There’s arguably no position in all of the professional sports that’s more important than that of a quarterback in football. They may say that defense wins championships, but a good defense can only go so far with a lousy man behind center. The San Francisco 49ers have had more than their fair share of lousy quarterbacks, but they’ve also had some of the best quarterbacks to ever play the game. The 49ers are tied for second all-time in Super Bowl wins with five. If it wasn’t for the stellar play they got from their quarterback’s they might not have any.
While the 49ers were flushed with talented gunslinger’s in 1980s and 1990s, the position hasn’t been too kind to them in the past 15 years. They have not able to find a quarterback that is willing t0 take the ball and run with it ( Colin Kaepernick excluded). The San Francisco 49ers have been a pretty terrible team in recent years and if they want to take a step in the right direction, they need to address their quarterback situation. It might be best for the team to look at their past history of QB’s in order to find their QB of the future.
Without further ado, let’s rank all 33 of the San Francisco 49ers quarterbacks since the start of the Super Bowl era.
33. Jim Druckenmiller
The 49ers drafted Jim Druckenmiller in the first round of the 1997 draft, hoping that he would be Steve Young’s eventual successor. While the 49ers wanted to bring him along slowly, they had him start week two if his rookie season after Steve Young went down with a hand injury. It ended up being a bad decision by the 49ers coaching staff. While San Francisco somehow managed to pull off a win by defeating St. Louis 15-12, Druckenmiller was a trainwreck. He only completed 10 out of 28 passes while throwing three interceptions.
Druckenmiller would appear in just two games the following season, before being traded to the Miami Dolphins. After not being able to hold an NFL job, he signed with the newly created XFL where he would have the most success of his professional career. Jim Druckenmiller is not only the biggest quarterback draft bust in 49ers history, but he is arguably the team’s biggest draft bust at any position.
32. Cody Pickett
Cody Pickett was taken all the way in the seventh round of the 2004 draft by the 49ers after spending five years with the Washington Huskies. Pickett wasn’t even guaranteed to make the team, nevermind get into a regular season game, but he defied the odds. Pickett began the 2004 season as the team’s fourth-string quarterback, but he actually played the majority of his time on special teams. He even played safety and wide receiver during practices.
Pickett got his first taste of NFL action at the end of the 2004 season when he came into a game against the Buffalo Bills. The Niners were in the middle of getting blown out by the Bills, but Pickett didn’t help by going 4-10 with two interceptions. The following season, with all the 49ers quarterbacks going down with injuries, Pickett would appear in five games, starting two. His numbers were absolutely terrible as he had a quarterback rating of 28.3. The 2005 season would be the last time he ever appeared in an NFL game.
31. Ken Dorsey
Ken Dorsey was one of the top quarterbacks in all of college football while playing for the University of Miami. He was twice a finalist for the Heisman Trophy and had a combined record of 38-2 as Miami’s starting QB. Despite setting numerous team records, scouts didn’t think he would make it in the NFL due to his lack of arm strength. ‘Spoiler alert’, the scouts were right.
Dorsey fell all the way to the seventh round of the 2003 draft before the 49ers selected him. He would go on to play three seasons with the Niners, where he was able to start 10 games for the team. His lack of arm strength and accuracy proved to be his downfall as was barely able to complete 50% of his pass attempts. His record as a starting QB with the San Francisco ended up being a dismal 2-8. Dorsey would spend time with the Cleveland Browns before finishing his football career in 2011 with the CFL’s Toronto Argonauts.
30. Scott Bull
Scott Bull was drafted out of Arkansas by the 49ers in the sixth round of the 1976 draft. He began his career backing up Jim Plunkett. He started two games for the Niners in his rookie season. His stats were pretty poor as he had a completion percentage of just 43.8% and he threw four INT’s. However, due San Francisco’s strong defense, he won both his games as a starter.
After not starting a single game in 1977, Bull started a career-high five games during the 1978 season. If you can believe it his numbers actually got worse than his rookie season. He only managed to win one of his games, while completing less than 40% of his passes. His worst stat of all was his TD to INT ratio, which 11 INT’s compared to just one TD. His career was finished after that embarrassing season.
29. Joe Reed
In 1973, the 49ers knew that their team was aging, their longtime quarterback John Brodie especially wasn’t getting any younger. As it would happen, Brodie battled through an arm injury throughout the 1973 season. At first, the Niners replaced him with Steve Spurrier, but after he wasn’t producing results, the team turned to third-stringer Joe Reed. However, Reed was arguably worse than Spurrier. In the three games he started, he threw three interceptions and had a dismal quarterback rating of 44.8.
Heading into the 1974 season, Joe Reed was named the team’s starting quarterback. While he managed to win two out of his four starts, his play was dreadful. He threw just two touchdowns compared to seven interceptions. However, his most embarrassing stat of all was his awful 22.1 quarterback rating. After the season ended Reed signed with Detroit Lions where he actually became a decent quarterback.