It was never a foregone conclusion the 49ers would target a quarterback with the No. 7 overall pick.
And with the Los Angeles Rams’ leap Thursday morning to the top selection, it likely means the 49ers would have to package valuable draft picks to move up in order to secure Cal’s Jared Goff or Carson Wentz of North Dakota State – whomever the Rams pass up.
The 49ers can be expected to select a quarterback at some point in the draft, but where?
They can trade back from No. 7 or trade up from their pick in the second round, No. 37 overall, to grab a quarterback such as Connor Cook (Michigan State) or Paxton Lynch (Memphis).
Or the 49ers can sit back and select a quarterback such as Dak Prescott (Mississippi State), Cody Kessler (USC), Kevin Hogan (Stanford) or Vernon Adams (Oregon) a round or two later.
Opinions on Adams vary wildly, but we know he is already familiar with Chip Kelly’s system.
Adams never played for Kelly at Oregon, but enough of the offense remained unchanged after Kelly’s departure to the NFL, Adams said he feels as if he already has a good handle on the playbook.
“I watched them in Philly last year, and pretty much 80 percent or 90 percent of the plays I’d see I could call out that we run at Oregon,” Adams said. “I think I could really come in and run that offense, too.”
Recently, CSNBayArea.com asked Kelly about what he saw from Adams as he watched Oregon games last season and about the process of evaluating him as a draft prospect.
“There’s a big difference,” Kelly said. “Obviously, when Vernon was playing, I was cheering for him because I wanted him to make plays because he was at Oregon.
“Now, you’re trying to figure out exactly, can he make this throw? Can he make that throw? What’s his escapability? How’s his decision-making process? If he were to fit in with what we’re doing, how does he fit in? That part is interesting.
"But when you’re watching games in the fall, you’re just watching them as a fan. You’re watching them on TV, so you’re not getting a great angle or perspective. When you start to study the tape, the all-22, it’s different.”
Kelly said he did not place draft grades on players from Oregon during his three years with the Eagles because he felt too close to them to formulate objective opinions. However, Philadelphia selected Oregon products wide receiver Josh Huff (third round) and defensive Taylor Hart (fifth round) in the 2014 draft.
Kelly intimated that his personal feelings will not influence his ultimate evaluation on Adams.
“I don’t know Vernon,” Kelly said. “You want to see things with clean eyes.”
While nobody is predicting Adams will be the next Russell Wilson, the two quarterbacks have similar physical statures. Wilson was listed at 5 foot 11, 204 pounds entering the 2012 draft. Adams is 5-11, 200.
In his final college season at Wisconsin, Wilson completed 72.8 percent of his attempts with 33 touchdowns and four interceptions. In his only season at Oregon after transferring from Eastern Washington, Adams completed 64.9 percent with 26 touchdowns and six interceptions.