When Kyle Shanahan is evaluating quarterbacks, he doesn’t want to see skittish feet or wide eyes.
“Do they watch the rush? Are they fearless?” Shanahan asked in his first-ever press conference at the scouting combine. “If they’re watching the rush at all and things like that, it’s very hard to make the reactions you need to make in this league with how quick the windows close. So you see how quick their decision making is, not on the board, but in the pocket when they’re under duress.”
Shanahan and the 49ers have plenty of work ahead in that area. Once Colin Kaepernick opts out of his contract – he can do so as soon as Thursday – the 49ers will have no quarterbacks on their roster. They will probably need four for their offseason practices.
The 49ers hold the second overall pick in the draft. One of the issues, however, is that many of the top quarterbacks – Clemson’s Deshaun Watson and UNC’s Mitch Trubisky, for example – ran wide-open offenses in which the passer spent little time in the pocket.
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“It makes it tougher each year to evaluate,” Shanahan said. “The more spread out it gets, the more up-tempo it gets, a little more sloppy it gets. That happens at the NFL level, too. When guys get tired, and you go no-huddle all the time, it does affect things.”
Shanahan said his challenge will be figuring out how quickly those quarterbacks can process what’s in front of them.
“You can tell (in) talking to people who’s capable of processing a lot,” he said. “But the smartest people aren’t always the best quarterbacks, either. You can’t over-process things.”