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Harbaugh: Smith has 'ability and license' to start for 49ers

New 49ers coach Jim Harbaughgot his young quarterback Friday in Colin Kaepernick, but San Francisco still plans to re-sign Alex Smith and allow him to compete for the starting job.

"The plan for Alex is unchanged," Harbaugh told Comcast SportsNet Bay Area. "Everything we said from the very beginning: We want to get the best players on our roster that we possibly can and throw out the balls and let them compete.

"Alex has the ability and the license to be the starting quarterback -- same thing I said about (outside linebacker) Aldon (Smith) yesterday. Same goes for Colin. Guys will run on their own gas. We believe in competition and earning your positions around here. With Alex, we are rowing and we're not going to miss a beat. Nothing has changed."

In the first major move of the Harbaugh era, the 49ers traded up in the second round to take Nevada's Kaepernick with the 36th overall pick in the NFL draft. They gave the Denver Broncos their second- (45th overall), fourth- (108th) and fifth-round (141st) picks in the deal.

While Smith, the 2005 No. 1 overall pick, might have a shot at the starting job next season, the 49ers appear focused on finding their man of the future.

"We're going to continue to do what our game plan was, to bring in the best three quarterbacks possible for our roster," 49ers general manager Trent Baalke said. "Whether we're done adding to it through the draft, through free agency, through trades, that remains to be seen. It's still a fluid situation."

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