The 49ers conducted more interviews this week, assessing Redskins offensive coordinator Sean McVay and Panthers assistant general manager Brandon Beane on Monday before holding meetings with Panthers defensive coordinator Shawn McDermott and former safety Louis Riddick.
Many interviews have been wrapped up, but the 49ers remain in the decision-making process, as they have yet to name a new head coach and general manager.
In the meantime, the 49ers are on the prowl for a new quarterback. Clemson Tigers’ quarterback DeShaun Watson could be a key part of their intended success, but the 49ers hold the No. 2 pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. Watson could be gone by No. 2 unless San Francisco can package current players or draft picks to swap picks with Cleveland.
Watson is a dual-threat quarterback who stepped into the spotlight Monday night. The 21-year-old threw three touchdowns, gained 420 passing yards and completed 36-of-56 pass attempts as the Tigers defeated the Alabama Crimson Tide 35-31 for their first national championship title since 1981.
After the triumph, Watson declared — as widely expected — for the 2017 NFL Draft.
Watson made history with Clemson, finishing with 41 touchdowns and 17 interceptions in the 2016 NCAA season. That — along with a National Championship — makes for quite a record for a junior quarterback.
However, there’s a question: Can Watson’s success transfer to the NFL level?
Watson has been compared to former Texas Longhorns quarterback Vince Young. Ironically, Watson also looks up to Young.
Take a moment to remember Young’s spectacular performance at the 2006 Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California. Young accounted for all 69 yards of a Longhorns’ scoring drive that took just 2:39 to complete.
The Longhorns’ defense yielded one first down on the USC drive, but it held the Trojans — who turned to LenDale White on a third down at midfield, only to see him lose the ball and have it recovered by Steve Smith — just two yards short of a first down.
During the final drive, Texas faced third-and-12. Young saved the day by rushing for seven yards between two passes for 26 yards to move the ball to the USC 14-yard line.
Young then received a shotgun snap, found his receivers intact and bolted towards the end zone for the fourth-down, game-winning touchdown — his third rushing touchdown of the game — allowing the reigning Big 12 conference champion Longhorns to defeat the two-time defending AP national champion Trojans 41-38.
Despite a promising start, Young cooled off and never achieved the same kind of success in the NFL in six pro seasons.
Watson, on the other hand, has a positive aura. Watson stands at 6-foot-3 and weighs 215 pounds. Alabama applied pressure on him throughout the 2017 national championship game, and Watson showed he is definitely capable of taking soe big hits. Watson seems to have the ability to adapt to any situation.
Watson may be ever so slightly out of reach for the 49ers, but the sky’s the limit. The team still has the chance to trade down from the second pick to the fifth or sixth overall spot just to gain draft capital to grab Watson early in the draft.