Mr. Smith goes absolutely nowhere

The diagnosis is in and 49ers quarterback Alex Smith has a broken shoulder to go along with his broken spirit.  Smith's season is over and his career with the 49ers will wrap up as soon as the team's front office can find a salary-cap friendly time to cut the former overall No. 1 draft pick loose.

So step aside Tim Couch, Ryan Leaf, Todd Marinovich, Rick Mirer, and David Carr because Smith just joined the club of first-round quarterback busts.

But to be fair, the kid was never in a good position to succeed.  The 49ers have been a total train wreck.  From the roster to the coaching staff to the front office to ownership, the team has been a joke ever since Smith was drafted in 2005.

On top of all that, Smith has had a different offensive coordinator every year and that's been a terrible fit for a player once described as "nonfunctional" in new offensive systems by his former college coach Urban Meyer.

So what should the 49ers have done with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2005 draft?

The only other quarterbacks selected in the first round were Aaron Rogers by Green Bay and Jason Campbell by Washington and it doesn't look like either one is heading for a Hall of Fame career.

At this point Rogers looks like the best quarterback of the bunch but he's had the advantage of being drafted by a good team that had the luxury of bringing him along slowly.  This season Rogers is taking over a Packers team that made the playoffs last year whereas Smith was forced into action for the league's doormat in 2005.

The fact that Rogers fell all the way to the No. 24 pick in the 2005 draft shows that the 49ers weren't alone in sizing up the Cal grad and finding him a little short of greatness.

As for the rest of the 2005 draft, I just don't see anyone taken with the top 10 picks who had "franchise player" written all over them. 2005 was simply a horrible year to end up with the top pick in the draft.

Check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2005_NFL_Draft to see who was taken after Alex Smith.

Braylon Edwards, Shawne Merriman and Ronnie Brown are probably the best of the bunch but in 2005 you wouldn't have pegged them as the kind of player you select No. 1 overall when you're the worst team in football in need of a franchise player.

Strangely enough, the one guy you could call a franchise player for 49ers today is Frank Gore and he was selected in the same draft as Alex Smith.  But he was taken in the third round with the No. 65 pick.  Go figure.

So what is the parting gift for the much-maligned Alex Smith's years of failure and frustration in San Francisco? It's $31 million according to The Press Democrat's Matt Maiocco.   That's a pretty sweet deal … for Alex Smith.  Not so sweet for the 49ers.

* IT ISN'T MUCH BETTER IN TENNESSEE:
ESPN.com has an entertaining story about Titans quarterback/head case/mama's boy Vince Young (http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/news/story?id=3579504).

Personally,  I think the athletically agile but mentally fragile Young is going to be joining Smith in the First-Round QB Bust Club sooner rather than later.

When a quarterback talks about retiring after just his second season in the NFL, tries to beg his way out of the lineup in the middle of a game because he's being booed, has police searching for him because his family is worried about his state of mind and then follows all that up with his mother standing up for him in the press then you know the end of his career is near.

Hopefully I'm wrong, because like a lot of people I became a Vince Young fan when he led Texas to an upset over USC in the 2006 Rose Bowl, but it looks like he's just going to be another cautionary tale about using high first-round draft picks on quarterbacks.

* IT'S FINALLY OVER FOR THE A'S:
OK, I'll grudgingly throw in the towel on Oakland's shot at making the playoffs this season.

Despite entering the day still alive in the chase for the AL West title despite being a mere 21 games behind the division-leading Angels, the A's were mathematically eliminated when Anaheim beat the Yankees this afternoon.

I kept hoping that Oakland's never-ending decisions to trade veterans for young players I've never heard of would combine with an Angels meltdown triggered by a rash of crippling injuries, apathy and an outbreak of narcolepsy to vault the A's to the top of the AL West.

Call me crazy.

I know, I know … Alex Smith had a better shot of leading the 49ers to the Super Bowl and Vince Young looks perfectly sane compared to my demented hopes for the 2008 A's.

But just wait until next season, you'll see. The A's will be great again.

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