It's obviously conceivable that the 49ers take a signal caller with the seventh overall pick, but for the sake of this post, we'll pretend that it's not possible. At the very least, it really doesn't appear to be likely, but that is beside the point now. The team needs a quarterback, at least two of them this offseason and potentially three. Not only is it very likely that the team selects a quarterback in the 2011 NFL Draft, it's also conceivable that they walk away from said draft with multiple quarterbacks.
Many have identified Cam Newton and Blaine Gabbert as the quarterbacks who will be going first, potentially both of them in the top ten. After them, we have Jake Locker and Ryan Mallett, and then there's a perceived dropoff. Some folks are saying that Mallett might fall into the second round (and it's possible Locker could, as well. If you follow some of the bigger sites, you'll see those guys all over the place. But again, we're going to consider the prospects who will definitely (not an exact science) be around in the second and onward for this post.
The fifth round could be the latest that the 49ers get a guy with "franchise quarterback" potential in Greg McElroy, at least for the type of offense they hope to run. He's a game manager type of guy and could be an option moving forward, and even the second guy taken at this point. He could even be around in the sixth round.
Andy Dalton and Pat Devlin are two guys who could go in the fourth round or so. Devlin is my top west coast offense quarterback, while Dalton receives a lot of praise from most scouts (but a lot of flack from others). Both of these guys could come into San Francisco and compete. After these guys, Colin Kaepernick is definitely an option in the third or second round. Kaepernick is the definition of a developmental guy with potential.
Christian Ponder, though, is the first guy that the 49ers could be after, but they might have to trade to the top of the second round to acquire him. If they did, he would likely be worth it. Ponder has a ton of potential and had a fantastic combine. It's possible he lasts a few picks in the second, but part of me feels like teams will be scrambling to get to that pick and acquire Ponder.
So maybe it's not probable that the 49ers take a quarterback in the first 32 picks - but they could definitely be in the market at oh, say 33?