When he was evaluating the quarterbacks from the 2014 draft class, Kyle Shanahan grew fond of Jimmy Garoppolo.
Shanahan, then the offensive coordinator with the Cleveland Browns, placed a high grade on Garoppolo. In fact, Shanahan said his top two quarterbacks in that draft were Derek Carr and Garoppolo.
Instead, the Browns selected Johnny Manziel with the No. 22 overall pick. Less than a year later, Shanahan provided then-coach Mike Pettine with 32 reasons why he wanted out of his contract. The Browns let Shanahan leave.
More than three years later, Shanahan will get a chance to coach Garoppolo after the 49ers acquired the New England Patriots’ backup quarterback in a trade for a second-round draft pick.
The 49ers picked up their first “win” of the regular season on Monday – one day after a franchise-worst eighth consecutive loss to open the season.
The club apparently has its quarterback of the future. Now, the club can consider all their options in the offseason, including trading back in the first round to stockpile more draft picks to fill other areas of need.
In the week leading up to the Super Bowl, Shanahan spoke glowingly of Garoppolo. Shanahan was the Atlanta Falcons’ offensive coordinator. Garoppolo was Tom Brady’s backup with the Patriots.
“He was a very good thrower,” Shanahan said of Garoppolo. “Tough guy, kept his eyes down the field, could get rid of the ball fast. Really liked the person. Had a chance to go out to dinner with him and stuff. He played at Eastern Illinois, and it was a different type of offense where you can’t always evaluate with how quick they get rid of the ball. But I really thought he was a very intelligent, tough player with a good throwing motion.”
Garoppolo, who turns 26 in November, has not played a snap for the Patriots this season. Last season he started two games, filling in for Brady during his suspension. Garoppolo completed 43 of 63 pass attempts (68.3 percent) for 502 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions.
Garoppolo is scheduled to be a free agent at the end of the season. The 49ers can retain with a lucrative contract extension or tagging him as their franchise player while trying to work out a long-term contract.
Brian Hoyer played his way out of the 49ers' starting lineup and off the roster in the 49ers' first six games of the season. Hoyer was expected to be just a placeholder for the next 49ers' quarterback.
Now, rookie C.J. Beathard is the bridge quarterback until Garoppolo is ready to take over as the permanent starter.