Shortly after the NFL Draft concluded on Saturday, former Michigan quarterback Wilton Speight was signed by the San Francisco 49ers as an undrafted free agent.
Speight will have the same fate as late round fliers who were drafted, he will have to impress to find his way onto a roster or practice squad.
It will be an uphill battle for Speight to crack the roster, but maybe he’ll have a chance to make their practice squad. The 49ers have three quarterbacks who are young and have won regular season games in the NFL (Jimmy Garoppolo, CJ Beathard, Nick Mullens), but there’s a chance the Niners could trade Beathard this offseason. A Beathard trade would give Speight a fighting chance to beat out Mullens for the backup job,
Speight falling to the 49ers is interesting, as he played for former 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh at Michigan, and then grad-transferred to play for former 49ers head coach Chip Kelly at UCLA. The Niners must have liked the fact he had to learn two very different schemes by two different former NFL coaches. Speight stands 6-6 and weighs 240 pounds, and right or wrong, NFL teams drool over QB’s of that stature. Speight’s height alone could buy him a little extra added time on a roster or practice squad to develop more before getting a boot out the door.
We can play armchair quarterback and say which quarterbacks in the class will have NFL careers and which QB’s won’t, but the fact of the matter is each and every year an undrafted free agent takes a lot of people by surprise. I’m not saying Speight will be that guy, but don’t tell me he doesn’t have a chance.
Speight’s best season as a college QB came in 2016 where he threw for 2,538 yards, 18 touchdowns, and 7 interceptions. Speight wasn’t a flashy QB at Michigan but he did lead U-M to a 10-3 record in 2016 and suffered close and gut-wrenching losses against Iowa, Ohio State, and Florida State.
Speight suffered an injury against Purdue in 2017 as a Wolverines then ultimately transferred to UCLA for the 2018 season.