Frye could give 49ers another option at QB

The threat to pull down the ball and run isn't great, but this small-college quarterback has enough leadership skills and studies the game enough to make plays outside the pocket and complete a high percentage of his passes. Those qualities appear to add up to a mid-round draft rating, and the 49ers could by very interested if they decide not to take a quarterback with the No. 1 overall pick.

Charlie Frye is a good-sized quarterback (6-foot-4, 225) who played at the small college of Akron (Ohio). But these days, small-college prospects get noticed by NFL scouts if they are good enough, and Frye has proven to be good enough in his predraft workouts to date.

The 49ers definitely have noticed. The team has expressed interest in Frye during the past month as an option at quarterback in the middle rounds if the team decides not to take one of the elite QB prospects at the top of the draft.

At least 11 NFL teams were represented at Frye's recent workout at Akron, including position coaches Rip Scherer of the Browns, Canton-native Josh McDaniels of New England, Rich Olson of Minnesota, Jack Burns of Washington and Greg Olson of Detroit. The Browns also were represented by Bill Rees, director of personnel. Tom Rossley of the Packers was the only coordinator present.

Any of those teams could pull the trigger on him with a mid-round draft selection and put him in a competition with their current backups. Although Frye only warrants a mid-round draft grade, according to most experts, that hasn't fazed him.

"It's not where you start from, it's where you finish," he said. "There's a lot of guys like Joe Montana and Tom Brady that weren't selected in the first round, and they've both won three Super Bowls, so it's not where you start from, it's where you end up."

Frye was a four-year starter and all-conference QB who holds more than 50 school passing and offensive records. After a redshirt freshman year, the record-breaking began. In his freshman year, he set the school's season interception record at 2.1 percent, among other season marks to fall that year. In his sophomore year, he set marks for passing yards, completions, attempts and total offense, all while playing with a broken bone in his right thumb for the final nine games, an injury that was easier to deal with than an earlier pinkie injury, he said.

His feats continued to climb despite the loss of numerous starters during his four seasons at Akron, and his career totals read: 913 of 1,436 passing (63.6 percent) for 11,049 yards, 64 TDs and 32 interceptions.

While he wants to become known as a quarterback who can make plays outside of the pocket, a la Ben Roethlisberger, another MAC Conference quarterback who led the Steelers to the AFC Championship game in his rookie year as a starter in the NFL, Frye considers himself a student of the game.

"I spend a lot of time in the film room, a lot of time with my coaches," he said. "We came in with a new staff this year and I spent four hours as he was installing it with the assistant coaches, trying to learn. The day you think you've learned everything to know about football, that is the day you lose."

Off the field, his exploits are impressive as well. He contributed to numerous charitable causes through the Akron football team and helped run Antoine Winfield's summer camp last June.

And he has a fun, quirky side to him, too. He wears a Superman t-shirt under his jersey each game. His physical gifts are a little quirky as well. He throws right-handed, writes left-handed and kicks left-footed.

According to TFY Draft Preview, Frye "sets up in the pocket with good footwork, remains poised and goes through receiver progressions, buying time for wideouts. … Throws with an over-the-top delivery, displaying zip on the short throws and the ability to quickly get the ball into the intended target's hands. Tough competitor who plays while injured."

On the negative side, his arm strength has been questioned, which is why he isn't expected to be draft in the first three rounds.

"Frye offers both the physical and mental intangibles for the next level," says TFY Draft Preview's analysis. "More athletic than given credit for and can be used in a variety of passing offenses."

That variety is sure to include one NFL team that buys into Scout.com's fifth-ranked quarterback in the 2005 NFL Draft.




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