Marcus Mariota to the 49ers? It Makes Sense.


Over the next three weeks, Feature Writer Caleb Couturie will be analyzing the 25 teams in the NFL Draft that may look to select Marcus Mariota.

Previous Article: Click here

No. 14: The San Francisco 49ers

SF’s Draft Pick: Fifteenth

SF’s 2015 Cap Space: $(-3,721,728)

SF’s Top Needs: QB, OL, DB

San Francisco certainly didn’t have the season they were expecting in 2014. Not only did they miss the playoffs, but they finished third in their division and were forced to fire their head coach who, just two years ago, took them to a Super Bowl. Although there were a lot of shoulders on which to place the blame, one of the strongest cases to be made was the weak performance of QB Colin Kaepernick. The third-year starter seriously regressed in 2014, seeing a decline in his yards per attempt numbers and touchdowns, while still throwing more interceptions than he did in 2013.

When all was said and done, Kaepernick ended up leading the 49ers to the league’s 30th best passing attack, just barely edging Jacksonville and the Jets for last place. With all the weapons at Kaep’s disposal, that’s simply unacceptable. Management already fired Jim Harbaugh, so why stop there? This team needs a change of direction, and Marcus Mariota is the man for the job.


SF Trades: Kaepernick, 2015 first, 2015 second, 2016 first, 2016 third and 2017 second-round picks.

Tampa Bay Trades: No. 1 pick.

If you’re Tampa Bay, what’s not to like about this? They get a proven QB who, although not excellent, has shown signs of greatness. Kaepernick’s dual-threat capabilities make him a match-up nightmare, and the thought of him and Cam Newton squaring off twice a year down in the NFC South is tantalizing even for the average football fan. Plus, on top of solving the Bucs’ QB problem, they get an added four picks to help boost their roster.

For San Francisco, this is a must. There’s simply too much talent out West for the 49ers to have another season watching the playoffs at home. Mariota is simply a better version of Colin Kaepernick, both mentally and physically. A lot of the controversy surrounding Kaepernick was his inability to learn the playbook fully, which is certainly never going to be a problem with Mariota. Also, as an added bonus, with Mariota joining the squad the 49ers might finally have a use for LaMichael James on offense.


In theory, he should excel. The 49ers are loaded with weapons, highlighted by Vernon Davis, Michael Crabtree, and Frank Gore. Although this is a team getting older each day, both Gore and Davis had down years and will be looking to rebound. Crabtree, when healthy, is one of the most dangerous receivers in the game. Also, the 49ers still have Anquan Boldin who would be a reliable receiver while Mariota adjusted to the 49ers’ west coast style offense. Combine those four with the young talent of Bruce Ellington and James, and the 49ers have a pretty formidable offense. It also helps that the 49ers just built a brand-spanking new stadium in sunny Santa Clara with deluxe facilities (however it will still probably be a downgrade from what Mariota had here). With Mariota running the offense, the 49ers could see a major shift in productivity. It all depends on how willing they are to pull the trigger.


Unless the 49ers signed a veteran QB, yes, he would. The only backups on the team are Blaine Gabbert and Josh Johnson, neither of whom are going to lead a team to the playoffs any time soon. Mariota’s a dedicated student and a quick learner, so I’m not worried about his ability to pick up an offense quickly. Also, luckily for him, the 49ers don’t start division play until later in the season. The NFC West’s defenses are the scariest in the bizz, so the more time before having to play against them, the better.


SF’s Projected Record with Mariota: 10-6

SF’s Projected Record W/O Mariota: 7-9

Mariota’s first year stats: 3,000 yards passing/24 pass TDs/13 INTs/7 Rushing TDs

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Caleb Couturie

Caleb Couturie

Caleb is a sophomore at the University of Oregon intending to double major in Journalism and Sports Management. He is the Managing Editor for, along with being a lifetime Saints and San Francisco Giants fan, as Caleb fell in love with sports at a young age and developed that love into a passion for sports analysis. He is looking forward to cheering on the Ducks throughout his career at Oregon, and is always willing to talk sports with any fellow fan.

  • 49erFanCave

    Give it up, Couture! We’ve got you surrounded!!!!

  • Scott

    Your article makes no sense. Trent Balke would never trade away so many high draft picks for one player. Some other issues, LaMichael James doesn’t play for the 49ers, he was released during the early part of the season. Crabtree is a free agent and not likely to be back, Gore may not return and Vernon Davis could be a salary cap casualty. So most of your points about the 49ers offence are likely to be invalid. I assume your an Oregon fan, stick to writing about them and if you do decide to write about another team, be sure to do better research.

    • Caleb

      Okay, you got me with LaMichael James, but otherwise all you’re saying are hypotheticals! Gore will return because everyone knows he’s going to return a 49er. They’re definitely not getting rid of Vernon Davis, and as for Crabtree that’s still uncertain. So, yes, I missed on one prospect, but I stick by my argument that the 49ers would be better off with Mariota..

      • Pnezdesc

        Thank you!!! Yes, James has Beeeeeeen gone. By far the worst 49er article I have ever read. Okay, Vernon had a horrible season yes. But Gore had another 1000 yard season. So I am not sure what you are talking about. He has had his 8th 1000 yard season last year. Plus there is no way the niners keep Crabs and Davis, Brooks is gone, Iupati is gone, Davis is most likely gone. And crabs is defiantly gone. He’s a big baby. And no he is not an incredible receiver. Only if it’s going his way, otherwise, nothing but whining, he’s always been like that. Only had 1 really good season. Realistically… Also, if you think Balke would trade that many picks for a QB. You are crazy, he wouldn’t cough up 3 picks for Beckham. That has never been the niner way. We let Montana, Rice, Rominowski, Craig and Lott walk. Why would they spend now.. Lol

    • Big Joe

      Your trolling of young journalists benefits no one. I’m sure in your infinite wisdom you can come up with something slightly more constructive for a writer who clearly posted a disclaimer at the beginning of the article labeling this as a hypothetical situation. Keep up the fun, entertaining articles, Couture. Ignore the mouth breathers.

  • A Publisher

    I’m a life-long Niner fan, and I’d love to see Mariota a Niner. But it just won’t happen. That is a pretty steep price, and it doesn’t seem Baalke-like. Also, the Niner brass is going all-in this season, out to prove the can win without Harbaugh. They’re off to a rocky start, IMHO. If they drafted a QB as their starter, they’re practically committing to a rebuilding season. Very, very few QBs come in and perform right away as a starter. Even guys like Peyton Manning had a rough start as a rookie. So I think your projection at 10-6 is a little shaky. Add to that, without Kaepernick, we have NO QBs on the roster as the rest are free agents. No way Gabbert is back. It’s possible they could persuade Johnson back … but he’s almost as green as a rookie. They’d have to find a veteran QB to start the season, and hope that Mariota is up to speed right away if they really want to have a winning season. Now, if they could figure out a way to keep Kaepernick and draft Mariota to put pressure on Kap? Well, now that’s interesting …

  • DrakeMallard

    49er’s management needs to change (less MBAs and more football pedigrees) before personnel changes will make a difference.

  • poombenie

    I’m a hard core duck and 49er fan but I’m still sticking with kaepernick

  • GoldBlooded80

    This is so full of factual and logical holes, not sure where to begin. I won’t.

    • Caleb

      I honestly think the funniest thing about all the hate I get for these articles is that you all are so quick to jump to calling me an idiot, yet no one in the comments section seems to read the disclaimer at the top that says this article is part of a greater project that’s just for fun. I don’t actually believe Mariota will be a 49er, I’m just considering it for fun. If you want to rag on me that’s fine, but at least understand the context of the article itself.

  • ninernation89

    LaMicheal James is on the Dolphins now ….

    • Caleb

      Yeah, that’s my bad.

  • Emma Madison

    This is by far the worst article I have ever read in my life.
    Why would sf give up all those high picks and kap for an unproven. Now if this were Andrew luck coming out of Stanford I see your point as he was projected to be a true pocket passer so you must take the risk for High reward. But the qbs in this years draft are questionable to say the least.
    A quote from the famous film “Billy Madison”
    Mr. Couturie what you’ve just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

    • Caleb

      The point of this project is just to have fun and consider the 25 possible outcomes for where Mariota could land. I don’t really believe Mariota will be a 49er, however if the niners for some reason absolutely had to have him this was the situation that made the most sense. Try not to take things so seriously when they’re just supposed to be for fun.

      • Emma Madison

        This makes zero sense.

        • Caleb

          I’m confused as to how you still don’t get this.

  • SF415er

    I’d like to see mariota on the Niners, but is almost impossible because Trent and Jed thinks Kap is a top 10 QB, which he’s not

    • Caleb

      Actually Harbaugh was one of the main vouchers for Kaep. Harbaugh pushed to start Kaep over Smith back in 2012, but now that Harbaugh’s gone there’s no telling what Kaep’s time table is with the 9ers.

  • Kaboo_Thar

    Caleb, hope that double major comes into fruition by the time you are done and I hope it will evolve your thought process in Sports Journalism as well. I’m not one to judge another person, but I would like to wish you all the best! Below is where I think you’ve gone wrong…

    If you follow 49er team trends, you will notice Trent Baalke and the way he drafts. He’s a maestro at acquiring more picks and finding valuable players in later rounds (we can leave the Offensive Players he drafts for a separate conversation) and will not give up any top picks unless there is hardcore value.

    • Caleb

      Totally agree. If there were some way to make it clearer that this is a project for fun, and that I’m analyzing all 25 teams with at least a single iota of interest in Mariota, then I would. I 100% believe whole heartedly the 9ers will never take Mariota. Too many picks to give up for an unproven talent. However, they’ll at least have a conversation about it. Just like the other 24 teams I’ve written articles about.

      Mariota will not be a 49er, this is just a hypothetical for fun

      • Kaboo_Thar

        Hi Caleb,

        I think you should have mentioned or kept a disclaimer in your first line because people are obviously taking notice of the article and commenting on it. It could be something simple that mentions how you’re doing this for fun and it is not to be taken seriously.

        On a separate note, I think you should do an article of what each of the 32 teams would have to give up for Mariota (with Tampa Bay willing to give up the first round pick, choose multiple draft picks in place and who they would possibly choose with those picks) and have a sub-link to teams where you’ll feel he’d land and justify it. You could build up some credibility and who knows, the extra work may be a headstart…

        • Caleb

          Hey. So I do put a disclaimer at the top (very first few lines in italics) that I’m not sure how people continuously miss. I guess it’s not obvious enough that these are all hypotheticals, and actually this is only one article of the great project. If you want the link to all the ones I’ve written thus far, the link to my author’s page is:

          Once the entire project is wrapped up, I will post a link to a separate website with all of the articles compiled together. Hope that helps!

  • Battle Mage

    This literally makes ZERO sense. It’s like you just looked at a stat line and didn’t watch any of the 49er games. Kaepernick “struggled” because the offensive line was asked to do something it wasn’t good at early on more than it ever had to before: pass block. Kaepernick’s VERY FIRST TWO PASSES of the season involved IMMEDIATE pressure from the Cowboys, which he escaped both times, completing two long passes, the second of which was a touchdown. But along the way he got rocked so much he was worrying about the pass rush rather than the defense, and that’s why his numbers went from above average to average.

    But the most egregious error in this article is that it ignores the recent press releases from the 49ers Brass and the huge contract Kaepernick just signed.

    Why do you think there was so much time in the Jed York/ Trent Baalke press conferences talking about getting back to the running game, play-action, and read-option? These are the things the 49ers did well in the past that they abandoned for much of last year. If they are so caught up on tailoring an offense for Kaepernick (which has been specifically mentioned by York), why would they trade him?

    Bro, I understand you love your Oregon quarterback. But don’t go commenting on an NFL team unless you put in the time to discover the details of the circumstances.

    Also, this trade is absolutely idiotic. I just don’t know what to say to this. Kaepernick has the raw gifts to demand multiple first round picks HIMSELF, and you suggest the 49ers we need to trade him AND a first AND several other picks? You obviously haven’t watched much film on the kid. 50% of the league would love to have him to develop.

    I anticipate this comment will be deleted, but if anything should be deleted, it’s this article.

    • rube510

      That’s very True I agree plus he had terrible quarterback protection and didn’t run as much . Russell Wilson bit his style and kap completely forgot about running it.

    • Caleb

      It’s just a hypothetical for fun. I don’t think it will actually happen. This is an article that’s part of a greater project, but somehow you (and the majority of the commenters) refuse to understand that. Have a nice day.

  • hokieduck

    This fantasy is bad even when compared to the others. If you are writing for an Oregon blog, shouldn’t you at the very least be expected to know that LaMike asked for and received his release half a year ago?

    • Caleb

      For what seems like maybe the hundredth time, I was mistaken about LaMichael James. I apologize, however that is only a teeny tiny piece of the entire article. If I could go in and change it I would, but sadly I don’t have that power.

      As for this article in general, some are going to be more likely than others. If you don’t like it, don’t read it.

      These are supposed to be for fun.

  • Danielle Rennifer

    I could see him going to the 49ers after the Super Bowl next year as he & former Oregon Ducks coach Chip Kelly may reunite once again if the Philadelphia Eagles want him out. Jim Tomsula would be a perfect fit in college football as a head coach on the Mountain West, Sun Belt, or Conference USA team. Kaepernick w/ the Titans may be a good fit for a change of scenery.