The 49ers are built differently. In a time where their contemporaries are all in the hunt for a quarterback that can carry them to a championship, San Francisco has gone the other direction. They’ve built out a roster that doesn’t need a top-end quarterback to be in the championship conversation.
A great illustration of how the 49ers reached their place among the NFL’s elite despite starting five different quarterbacks in the last four years comes via Touchdown Wire’s power rankings by Doug Farrar.
At No. 1 are the Chiefs and QB Patrick Mahomes. At No. 2 are the Eagles and “potential MVP quarterback Jalen Hurts.” The No. 3 team is the “Josh Allen-led Bills.” Then there’s the Bengals at No. 4 where “having Joe Burrow as your quarterback sort of seems like a cheat code to making a playoff run.”
Farrar’s first four teams are all highlighted by elite QB play. Then there’s his No. 5 team – the San Francisco 49ers, where everything’s made up and the quarterback doesn’t matter. Sort of. Via Farrar:
It frankly did not really matter who was under center for the 49ers last season, as the squad is stacked at every end of the roster. Quarterback Brock Purdy played at an elite level during his stint as the starter, and if he can pick up where he left off in 2022, there is little reason to doubt the 49ers will find themselves deep in the playoff race.
There’s at least some intrigue though since last year the 49ers started Trey Lance, and moved on to a known commodity in veteran QB Jimmy Garoppolo when Lance got hurt. Purdy, the final pick in last year’s draft, was the big question mark after Garoppolo went down. He played exceptional football down the stretch and helped guide the team to the NFC championship game.
Now behind Purdy, there are two question marks with Lance and Sam Darnold. If Purdy plays like he did last year, the 49ers could wind up pairing a top-five offense with a top-five defense.
However, what Farrar wrote could still be the case. It may not matter who plays QB for San Francisco because they’re loaded with an offensive scheme that makes life as easy as possible on the QB.
The 49ers would love to make that irrelevant though and get a chance to roll with one QB in 2023. If they can do that, perhaps they’ll find themselves inside the top five with their quarterback leading the way like the teams ahead of them.