Last year’s 49ers offseason was marked by sudden retirements. The theme this offseason: Chip Kelly’s quarterback conundrum.
From Colin Kaepernick to upcoming free agent Sam Bradford to the seventh pick in the draft, Kelly and the 49ers have plenty of options and plenty to sort through between now and April 28, the first day of the draft.
And there’s more quarterback intrigue than just the first or second round. Take, for instance, Oregon quarterback Vernon Adams, the star of Saturday’s Shrine Game. The 49ers met with Adams during the week and Saturday he stole the show. He was elusive in the pocket, he looked off the safety, he threw three touchdowns to three different receivers and he looked, well, a lot like the Seahawks’ Russell Wilson in the West’s 29-9 victory.
Those comparisons are inevitable given Adams’ height. He was measured at 5-foot-10 5/8 , exactly what Wilson measured before the 2012 draft. Adams and Wilson also have the same arm length (31 inches) although Wilson was a little heavier than Adams (204 pounds to 195 pounds) and has much bigger hands (10 1/4 inches vs. 8 3/4 inches).
The real comparison is that like Wilson, Adams seems to have an excellent sense of the pass rush, can keep plays alive when they start to break down and then make the defense pay with a big gain. That’s what happened on his 93-yard touchdown pass to Purdue receiver Danny Anthrop on Saturday. The ball traveled 40 yards before Anthrop caught it.
Kelly didn’t recruit or coach Adams – he transfered from Eastern Washington before the 2015 season – but Adams’ year with the Ducks makes it easy to envision how he would look in a Chip Kelly-run offense, and at least one draft observer sees a connection.
“If you’re Chip Kelly, you’re taking a look at Vernon Adams and seeing what he can do,” NFL Network’s Mike Mayock wrote on Twitter.
▪ Bleacher Report’s Jason Cole reported the 49ers are interested in former Browns defensive coordinator Jim O’Neil, whose unit was 27th in the league last season. O’Neil has coached alongside former Browns head coach Mike Pettine for several seasons, first with the Jets and then the Bills. Pettine, a former defensive coordinator, reportedly wants to take a year off after his two seasons in Cleveland.