GM profiling: McCloughan and the quarterbacks

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
A scenario to consider for when the 49ers are on the clock with the 10th overall choice in the 2009 draft: Four offensive tackles are off the board, the top two pass rushers are gone, nose tackle B.J. Raji is gone and quarterback Mark Sanchez remains available.

Short of trading down, would there be a realistic option for the 49ers drafting someone other than the quarterback? I discussed the matter earlier Tuesday with Steve Muench of Scouts Inc. He thinks the 49ers should draft Sanchez, if available, even if tackle Michael Oher and pass rushers Aaron Maybin and Everette Brown remained available.

Muench: "They missed on Alex Smith with the first overall pick in 2005, but they can't let that prevent them from making the right call now. Sanchez is a different quarterback from more of a pro-style offense. They need a quarterback now."

How the 49ers perceive their quarterback situation probably differs from how most outsiders view the situation. This is fairly typical. I think the Seahawks view their quarterback situation differently than people following the team from afar view it. The Cardinals appear to view their needs on the offensive line -- specifically at center -- differently than others view the situation. The Rams have lots of holes, but general manager Billy Devaney rejected the idea that St. Louis has enough needs to justify practically any selection.

With those things in mind, I'll take a look at 49ers general manager Scot McCloughan and the quarterbacks his teams have drafted since 1994.

The Packers already had Brett Favre when McCloughan broke into NFL scouting with them under Ron Wolf in 1994. The team had also used draft choices for Ty Detmer and Mark Brunell. While McCloughan was with Seattle, the Seahawks traded for Matt Hasselbeck, whom the Packers had drafted when McCloughan was still in Green Bay.

The 49ers' decision to use the first overall choice for Smith in 2005 went against the trend for McCloughan's teams. Most of those teams weren't picking near the top of the round.

Quick thoughts from Muench on the 49ers possibly drafting a quarterback this year:

  • "I can understand you making the point that Alex Smith makes it tough for them to take a quarterback early. He is a 2005 guy. He is still there. The ghost of Alex Smith is not in the building yet. Alex Smith is there. That is tough. Now, are we saying if Sanchez is there at No. 10 or if Josh Freeman is there? If they are going to take Freeman at 10, I think that is a mistake."

  • "I would take Sanchez, Maybin, Oher and Everette Brown, in that order, if all four were available at 10. And I like them all."

The assumption here -- and all assumptions carry some risk in this seemingly unpredictable draft -- is that Sanchez is more likely to be available at No. 10 than Matthew Stafford.

The 49ers already have three quarterbacks in Shaun Hill, Smith and Damon Huard. They presumably would not keep four during the regular season.