49ers turn attention to backup QB job

49ers turn attention to backup QB job
February 28, 2013, 9:15 am
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Russ Lande says Matt Scott helped himself with his performance at the NFL scouting combine. (AP)

The 49ers are in the market for a backup quarterback with Alex Smith's scheduled departure on March 12 to take over as the Kansas City Chiefs' starter.

And Scott Tolzien, the third-stringer each of his first two seasons, should not expect to win the job without earning it through competition.

[RELATED: Photo gallery --  Tracing Alex Smith's career]

The free-agent market does not appear to have many answers. Veterans Josh Johnson and Josh McCown will be available. Johnson was among the 49ers' final cuts last summer. McCown did not make the club coming out of camp in 2011.

The 49ers currently have 15 draft picks, and they can be expected to use at least one of those selections on a quarterback in the mid or late rounds.

Russ Lande, director of scouting for National Football Post, is high on Matt Scott (Arizona) for the 49ers as a fourth- or fifth-round selection. The 49ers expect to have a compensatory selection at the end of the third or fourth round.

"He's an underrated athlete who has a knack for making plays when plays break down," Lande said of Scott (6-foot-2, 213 pounds). "He has a lot of traits that you're looking for. He was seen as borderline draftable before the combine, and he really helped himself there."

E.J. Manuel (Florida State) would be a good fit, Lande said, but he does not believe the 49ers would use a second-round pick -- what it might take for the 49ers to get Manuel -- for a quarterback projected as a long-term backup to Colin Kaepernick. Manuel is 6-4 5/8, 237 pounds. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.65 seconds.

Another quarterback would could be intriguing for the 49ers as a project is Collin Klein of Kansas State. Klein, who finished third in the Heisman Trophy balloting, threw for 29 touchdowns and rushed for more than 2,000 yards in his final two college seasons.

"He has intangibles up the wazzoo," Lande said. "A team is going to need some times to change his mechanics and turn him into an NFL passer, but he has size, athleticism and a nice touch on the deep ball."

Two other low-on-the-radar quarterback prospects who could get some attention from the 49ers, according to another source, are MarQueis Gray (Minnesota) and Jordan Rodgers (Vanderbilt).

Gray, who spent most of his college career moving from quarterback to wide receiver, could get drafted on athletic ability alone. Gray (6-foot-3 1/4, 240) possesses a "cannon for an arm" and has decent accuracy, the source said. Rodgers, the brother of Green Bay star Aaron Rodgers, is not likely to get drafted. He was not invited to the combine, but he is athletic and is very bright.

Veteran quarterbacks
(Unrestricted free agents)
Derek Anderson, Carolina
Charlie Batch, Pittsburgh
Jason Campbell, Chicago
David Carr, N.Y. Giants
Kellen Clemens, St. Louis
Chase Daniel, New Orleans
Joe Flacco, Baltimore
Bruce Gradkowski, Cincinnati
Rex Grossman, Washington
Brian Hoyer, Arizona
Tarvaris Jackson, Buffalo
Josh Johnson, Cleveland
Byron Leftwich, Pittsburgh
Matt Leinart, Oakland
Josh McCown, Chicago
Luke McCown, Atlanta
Matt Moore, Miami
Jordan Palmer, Jacksonville
Brady Quinn, Kansas City
Drew Stanton, Indianapolis
Tyler Thigpen, Buffalo.

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The 49ers "are not inclined to pursue Darrelle Revis at this time," a source told ESPN's Chris Mortensen. General manager Trent Baalke definitely has the draft picks available should he choose to change his mind.

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The 49ers re-signed wide receiver Joe Hastings, who spent most of 2011 on the team's practice squad. He was on the 53-man roster for the playoffs. After sustaining a hamstring strain in training camp last summer, Hastings was released.

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