ESPN Pundits Like the 49ers Chances Next Year

By Sajid Farooq
|  Tuesday, Feb 8, 2011  |  Updated 12:48 PM PDT
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SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JANUARY 07: Jim Harbaugh speaks at a press conference where he was introduced as the new San Francisco 49ers head coach at the Palace Hotel on January 7, 2011 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

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Still upset about seeing Aaron Rodgers and Mike McCarthy hoist the Vince Lombardy trophy 49ers' fans? Buck up. There's hope.

The Vegas odds makers may not like your team's chances to reach next year's Super Bowl but a couple of national pundits really like the San Francisco 49ers chances, with a caveat or two of course.

ESPN NFL commentator and former head coach Herm Edwards joined radio host Colin Cowherd to wrap up the NFL season Tuesday morning.

Cowheard asked Edwards to pick a team for next season that could be a dark horse to go deep into the post season, similar to what Green Bay was at the start of the season.

Both men picked San Francisco to do well, with Edwards going a step further saying he thought the 49ers could have been much better this year if they had one thing: a quarterback.

Why does it matter what a washed out NFL coach and a loud mouth ESPN host have to say about the 49ers? Not much but they do offer a reason for 49ers' fans to have hope.

First the team brought in someone in Jim Harbaugh who has a proven track record of developing quarterbacks, including Andrew Luck, who would have been the consensus No. 1 pick in this year's draft if he had left Stanford early.

While Harbaugh will have his challenges landing a franchise quarterback this off season -- namely a potential lock out that could freeze all trades and the free agency period and a weak draft pool -- he has options.

But perhaps the biggest factor for optimism in San Francisco is what the two commentators pointed to as perhaps the biggest reason the 49ers could be a trendy pick next off season.

The team plays in the terrible NFC West, which was the first division since the league shifted to a 16 game schedule to send a sub 500 team to the playoffs. And that team might lose its starting quarterback this off season.

Of course the 49ers have been a trendy preseason pick before and 49ers' fans know how that turned out.

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