Kolb may fill 49ers' quarterback need

Eagles coach Andy Reid is reportedly looking for a first-round draft pick for QB Kevin Kolb. But is Kolb worth the No. 7 pick the Niners would have to give up? Coach Jim Harbaugh and GM Trent Baalke may have to seriously consider it.

When it comes to needs, the San Francisco 49ers have several: quarterback, outside linebacker and cornerback. But which of those three positions is it most critical for them to fill?

You could make a reasonable argument – and not get much resistance – for quarterback. It's more important than any other position on a team (despite what former coach Mike Singletary says), and the 49ers have a clear void after six seasons of unfulfilled promise from Alex Smith.

So do they take a run at Kevin Kolb, the Philadelphia Eagles QB who now appears to be on the market? Or do they focus on the draft, where OLB Von Miller of Texas A&M or CB Patrick Peterson of LSU might be available?

It's a tough decision for general manager Trent Baalke and coach Jim Harbaugh. Eagles coach Andy Reid, according to Peter King of SI.com, is shopping Kolb and has found a team willing to offer a first-round draft pick. But King says Reid is looking for a better offer.

Is Kolb worth a No. 7, which is where the Niners choose in the first round? They would have to weigh his relative inexperience (just seven NFL starts and a 73.2 passer rating) against his knowledge of Reid's West Coast offense. He's still unproven, but he's also been in the league four years and is only 26 years old.

There's no guarantee that Miller and Peterson will still be on the board when the 49ers pick. They may have to settle for someone like defensive end Robert Quinn of North Carolina or cornerback Prince Amukamara of Nebraska. Depending on the mock draft you choose, it's even possible all four of those players will be gone.

Some experts don't believe Kolb is worth that high a pick. That's something Baalke and Harbaugh will have to decide, but it's certainly not something that can be dismissed without great thought.

If there's no new collective bargaining agreement before the draft, which is scheduled April 28-30, it's likely the Niners will stick to their original plan and possibly draft a quarterback in the second round. That's when a player like Christian Ponder of Florida State or Andy Dalton of TCU will be available.

But if there's an agreement between owners and players before then, allowing deals to be made, Kolb is someone the 49ers will have to seriously consider.

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