49ers

Mariucci: Now, 49ers can build around Garoppolo

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USATSI

Mariucci: Now, 49ers can build around Garoppolo

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.”

Why Greg Cosell believes Jimmy Garoppolo needs work on his 'quarterback feet'

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USATSI

Why Greg Cosell believes Jimmy Garoppolo needs work on his 'quarterback feet'

Greg Cosell, a senior producer at NFL Films, believes 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo “has a chance to be a top-level quarterback.” But there remains room for improvement from the player the 49ers awarded a franchise-record contract in the offseason.

Garoppolo has a quick release and can throw at a number of different arm angles to avoid oncoming pass-rushers. And while his accuracy underneath was unquestioned during his 5-0 run as the 49ers’ starter last season, most of the time, his deep throws did not reach the target.

Garoppolo completed just 4 of 16 attempts to targets 20 yards or more down the field last season for 134 yards and no touchdowns with no interceptions, according to Pro Football Focus.

[RELATED: Greg Cosell: Kyle Shanahan does one thing 'better than any coach in the NFL']

During the offseason program, Garoppolo appeared to struggle on his deep throws, too. Cosell, a guest on the 49ers Insider Podcast, spoke about Garoppolo’s mechanics.

“Because he has very quick feet, I think people just assume he has great feet all the time when he delivers the ball,” Cosell said. “There’s a difference between having quick, athletic feet and having really good quarterback feet. And I think he needs to work on the quarterback feet part.

“I think guys who have that kind of snap delivery, sometimes they don’t step exactly to their throw and they throw a little bit off-balance, and that could really impact your accuracy to a significant degree. So my guess is those are the kinds of things they’ve worked on. Those are tweaks. I don’t think it will prevent him from being a really good player.”

Garoppolo appeared in six games with five starts last season after the 49ers acquired him for a second-round draft pick in a trade with the New England Patriots. Garoppolo completed 120 of 178 pass attempts (67.4 percent) for 1,580 yards and seven touchdowns with five interceptions.

Cosell said it is important for all quarterbacks to use consistent mechanics when making throws from a clean pocket.

“Think of a major league pitcher,” Cosell said. “They theoretically should throw the ball the same way every time. So should a quarterback unless the defense dictates otherwise. If the defense doesn’t dictate otherwise, the throws should look the same.”

Greg Cosell: Kyle Shanahan does one thing 'better than any coach in the NFL'

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AP

Greg Cosell: Kyle Shanahan does one thing 'better than any coach in the NFL'

There is a lot of hope surrounding the 49ers entering the 2018 season.

Much of that is because of Jimmy Garoppolo.

Much of that also is because of Kyle Shanahan.

"Kyle is one of the most innovative and creative offensive minds in football," cornerback Richard Sherman said back in mid-March after he signed with the 49ers.

On the most recent episode of the 49ers Insider Podcast with Matt Maiocco, NFL Films senior producer Greg Cosell offered some high praise for San Francisco's head coach.

"When you look at a Kyle Shanahan offense, I think the thing that stands out the most -- that he does better than any coach in the NFL -- is the fusion between the run game and the pass game," Cosell said. "The run game and the pass game with their play-action concepts look exactly the same.

"And it's very, very difficult for defenses to differentiate the two very often until it's too late. And when you have a quarterback like Garoppolo -- who tends to be a quick decision-maker, a quick processor, he has a very quick compact delivery and then the ball gets out -- I think that just makes it even more difficult."

The 49ers won all five of Garoppolo's starts last season and put up 26, 25, 44 and 34 points in the last four games, respectively. Garoppolo was rewarded with a five-year, $137.5 million deal ($74.1 million guaranteed) -- which drastically increases the expectations.

Garoppolo and Shanahan could become one of the top head coach-quarterback duos for many years.

"When you talk to defensive coaches around the league, they will talk about Kyle Shanahan as one of the two or three of the best in the league when it comes to offensive design and game planning," Cosell added.