There’s no doubt Jimmy Garoppolo will be the San Francisco 49ers‘ starting quarterback, he will have some company.
With just a few days until NFL teams have to officially cut down their roster to the regular season’s 53-man requirement, the 49ers are sitting fairly pretty in terms of the quarterback position.
For one, the three options the team has all have starting experience, although Nick Mullens and C.J. Beathard have earned their nods due to injuries to Garoppolo.
While both are a distinct step down from Jimmy G, that kind of experience in the squad is truly invaluable, and the 49ers will likely keep all three for the final roster because of it.
Die-hard Niners fan with something to say? Join our community at Heavy on 49ers on Facebook!
To put it simply, Jimmy G is the guy, and there is very little room to think otherwise.
Even despite some of the valid criticisms of Garoppolo in his first full season in the NFL, the gap in performance between him and Beathard and Mullens has shown that a severely drastic dip in output will need to happen before the 49ers are better off with either of the two options.
With 3,978 passing yards and 27 touchdowns in the 2019 regular season, Garoppolo was certainly productive, but the real separator between Jimmy G and his competition is the clutch factor.
With four game-winning drives in 2019, three of which came in the back-half of the season, Garoppolo showed that he had no issue in rising to the occasion and managing and grinding out tough victories.
Mullens will forever be famous for his outstanding 49ers debut, throwing for three touchdowns and 262 passing yards in 2018’s dominant 34-3 win over the Las Vegas Raiders.
However, the remainder of his 2018 season wasn’t quite as magical, throwing 10 touchdowns and 10 interceptions in seven games and ensuring that Jimmy G would walk back into the team in 2019.
That being said, Mullens did prove that he’s got enough talent to step onto an NFL field, and with a year on the bench behind Garoppolo, one can hope that the former Southern Miss Golden Eagle has been learning and is better than his 2018 iteration.
How Mullens got his first NFL start in 2018 was because Beathard simply wasn’t showing enough on the field in the five starts the former Iowa Hawkeye tallied in that same 2018 season.
That being said, while Beathard’s 2018 finished 0-5 as a starter, Mullens went 3-5, not exactly a massive improvement, although a few wins are better than none.
Before Mullens took over the quarterback position for the remainder of the 2018 season in Week 9, Beathard had finished with 8 touchdowns, 7 interceptions and 1252 passing yards.
As mentioned previously, the simple fact of the matter is that Beathard and Mullens don’t exactly separate each other all that much. While both quarterbacks have had flashes of success, neither has shown anything that would make them an easy choice as the No. 2.
Considering that the 49ers have dealt with injury issues with Jimmy G, keeping both quarterbacks on the roster is a smart move, ensuring that they can find a guy to step into head coach Kyle Shanahan’s scheme and manage a wildly talented team.
Evan Reier is a sportswriter covering the NFL for Heavy.com and local sports for the Montana Standard in Butte, Mont. Reach out to him on Twitter at @evanreier and join our 49ers community at Heavy on 49ers on Facebook.