Ex-Chiefs QB Huard gives 49ers insurance

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Damon Huard is no Kurt Warner, but he might be a better fit for the 49ers' offense. If the 49ers sign him, as Matt Maiocco expects them to do, Huard gives the 49ers a quarterback with enough starting experience to provide insurance at the position.

The 49ers appear in position to bring along a drafted quarterback slowly if they decide to select one with the 10th overall choice or elsewhere in the early rounds.

Former 49ers starter J.T. O'Sullivan likely will not return. He visited the Bengals this week. Alex Smith could factor into the race for the starting job if the team can sign him to a more workable contract. With Huard on board, the 49ers become less dependent on Smith as they consider their options for 2009.

Shaun Hill showed enough last season to stick around as a backup and possibly a starter, but the 49ers' refusal to name him the starter tells us where he stands in the team's long-term plans. Health and age permitting -- Huard turns 36 in July -- there's a good chance Huard will be the best quarterback on the 49ers' roster in the short term.

Here was the Scouts Inc. breakdown heading into the 2008 season:

Huard is an 11-year veteran who has good size and arm strength. He is a limited athlete and operates best from the pocket. He has been a backup most of his career, but was given the chance to lead the Chiefs in 2007 before sustaining an injury. He has had some durability problems in the past and his lack of elusiveness in the pocket only adds to his health concerns. He can fit the ball into short and intermediate areas effectively when he can use his weight transfer in a clean pocket. He can be a streaky passer with good accuracy. Huard is a smart player who can read coverages well, but has limited throwing capacity. He can't create effectively when the play breaks down and certainly doesn't have the tools to carry a club. Huard is best as a mentor to a young signal-caller and as backup who can finish a game.