy G couldn’t have been more of a non-factor. He threw just eight times, while the team rushed for 286 yards and four touchdowns on 38 carries.
Many are drawing comparisons to Josh Rosen and the Cardinals or Jared Goff with the Rams. But in looking at the big picture, Jimmy Garoppolo’s situation draws more parallels to Alex Smith and the Chiefs.
Jimmy G Is Alex Smith
When the Chiefs traded up to take Patrick Mahomes, the writing was on the wall for Alex Smith. He would be the starter for the upcoming season but would soon be looking for a new team. Under Alex Smith, the Chiefs had a ceiling. While a good team during the regular season, due to their aging quarterback’s inabilities, they weren’t a great playoff team. Given the Chiefs’ offensive skill players, they didn’t want to waste their window of opportunity. So the Chiefs drafted a prospect who they deemed to have high-upside.
As we’ve now seen, the Chiefs made a wise decision. Mahomes isn’t just great, he’s the best quarterback in the NFL.
As it pertains to the 49ers, they’re in a similar situation with Jimmy Garoppolo. Not only is Jimmy G limited as a thrower, but as the NFL moves in favor of the mobile quarterback, he looks more and more like a dinosaur – a wounded one at that. And given the 49ers’ defense and offensive skill pieces, the last thing they want to do is waste their Super Bowl-caliber roster. So it makes sense that they’d aim to draft a more dynamic player at the position.
The only question remaining is *WHO* will the 49ers elect to draft.
Plain and simple, Kyle Shanahan needs a better, healthier quarterback to run his system. That’s something he’s now hoping to get with the third overall pick. We all know the Jaguars are taking Trevor Lawrence, so the only wild-card is the Jets. The current Jets regime seems to love Sam Darnold, but recent reports indicate that they’re also intrigued by Zach Wilson. Even if the Jets elected to draft Wilson, the 49ers would still have their choice of Justin Fields, Trey Lance, or National Champion Mac Jones.
Realistically, the 49ers would like to sit their rookie and start him in his second year, especially if they draft the inexperienced Trey Lance. However, Jimmy Garoppolo’s injury history could be a blessing in disguise. History dictates that at some point in time, Jimmy G is going to get hurt and miss significant time. So, in the event that they draft a more experienced quarterback like Justin Fields, he could wind up starting sooner than later. But either way, the Jimmy Garoppolo era in San Fransisco is coming to an end very soon.