One 49ers reporter compared Sam Darnold favorably to not just the team's other current quarterbacks, but the others in franchise history. Jan 1, 2023; Tampa, Florida, USA; Carolina Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold (14) looks to pass against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the third quarter at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Heading into the 2023 NFL season, the San Francisco 49ers are clearly one of the top teams in the league. The quarterback situation, though, is in flux.

Trey Lance has all of four starts to his name and suffered a season-ending injury in Week 2 last season. Brock Purdy led the 49ers through the final weeks of the regular season and to the NFC Championship Game. But an injury suffered there is putting his 2023 season — and certainly the start of it — in question. That could leave the newcomer, Sam Darnold, starting at least some games in the upcoming season.

And if that happens, one 49ers writer feels that Darnold not only compares well to Lance and Purdy — but in some ways favorably to every quarterback in franchise history.

Matt Maiocco, who covers the 49ers for KNBR and NBC Sports Bay Area, spoke highly of Darnold.

“He might be — can I say this — the most talented thrower of the football that the 49ers have ever had,” Maiocco said, per Akash Anavarathan of Niners Nation. “Let’s just put him in the very high echelon of guys who can just drop back in the pocket and throw the football.”

For anyone unaware, the 49ers have a vast history at quarterback. Joe Montana and Steve Young are the first names that most fans will bring up. But Y.A. Tittle is in the Hall of Fame, John Brodie won an MVP, Colin Kaepernick and Jimmy Garoppolo have both taken the 49ers to a Super Bowl while Jeff Garcia, Alex Smith and Purdy have all led the team on deep playoff runs.

And while saying that Darnold “might be the most talented thrower of the football that the 49ers have ever had” isn’t the same as saying he’s a better quarterback than those other players, it’s definitely a lofty comparison.

And with all of that in mind, football fans weren’t exactly buying Maiocco’s praise.

Darnold has struggled to put his talents to good use throughout his NFL career. In five years, he’s completed 59.7% of his passes with 61 touchdowns, 55 interceptions and a passer rating of 78.2.

[Akash Anavarathan]

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