Every team in the NFL would love to find a great quarterback. Having one of the best quarterbacks in the league seems to make life easier for the rest of the offense, the defense, and even the coaching staff. These types of players don’t come along often, and it is even more rare for them to perform well in their rookie season.
The San Francisco 49ers have had some great quarterbacks over the years, including Y.A. Tittle, John Brodie, Joe Montana, and Steve Young. There is a lot of difference though between having a great career and having a great rookie season.
With that in mind, who is the best rookie quarterback in San Francisco 49ers history?
Tom Owen was a rookie quarterback for the 49ers in 1974 and he would end up completing 88 of 184 passes for 1,327 yards, 10 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. In 2004, Ken Dorsey came out of the University of Miami with a lot of hope. He saw some playing time with the 49ers that season, finishing the year completing 54% of his passes for 1,231 yards, six touchdowns, and nine interceptions. Steve DeBerg set the team record for most passing yards in a season by a rookie quarterback in 1978 when he threw for 1,570 yards, eight touchdowns, but unfortunately had 22 interceptions. When the 49ers began as a franchise in 1946 in the old All American Football Conference, their rookie quarterback was Frankie Albert. He would complete 104 of 197 passes for 1,404 yards, 14 touchdowns, and 14 interceptions. Many of Albert’s rookie passing marks would remain team records into the 1970s and beyond.
The best numbers ever put up by a San Francisco 49ers rookie quarterback though were put up by a player that had a little bit of an advantage. Jeff Garcia came to the team in 1999 at the age of 29 years old. He had played the first leg of his professional career in the Canadian Football League, but was a rookie as far as the National Football League was concerned. He would finish that first year in San Francisco having completed 60% of his passes for 2,544 yards, 11 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions. By far the best numbers by any rookie quarterback the team has ever had.