The 49ers spent their entire offseason defending quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo after he led them all the way to Super Bowl LIV in what was his first full season as a starter in the NFL.
Despite entertaining the idea of signing Tom Brady, general manager John Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan have every reason to believe in Garoppolo as their franchise QB. They also have every reason to believe in his backup.
Nick Mullens quickly has gone from going undrafted out of Southern Miss to one of the best backup quarterbacks in all of football. In fact, Pro Football Focus ranks Mullens as the sixth-best backup QB in the league right now. He sits behind just Jameis Winston, Marcus Mariota, Andy Dalton, Mitchell Trubisky and Matt Schaub.
Mullens, 25, didn't attempt a single pass last season for the 49ers. But in 2018, he started eight games as Garoppolo went down with a torn ACL and Mullens beat C.J. Beathard for the starting job. And Mullens surprised many with his play.
He went 3-5 as a starter for a 49ers team that only won four games all season. Mullens completed 64.2 percent of his attempts and finished the season with 2,277 passing yards, 13 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.
But Shanahan won't hand him the backup job.
“My rankings of our quarterbacks for you are they're both tied at two,” Shanahan said after the 49ers’ practice Friday inside Levi’s Stadium.
Shanahan is high on both Mullens and Beathard, who he helped select in the third round of the 2017 NFL Draft. It's clear, however, this should be Mullens' job to lose and PFF agrees.