This week figures to be a big one for the 49ers as they try to formulate their strategy for the NFL draft that begins Thursday, April 28.
The top two quarterback prospects in the draft, North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz and Cal’s Jared Goff, are scheduled to visit the 49ers in Santa Clara this week, according to a report by Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee. Goff is set to visit on Wednesday, with Wentz likely to visit Thursday.
The 49ers have the seventh pick in the first round, and one, if not both, of the quarterbacks is expected to be gone by the time San Francisco will make its pick, so the speculation has been that the Niners want to get as much information as possible on Wentz and Goff in case they want to trade up in the first round. Some believe the 49ers may trade up to get the Tennessee Titans’ No. 1 overall choice to get either Wentz or Goff, because the Browns at No. 2 are likely to take a quarterback.
Barrows noted, too, that the 49ers already have had plenty of scouting time with each. The 49ers were present for Goff’s pro day at Cal on March 18, as well as another throwing session in March, and were in North Dakota to scout Wentz in a recent workout.
The Niners also attended a recent workout by Memphis quarterback Paxton Lynch and are scheduled to host Michigan State quarterback Connor Cook this week, according to Dan Parr of NFL.com. Most scouts rate Wentz and Goff as the top two QBs in the draft, followed by Lynch and Cook.
Cook has been a player that some believe the 49ers like a lot. The Niners scouted Cook at his pro day in Michigan recently, and some analysts believe the 49ers’ best strategy may be to use their No. 1 pick to strengthen another area on the roster and then go for Cook in the second round – if he’s still available.
With 12 picks in his pocket, general manager Trent Baalke should be able to move up and down in the draft to select a quarterback (such as Cook or Lynch) that he likes in Round 2. Dak Prescott of Mississippi State is another quarterback that has been linked to the 49ers as a possible second- or third-round choice.
But, if the 49ers are set on choosing between Wentz and Goff and are willing to trade up to get the one they want, their multiple scouting sessions with each make sense.
Wrote Barrows: “The 49ers’ mulitiple meetings and throwing sessions with Goff and Wentz are not surprising. That was the routine in 2005, when they had the No. 1 overall pick and had to decide between Cal’s Aaron Rodgers and Utah’s Alex Smith.”
Back then, of course, the 49ers went for Smith, who struggled for several years under multiple coaches and schemes until he found success under Jim Harbaugh.