3-Time Pro Bowl QB Refers to Time with 49ers as ‘Recipe for Disaster’

Former San Francisco 49ers QB Alex Smith

Getty Former San Francisco 49ers QB Alex Smith

The San Francisco 49ers have a bright future with current QB Brock Purdy, but it took them decades to find a proper franchise QB. The juxtaposition of Purdy being a “Mr. Irrelevant” only makes the comparison to former No. 1 overall pick Alex Smith all the more interesting.

Smith joined the 49ers as the first pick in the 2005 NFL draft and was expected to be the team’s next great QB. It didn’t work out that way, and Smith is now talking openly about how much of a struggle it was.

“And all of a sudden to be the No. 1 pick — and as a 20 year old — those were things I never dealt with. I had one college scholarship offer. I had been flying under the radar my entire life. Now, all of a sudden. [there were] huge expectations put upon me. It was a lot,” Smith said in a May 16 interview with NBC Sports Bay Area. “I felt like I had to be perfect. As anybody can imagine, you try to do anything let alone play quarterback as a rookie, that’s certainly a recipe for disaster.”

It’s clear that Smith doesn’t blame his issues on the 49ers themselves. But the spotlight was too bright in San Francisco, and that was just the beginning of Smith’s issues.

Alex Smith Deals With Several Injuries in San Francisco

When Smith refers to his rookie season as being a recipe for disaster, he’s not exaggerating. Former 49ers head coach Mike Nolan struggled mightily over his tenure. And to start things off, he went back and forth on with Smith in his rookie year.

That was partially due to Smith suffering multiple injuries, but it probably would’ve been best to just let him sit and learn. The former Niner threw 11 interceptions to 1 touchdown in 9 appearances, all while averaging 98 yards per game.

While Smith was still unimpressive the following year, he at least stayed healthy. But in 2007 and 2008, a shoulder injury and problematic surgery sidelined his career. After playing 7 games in 2007, he missed the entirety of the 2008 season.

From that point forward, Smith slowly turned his career around. However, his best years did not come until his time with the Kansas City Chiefs, where he made three Pro Bowls in 5 seasons.

49ers Set for QB Battle

While Purdy is the starter for the 49ers, the team’s situation at backup is undecided. Josh Dobbs and Brandon Allen will battle to be the team’s No. 2 QB, and The Athletic’s Matt Barrows thinks that is worth paying attention to.

“No, it won’t be nearly as intriguing as the Trey Lance-Sam Darnold backup battle from a year ago. Neither Joshua Dobbs nor Brandon Allen is a top-three draft pick, after all,” Barrows wrote on May 20. “Dobbs was a fourth-round selection in 2017 and Allen was a sixth-rounder in 2016. Both bounced around the league — a lot — before winding up in San Francisco.”

While both have bounced around, Dobbs is coming off a 12-start season, by far the most of his career. According to Pro Football Reference, he completed 262 of 417 passes for 2464 yards, 13 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.