The 49ers’ rebuilding project gained its most important piece with the late-October trade that delivered quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo from New England, former 49ers coach Steve Mariucci said.
Appearing on The 49ers Insider Podcast, Mariucci, now an analyst with the NFL Network, said the team is in a better position for next season than it would have been if a top rookie -- such as USC's Sam Darnold, UCLA's Josh Rosen, Wyoming's Josh Allen or Oklahoma's Baker Mayfield -- were to be drafted as the quarterback of the future.
“There’s clarity with at least one position in the building,” Mariucci said, “and that’s not to say C.J. Beathard doesn’t have a career in the National Football League. I believe he does. But, right now, it looks like Jimmy Garoppolo is the guy. And he’s a good guy. And he’s a worker. And he’s ready to do this.”
With back-to-back victories since Garoppolo took over the starting job from Beathard, the 49ers are currently in the No. 3 position in the draft. The 49ers can look to fill other positions now that quarterback is no longer a priority.
“With Jimmy Garoppolo, he’s so much further along than those young kids, having sat behind Tom Brady in New England and throwing the ball so much at Eastern Illinois,” Mariucci said. “He comes further along than any rookie ever will. And so that’s why it was such a good, solid move.”
Garoppolo has completed 66.7 percent of his pass attempts, averaged 9.0 yards per attempt with two touchdowns and two interceptions and a 92.7 passer rating since joining the 49ers.
“And the style of quarterback he is is a good fit for Kyle Shanahan’s offense,” Mariucci said. “You can move him around with some play-action, keeps and movements. He can extend plays with his legs. He’s not the quite the same athlete as Russell Wilson, but he’s still very mobile. He can do most everything.
“I just like the whole thing. It makes a lot of sense. Now, they can build their team around him.”