49ers’ top 5 draft needs

Here is my Saturday column.

The NFL draft is less than one month away. It’s time to take stock of the 49ers’ needs.

They have an awful lot. I count 10 — wide receiver, tight end, running back, backup quarterback, offensive line, left defensive end, backup outside linebacker, “Mike” inside linebacker, cornerback and backup safety. I might have missed a couple.

Let’s focus on the Niners’ five biggest needs. Here they are in ascending order of importance.

5. Wide Receiver

Before the 49ers signed Torrey Smith, wide receiver might have been the Niners’ biggest need.

Now, the Niners have the best wide-receiver tandem in the NFC West. Last season, Boldin and Smith caught 132 passes, made 16 touchdown catches and gained 1,829 receiving yards combined. No other duo in the division came close to producing those numbers.

Boldin and Smith are a winning combination — they won a Super Bowl together with Ravens in 2013. But Boldin will be a free agent in 2016. He might not want to re-sign with the Niners, and the Niners might not want to re-sign him. He turns 36 in 2016.

The Niners should plan ahead and draft a replacement a year before Boldin hits free agency. The Niners can find a replacement in Round 3 or Round 4. Good receivers usually fall to Round 3 and Round 4.

4. Cornerback

The 49ers didn’t lose one starting cornerback this offseason, they lost two. Chris Culliver signed with the Washington Redskins, and Perrish Cox signed with the Tennessee Titans.

As of now, the Niners’ replacement cornerbacks are Tramaine Brock and Shareece Wright. They’re solid, maybe even better than Culliver and Cox. But they’re not great. They have problems.

Wright has been in the NFL four seasons and has intercepted just one pass. Brock has been in the NFL five seasons and has played just 1,125 snaps — slightly more than one full season. Last season, he played only 84 snaps.

Brock was the Niners’ No. 1 cornerback last year in training camp, but he broke down as soon as the season began. Week 1, he suffered a turf-toe injury. Week 10, he pulled his hamstring.

Even if he stays healthy next season, he is not a shutdown corner. Super Bowl teams usually have one shutdown corner. Both Super Bowl teams last season had one. The Seahawks had Richard Sherman, and the Patriots had Darrelle Revis.

If the Niners want one, they’ll have to draft one in the first round — corners are in demand. Unfortunately, the Niners have three needs more pressing than cornerback.

3. Offensive Line

The whole line is shaky.

It might be pretty good if Anthony Davis stays healthy and if Daniel Kilgore’s broken leg recovers and if Brandon Thomas’ torn ACL doesn’t tear again. But that’s a lot of ifs.

Here’s another — if just one of those three guys gets hurt, the Niners’ offensive line will crumble, just like last season.

The offensive line is the foundation of any offense. Three-fifths of the 49ers’ foundation has cracks. It doesn’t pass inspection. The other two-fifths aren’t so sturdy, either. Joe Staley turns 31 in August, and Alex Boone will be a free agent in 2016. The 49ers rarely re-sign guards. Boone could be a goner.

The Niners need someone who can play all over the offensive line, not just one position.

2. Tight End

The Niners have the best wide-receiver duo in the division, but they also have the worst tight-end duo in the division, maybe the entire league.

Last season, Vernon Davis and Vance McDonald caught only 28 passes combined. Frank Gore and Carlos Hyde caught 30, and they’re running backs.

Davis is slowing down. He is a bad route-runner who relies on speed to get open. Without speed, he’s nothing. Last season, he was a poor receiver and a poor blocker. He turned 31 in January.
McDonald can block but he can’t catch. He’s like a second fullback or a sixth offensive lineman. When he plays, the opposing defense knows he isn’t getting the ball. But he doesn’t always play. He missed eight games last season with a back injury.

The Niners need a tight end, not a run-blocking specialist with a bad back. Only a few good tight ends are in the upcoming draft — Clive Walford, Maxx Williams and Devin Funchess. Experts expect them to get picked in Round 2.

1. Inside Linebacker

The Niners defense features two inside linebackers. One is called the “Jack,” the other is called the “Mike.”

NaVorro Bowman is the “Jack.” Before he retired, Patrick Willis was the “Mike.” The Niners need a “Mike.”

The “Mike” is a more physically demanding position than the “Jack.” The “Jack” has it easy. He lines up directly behind a defensive tackle — football coaches say the “Jack” is “stacked” behind the defensive tackle.

“Jack” is short for “Stack Linebacker.” The defensive tackle wrestles the left guard so the “Jack” doesn’t have to. The defensive tackle protects the “Jack,” gives him room to roam.

The “Mike” gets no protection. He does not line up behind a defensive tackle. The “Mike” lines up directly across from the opposing team’s right guard. There is no one between them.

The “Mike” has to be stout to absorb hits from that 300-pound right guard, and fast to cover the tight end. Only two linebackers in the upcoming draft can do both of those things — Vic Beasley and Stephone Anthony.

The Niners probably won’t get Beasley. He is one of the best players in the draft, likely a top-10 pick. The Niners pick 15th.

Anthony should be available in Round 2. If the 49ers don’t get him, they’ll have to draft two “Mike” linebackers — a run-stopping specialist and a pass-coverage specialist.

Grant Cohn writes sports columns and the “Inside the 49ers” blog for The Press Democrat’s website. You can reach him at grantcohn@gmail.com.

This article has 336 Comments

  1. Hey Grant: couple of draft related questions for you.

    1. At WR -What do you think of taking Phillip Dorsett or Devin Smith in the 2nd or 3rd round as a TY Hilton type to pair with Torrey and push Boldin into the slot at times? That kind of speed on both sides surely would drastically reduce 8 man boxes and cover 3/cover 1 press, right? Can it really be that simple?

    2. At TE – Do you think Derek Carrier will mitigate the need to draft more than 1 TE? What do you think of getting Darren Waller as a conversion project?

    3. At RB – Is Duke Johnson a good fit for us and replacement for Bush/Hunter? Do you see any scenario in which Baalke takes Gurley or Gordon?

    4. At ILB – is Stephone Anthony good enough to start at Mike, be an improvement over Wilhoite right away? Remember Bowman took the whole 2010 rookie season to get on the field after looking shaky early on and with Spikes still around.

    1. Try and get the 3 amigos from the U.
      Denzel, Philip and Duke. Now that would be a great catch and they would likely go in that order.

      But sadly, I have to agree with Grant, we have many needs to fill and even if by some miracle we can actually draft those 3 players it won’t be enough to make us SB contenders right now.

      1. G,
        Yup, you’re right, but it’s hard for me not to notice the 1652 yards and 6.8 per carry numbers. My positive take on Duke is that if he could accomplish these numbers with fumbles and injuries, I would love to see what his numbers could be with less fumbles and injuries.

        1. AES…..Good point…we had another back who fumbled quite a bit….Joe “the Jet” Perry and his ‘loaf of bread….

        1. AES…He was hightops find, so I haven’t studied him enough…somewhere around 4-5…. Would love to find him around 5 after picking up Parker or Cooper at 2…….GADZOOKS !!

      1. I thought I saw something within the last day or two where Beasley actually has played MLB. Can’t remember if it was a beat writer post or a Grant post/response.

        1. No, he played RB in high school, but he’s been an edge player at Clemson. The idea he could play ILB is something I’ve seen mentioned elsewhere and Grant and MidWest discussed it the other day.

          But I think it would be a waste. He’s not a good run defender, so I’m not sure why people are thinking he’d be a good fit inside despite his athletic talent. He is however excellent getting after the QB. A natural fit as a weakside OLB in a 3-4 or Leo spot in a 4-3.

      1. He’s being touted as one of the top pass rushers in the draft, seems so unlikely that Baalke would draft him and then move him inside. You don’t buy a Ferrari and then take it to a Rally race just because it has the speed to compete.

          1. edge rushers make a lot more $$$ than inside line backers!! the idea he’d move to ILB is moronic to say the least.

            Kinda like taking one of the top 3 left tackles, a sure fire top 10 pick and say hey ” how about you move inside and play guard? it will only cost you $40 million dollars over your career”

            1. anyone being considers as a top 20 draft pick, can, and has played MANY positions, and played them well over the years. But this late in the game….they are being projected as super high draft picks at positions they will excel at all the while making the MOST money!

  2. I think the order is wrong. OL should be fine except for whether Thomas is ready. The others are in pretty good shape. It is also much easier to get OL help in the middle rounds than corner help. We have two starter-caliber MLBs in Bowman and Wilhoite. If Bow is not healthy, that’s a whole different story. But there isn’t an ILB in the draft worth the 15th pick. Corner is our biggest need. Shareece Wright might not even make the team. He isn’t as good as Dante Johnson or Chris Cook, and those two are not starting material. Jimmy Ward is also coming off an injury. Receiver is a big need, also. Boldin is old, and we don’t know much about Ellington and Patton, but neither is a #1 (nor is Smith). DL is better than people think. Carradine and Lockett are a good pair, and we have very good depth. TE is not a major need. First, Vernon had an off year, and I can’t believe all of the hand wringing. There is no reason he won’t be back strong. Carrier is a solid receiver. Our needs are 1. corner, 2. receiver, 3. ILB, 4. OL, 5. DE. The wild cards that we don’t know are Bowman and Brandon Thomas. If either of those guys won’t play, then that position moves way up.

    But corner is still #1.

    1. “There is no reason he won’t be back strong”

      Was there a reason he had an “off year?”

      1. He was dealing with back issues, you could see it in his play. He played through it and it cost him to be ineffective. He should have been put on the bench to heal, I think Carrier is better than mcdonald. Thats my opiniin and want I saw though.

  3. Hyde, Johnson, Reaser, Acker. 49ers took 4 guys who can play CB or nickle DB last season. They may not feel they need to spend an early pick at CB this year. I think DE may be more of a need. Other than that, I like your analysis; I had pretty much the same thoughts. Nice article.

  4. I don’t think TE is as big a need as that. Davis should look a lot better this year if healthy as he won’t be relied on to be “the” deep threat on the team. Carrier and Millard provide some potential as pass catchers.

    1. That premise is based on an IF and two unknowns. Even if Vernon does look better the team needs to look to the future at the position. On a list of 10 I keep it at #5 maybe 6 at the lowest.

        1. I think the niners will be more successful if they draft a top notch explosive receiver like kevin white or amarie cooper first or even Parker . If not have to go Shelton , Armstead , or brown for d line then Beckham or funchess or dorsett or Perryman second round . Linebacker 3rd round running back 4th round as well as lineman . If offense is very explosive with. 3 great receivers with new rule changes we can be a legitimate contender.

          1. Rob; I also think the Niners need to draft another top receiver this year. They can not just rely on their one free agent stretch receiver. If something were to happen, injury etc.they would be in the same position they were in last year. They were relying on V Davis to fill that role. The year before when he was injured the offense couldn’t score as well. I think Grant was right when he was arguing the importance of V. Davis to the Niner offense last season when he held out. Fortunately the Niners didn’t give him another contract because he sort of fell off the cliff as far as production was concerned. It is highly unlikely that he will come back this season as a consistent performer. Even if he still has some speed he has shown the past two seasons that he is injury prone and therefor not consistently productive through out the season. It would be foolish to hitch ones wagon on V. Davis to be the player he once was. They need another consistent speed receiver to protect against injury to the one they have.

            1. It might also have been a possibility that V. Davis about the drop off in his speed before the start of camp last season and wanted to pressure the organization into another contract before they found out. If he didn’t report they couldn’t find out. This is kind of what C. Johnson did to the Titans when he got his new contract. He never came close to being the player he was. You could see he had lost his speed and was out of shape once he got to camp.

      1. Carrier and Millard are no more unknowns than a rookie.

        People sometimes believe that just because you draft somebody the need is solved.

        There are lots of young guys in this roster and some of them might be the answer for some needs.

        When we lost Takeo no one outside the FO knew Bowman with be the answer.
        RayMac only started after 3 or 4 years.
        VD was considered a bust after 2 years.
        And the list goes on.

        Lets give time to ser what happens.

        1. Good comment Allan. That’s something I’ve tried to convey a few times in the past.

          WRT to the TEs, unless they draft one of the top guys in the second round, I’m not really seeing any guys that offer much more than what the 49ers already have at the position. Any TE that is drafted (other than the top guys at the position) would just go in the mix of guys fighting for spots on the roster behind Davis. And as Allan said, there is no guarantee the top guys in this draft are actually an upgrade over what they already have on the roster.

          Its the same premise with any position. Not trying to suggest the draft isn’t important, it is, in fact it is critical to long term success. But you shouldn’t necessarily look for draft picks to immediately upgrade starting positions, or for low round picks to be better than what is already on the roster.

          1. “But you shouldn’t necessarily look for draft picks to immediately upgrade starting positions, or for low round picks to be better than what is already on the roster.”

            That’s kind of my overall mindset regarding most of the 2nd and 3rd round picks in any draft and all of the later round picks. Baalke likes to have as many later round picks as possible because he knows if you throw enough s#@+ on the wall some of it will stick. In other words if he drafts 9 or 10 guys after the 2nd round, one of them will likely become a valuable starter at their position. But I think that every year most, probably 66%, of the 1st round players and probably 90% of the first 10-15 players drafted are immediate starters and contributors to the team at their position. I know depth is critical to any team, but I still would like to see Baalke be more aggressive in trying to move up in the first round to get a difference maker, like ODB last year, or Amari Cooper and Trae Waynes this year, than several more Reasers, Ackers, Ramseys, Millards, etc. I know any one of those guys I mentioned may still develop into a valuable contributor, but Baalkes history shows us that most of his later picks just end up wasted, cut or traded anyway.

            1. Bar none: Very well stated. He could get away with that policy with little immediate consequence because of the depth of the team and very few needs to fill. The consequences of the failures and wasted picks have become evident now. The went from a team with very few needs to one that has far too many to correct in just one draft in a very short time. This was my fear about Baalke’s draft policy- the negative long term affects. Now he can not take chances on long shot high reward picks ( drafting injured players) because he has to now draft for immediate need. Now we shall see how good ( or bad ) he really is.

            2. Bar None: ive felt the same way for years now! especially on a team with very few roster spots available each year. When you have far too many picks than roster spots…..you can do a couple things. 1: trade excess picks to move up, and grab players with “star” potential.

              or 2: draft guys that are hurt and stash them on the PUP list and red shirt them.

              Honestly, i would have traded the whole 2014 draft for OBJ!

              We are up to our neck in low level talent. the most frustrating part is : a team going to the NFCCG every year…..cleary dosent need or have room on the roster for 13 rookies every year……and is clearly a star player or 2 away from being a dynasty…..but instead of trading picks for prove NFL talent ( jimmy Graham- seahawks) or packaging picks to move up…….we just draft and cut a dozen so-so talent level guys every year!

        2. under the” mikes” young talent never got a chance to get on the field. Bowman sat while spikes stunk it up, Dashon Goldson couldnt crack the line-up. Pretty sure we had Brock & Brown….but clements was the #1 cb. Ray Mac was probably sitting the bench too. the list goes on.

          Coaching so poor that they lacked the self confidence to allow younger players to play. The mikes couldnt risk it, they new they were hanging onto their jobs by a thread!

  5. Imho wr is first, cb second with TE being 3rd. Our line is gonna be good. Martin is not a rookie anymore so he should be much better along with Thomas. Boone plays back up tackle when needed so that shouldn’t be a problem. We need play makers more than muscle . I hope we trade back and pick up an extra 2nd or 3rd while getting DGB or strong. The dream would be to trade up and pick one of the “big 3” wideouts. Rb? We got bush and Payne and Millard coming back.

  6. From Barrows:


    “If you are creating a mock draft — and, oh how I hope you are; the world needs a few more of those — a smart pick might be Washington cornerback Marcus Peters. Not only is Peters, considered by many the top corner in the draft, scheduled to visit the 49ers this month, general manager Trent Baalke was on hand for Washington’s pro day on Thursday.

    Last year, Baalke attended Wisconsin’s pro day, and the 49ers drafted Chris Borland in the third round. In 2011, he and Harbaugh were at Missouri’s pro day a month before they made Aldon Smith a first-round pick.”

  7. Washington SBNation blog opining that SF might look to trade up to 5 or 6 to get Amari Cooper. Washington has the number 5 pick. Is there a chance they could do a trade with McGloughan that Baalke could stomach. He wouldn’t give up the first three draft picks last year for OBJ.


    Here’s a comment from one of the commenters:

    “The Niners have been making a lot of silly moves.
    That’s the kind of team one likes to deal with.”

      1. Not sure why you are saying that. I posted it more for entertainment value and because this topic has been mentioned several times in other threads without a link.

        Having said that there might be a slight chance that Baalke would do a deal with McGloughan (Baalke served under McCloughan from 2005-2010). If it was a possibility I could see a 2015 1st and 3rd from the Niners as well as a pick or two from 2016 (not a first). Next year we should be getting a fair amount of comp picks.

    1. “The Niners have been making a lot of silly moves”
      Hahahaha- This from a Washington Fan? How’s that big trade for RGIII coming? The Rams still love y’all for it!
      So a month ago Trent casually talks about trying to present a balanced front going into the draft so as not to give away draft day intentions. Now 3 weeks out suddenly everyone’s got his draft crush figured out. OK

  8. None of the top 5 needs are screaming critical.

    OL – Thomas, Kilgore, Martin all potential starters/backups. Upside depth can be added without investing a 1st round draft.

    TE – Davis/MacDonald/Carrier. Depends on TE scheme, past was TE heavy. Future?

    WR – 2015 is good, 2016 Boldin is a question mark. Draft another 3rd-4th rounder and see how Patton/Ellington perform. Also can Kap make WR a valuable position to invest in?

    CB – Hyde, Johnson, Reaser, Acker, Brock, Wright. They have CB stock, is it any good?

    MIKE – Bowman/Wilhoite starters today. At minimum backups needed.

    I think the real question with the first round pick is where do you want to have a dominate play making game changer? It has been the Niners ILBs and front 7. I would say invest in the best athlete available at either MIKE or CB.

  9. Biggest need WR, Boldin is gone after this upcoming season…then you have Torrey, Bruce (unknown, slot wr), Quinton (unknown, slot or 4th WR) J. Simpson, T. Holliday, and C. Jacobs. At CB you have Tramaine (starter before injury), Ward (drafted last yr, showed some promise), Johnson (drafted last year, unknown), Acker (drafted last year, unknown), Reaser (drafted last year, unknown), and S. Wright who I think is a camp body. MLB you have Bow (regains to self is not known), Wilhoite (not Willis, but he is good), Moody (unknown), Skov (who I think is promising), Bellore (special Teams guy signed via F/A on 3/3) C. Thomas (not sure if he is ILB or OLB), and D. Bishop. OL you have A.Davis, A. Boone, D. Kilgore, B. Thomas, J. Staley, M. Martin,D. Farrell, F. Fonoti, A. Tiller, J. Looney, and E. Pears. OLB and DL are fine J. Smith (has not retired, dont think he will), D. Dockett, I. Williams, G. Dorsey, T. Carridine (drafted last year), Q. Dial, O. Lawrence, K. Ramse (drafted last year), M. Purcell (Drafted last year), and G. Smith (never heard of). TE you have V. Davis, V. Mcdonald, D. Carrier, K. Nelson, X. Gimble, A. Clevland, and G. Celek….So really we have a lot, I mean a lot of young guys that we have no idea what they can do…a lot! So in reality we should be drafting BPA on Balkes Board.

    1. I would focus on drafting skill position players who are expensive on the free agent market. This way you can have them on rookie contracts for quite a few years. The lower cost players are the ones you want to sign on the free agent market.

  10. Quarterback is one of the 49ers’ most pressing needs. We all know that CK is not a franchise player, and the team needs to begin developing a player to replace him. Assuming that there is a franchise QB or two in this draft, waiting another year to address the position could be disastrous.

      1. CK has quarterbacked one of the league’s worst passing attacks for two full seasons now. Wasn’t the SF passing game ranked 28th and 30th the last two years?

        1. Why don’t you give me the total pass attempts while your at it.. In fact why don’t you pool R Wilsons stats and CKs stats next to each other.. Very comparable there bud. Except the Niners had a lot of problems around them if you hadn’t noticed.

            1. You want to talk football come with facts.. You want to talk about replacing a QB that in 2.5 years has been to 2 nfc title games and a SB your going to get laughed at. You get rid of Kaep there will be 20 teams going after him..

              1. I did offer facts; CK has statistically been a significantly less-than-average NFL QB. Even with great players like Gore, Davis, Boldin, Crabtree (and a historic defense) the guy led a putrid passing game for two whole seasons. CK did not get the 49ers to the Super Bowl, but he kept them from winning it — twice.

              2. Your right it was CK who allowed 34 points in the SB my bad. It was CK who accounted for over 90 percent of the teams offensive output in Seatle in the NFC title game. Those great players you mentioning like Gore who rushed 11 times for 14 yards in that same seatle game. Oh what about the Great Vernon Davis against those same Seahawks he was amazing.. Come on man do some more research. I bet you were one of those guys who year after year wanted to run Alex Smith out of town cause it was mainly his fault right? It’s a weak argument man. Now does Kaep need to improve in some areas of course. But he has a lot of tools to work with. Just my thoughts. Good night.

              3. you talkin about the same kaepernick who threw only int a niners qb has thrown in a super bowl, missed moss on a sure td in the end zone and couldn’t get ball in end zone on 4 tries from the 5 yard line, and accounted for 3 turnovers in 4th quarter vs seahawks, and lost game at the end—need to tell the whole story here

    1. Carter— To start with ” We don’t all know”. Using the term “We”, unless you are the Queen of England or have a mouse in your pocket is very presumptuous. It seems that you are another one of those individuals who doesn’t possess the mental capacity to comprehend the multitude of variables involved in a teams success. Rather your simplistic thinking makes it convenient to blame one individual. So lets blame Bush, Obama and the QB.

      1. WHY get after someone’s ‘mental capacity’ when if I remember correctly, everything he/she said was true ? Are you stating that if someone doesn’t agree with you that they have simplistic thinking? No academia here…just mean talk….

      2. I’m just saying that Kaepernick has QB’d one of the worst passing offenses in the NFL for two straight seasons. Rationalize all you want, but that much is true. The 49ers will need another QB if they want to get better.

    2. With all due respect Carter-“we all know” or “the 49er nation” indications are presumptuous. I understand that one may have a circle of friends holding the same view on a subject as oneself. However it is best not to speak for a large group outside that circle of contact with the assumption that there is a consensus of opinion, too many variables in that equation.

  11. We can build endless mocks speculating on the health/durability of Thomas, Kilgore, Bowman, McDonald, Hunter, Reaser, Acker, Millard, Brock, Ward. The real clues won’t begin emerging until May 3rd.

    Here’s my list without the 5,637 injury scenarios.

    1) Running Back – Baalke’s speaks frequently of a three headed monster. The 49ers need at least one more 3-down power back to rotate with Hyde.

    2) MLB – Even if Bowman returns 100%, the 49ers are thin at the position and need an ILB to match up with Graham.

    3) Receiver – The 49ers need a “number one” every down receiver. Physical enough to beat press coverage, fast enough to get separation and tall enough to highpoint the ball. A player that pairs well with Adam Henry.

    The draft is deep at receiver and running back.

    Not so deep at ILB. Baalke might have to “reach” for an ILB with the 46 pick that won’t be as good as some 3rd rounder in 2016. This has to drive a draft capital hoarder like Baalke nuts.

    I think drafting a corner back can help with the ILB situation. If Marcus Peters is a true shut down corner (that can cover 1-on-1 without safety help), the 49ers can drop a safety into the box to deal with players like Graham. Get a better ILB in 2016.

    1. 4) – Pass Rusher. Lemonier has shown zip. Aldon will split for a massive contract or get suspended.

    2. Unrealistic Mock 1.0

      First – Trade 15 back five or six spots for an extra 3rd. Choose Marcus Peters

      First – Package 46+79+132 to move into late first for Breshad Perriman

      Third – Used newly acquired pick on power running back

      Fourth to Seventh – Mauler guard (who’s draft stock isn’t inflated because people think he can switch to tackle), serviceable interim ILB, backup QB, tall WR to convert to “move” TE, BPA.

    3. There’s not many LBs capable of covering Graham one on one. Trying to find one sounds great, but highly unlikely. Baalke’s tongue in cheek comment about finding a 6’6″ safety gives some clues about how they need to think of other ways to cover a player like Graham.

      1. Scooter:

        Maybe you mentioned this before, but what do you think is a good/reasonable plan for the 49ers to defend against Graham?

        1. I think its not very different to how they’ve defended him in the past. Treat him like a #1 WR, cover him with more than one defender, and on passing downs don’t be afraid to have two DBs on him.

          1. Mangini might have another plan. The same one Belichick used, put your best cover corner on him all day….

      2. Absolutely. The 49ers might have to use the committee approach to deal with Graham. ILB or ST, and extra body in the red zone will help.

        The big question… is if one of the talented rookie CBs is so good they don’t need safety help? If Peters or Waynes can, the extra body in the box will help with Graham, Lynch and Wilson’s runs.

    1. The better pick would of been Jeffrey not Fleener. He never would of played with Vernon there. Plus he can’t block so haurbagh wouldn’t of used him.

        1. CK..

          I was on the Fleener bandwagon .. u-hh .. ’till
          he went to the Colts … but then .. I wasn’t so impressed ..

          To the guy who was rantin’ about Kap ..
          Hey noob … how many sacks did Kap suffer
          last season ? …

          Care to guess why there was so many ?

    2. @Jack….I don’t think that TE is a need even now with Carridine, VD, Cleveland, VMc, and the one coming off IR…Can Fleener outblock any of them ?

      1. “Can Fleener outblock any of them?”

        He’s a mediocre blocker, but a better receiver. He could have stepped right in when Walker left. The production from the #2 TE spot has been sorely missed.

        1. Fleener would have been 3rd string for crying out loud!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

          He he average at best, not worthy of a high draft pick. wasn’t even the best rookie te on his team. would have been a horrible pick hammer!

          Just because ajj was SO BAD, fleener would have been better than ajj. but the argument stops there. ajj was a rotten egg and fleener is a 4 day old egg sandwich!

          the pick should have been Jeffery! period! You dont draft a te in the first round who will be 3rd on the depth chart for years and never higher than 2nd.
          It was laughable then and its worse now! Grant is finally gaining some credibility back ( with some good articles) but the more you pound the fleener drum the more YOU LOSE

  12. I did offer facts; CK has statistically been a significantly less-than-average NFL QB. Even with great players like Gore, Davis, Boldin, Crabtree (and a historic defense) the guy led a putrid passing game for two whole seasons. CK did not get the 49ers to the Super Bowl, but he kept them from winning it — twice.

      1. “…..he guy led a putrid passing game for two whole seasons….”

        “Putrid” .. ?? …

        Harbaugh aint Bill Walsh … The Niners were a “run-first” team..
        (for quite a few years, now in fact) …

        They depend (mostly) on play action passes… but ..
        with the O-Line in shambles … play action doesn’t
        work very often … (or very well for that matter)

        Did you actually watch … any
        of the games ?

      2. “….Even with great players like Gore, Davis, Boldin, Crabtree..”

        Well … two outta four correct .. gives you a 50% grade ..

        Not very good, huh ?

        “…the guy led a putrid passing game for two whole seasons…”

        The Niners have been a run-first team .. for quite awhile, now..
        They have been depending on the play-action pass..

        but …

        with the O-Line in shambles … play action doesn’t work
        very well … (or very often …for that matter)

        Did you even watch any of the games last
        season ??

  13. 1- CB- brock cant’ stay healthy and everyone else on the roster is a big ? Wright might be a player and so might Ward. MIGHT! If we get a shot at Wayne or peters….we gotta take it! solve this problem for the next 6-8 years.

    2- WR- the positions i’ll list below are about as equally important, but WR is a premium position. We hope to not be drafting this high again anytime soon, so if we can get a big time talent here that surpasses either CB ( or if they’re both off the board) Baalke must pull the trigger! TS just singed a deal but its unlikely the niners let him get past 2-3 years as most deals are back heavy and teams rarely fulfill the entire length without asking player to re-do. Boldin is a tough old geezer who is likely playing his last year ( here or anywhere) Patton and ellington = slot wr’s

    3- 3 down edge rusher- Aldon might be a niner for another 6-8 years or he could be around for 6-8 games if he gets into anymore trouble. He could stay clean and leave anyway. Premium position! Type of talent you usually have to pick in the top 15…..same idea as above in the WR comments. Even if Aldon sticks around i see Lynch as more of a pass rush specialist. Someone who works in a rotation on a really good D and isnt asked to defend the run as if he were on a less talented D. With 3 excellent olb pass rushers, the ends would not have to be relied for pressure and i could see IW, GD, & Dial sharing reps at end with tank if needed, the bigger bodies would benefit the new Ilb’s by commanding extra blockers to help

    4- RB – Bush & Hunter have inj, concerns and could never carry the load without Hyde. Hyde is unproven when it comes down to it. With the running game being our bread and butter…..we need to be SURE it is successful! If we could get Gordon or Gurley, it must be considered! A mid round pick would suffice however.

    5 – TE – Davis is getting older and slower while getting paid more and more each year. Vmac cant catch ( shoulda used that pick on eddie lacy) A good TE can act as a security blanket as a check down and really help a young Qb develop. We need to add a playmaker at the position sooner than later.

    6-QB- if 3/4 of you think Kap sucks…..you dont even want to see Gabbert! Only re singed because we dont have another warm body at the position.

    7-OL- next years starting O-line will be: staley, MM, Kilgore, Boone, AD
    thomas and peat will be back-ups. pretty sure we only have 7 active on game day. a rookie would have to pass one of these 7 AND Looney. MM was a 3rd rounder last year. thats extremely high for an interior line men. I thought fore sure hed beat out kilgore for C. He might sooner or later, but you guys around here seem real high on Kilgore so i can see him winning the job and MM and his giant @$$ playing left guard

    1. I agree that I don’t think OL is a must selection in the first few rounds. I suspect the current OL in 2015 will surprise us the way the secondary did in 2014.

      On 3 down edge rushers you say “Premium position! Type of talent you usually have to pick in the top 15”. So, if we are at pick 15 and M. Peters is available and a top edge rusher (Dupree, Beasley, etc.) is also available, which would you choose? What if Devante Parker is also available? I think it will be a tough decision, but OTOH, a nice problem to have.

      1. if either cb is there at 15 i take them over the pass rusher. If one of the wr’s is there then it gets really tough. i like aldon and lynch over the current cb group.

  14. i didnt list IlB but i would add it as 7. Whilhoite and bowman will be decent. We added 2 guys in FA ( one is likely just a ST guy though, Bishop will push MW) i really could see Brooks playing mike. He’s covered Jimmy Graham and at 260+ he seems ideal to blow up the lead blocker and clear things up for Bowman

    1. Brooks will be a key on the defense this year. Hopefully he won’t come in out of shape and with the same bad attitude he had last year. I think there’s a good chance that he won’t because the niners didn’t cut/trade him nor did they ask him to lower his compensation.

      1. Cubus ..

        About Brooks’ “bad attitude” … ya know ..
        I’m now wondering if it was caused by him
        witnessing The Jedster taking the elevator ..and
        giving The Harbs … the shaft …?

        (h-mmmm … guess we’ll never know)

    1. Yeah, Jeff is becoming the Niners’ Joe Namath. Maybe he should set up a weight bench in his front yard.

    2. What great point? He is just pissed nobody wants him. Not for QB coach and not #7 offseason coach.

      I am still with the opinion Harbaugh is overrated. How come no other NFL team tried hiring him

      Tired of the constant Harbaugh worship (sigh). A quick review.
      1. Talented roster assembled.
      2. Clueless coach (Singletary) fails to reach potential with club.
      3. Harbaugh lucks into Luck, gets 49ers gig.
      4. Fans/media go overboard praising Harbaugh (he had virtually no role in building roster).
      5. Harbaugh turns into self-absorbed jerk.
      6. Gets no blame for Kap’s regression in 14 (a teflon man).

      This is on Harbaugh. Mark Jackson acted like a jerk in Golden State, too. Kerr has proven you can do even better without clashing with management. With roster turnover, Tomsula won’t have the same talent to work with that Jimmy had.

      To summarize, this “Harbaugh is great, Baalke/York are jerks” narrative without examining the reality of the situation is tired and played.

      1. oneniner– Harbaugh might have been overrated. He was not Bill Walsh and did have a lot of “head scratching” short comings. The front office’s decision to get rid Harbaugh in isolation might be understandable. It is the way they chose to go about it and the effects this had on the organization is the problem. You can do the right thing for the wrong reason and in the wrong way. That way you are correcting a mistake without recognizing what led you to creating the mistake in the first place. If Harbaugh was a mistake, why didn’t they see his shortcomings when they hired him initially? His hire only reflects their own incompetence. Harbaugh is only one in a series of actions that reflects badly on this front office.

        1. The conclusion that one might draw from Garcia’s comments is that the 49ers will be drafting higher the next few years. The down side is will the front office be able to take advantage of the improved drafting position that Garcia predicts?

          They seem to be valid questions based on York family history.

        2. @wiltalk….as sad as it is to admit it, you’re right about Harbaugh’s hiring….it was more of a coronation with parades and all fitting the age old adage “Do something , even if it’s wrong”. His hire WAS a reflection of their own incompetence. Yes, it has been only one in a series of bad moves ; notable only in the fact that it is the one the FO has corrected….let’s get the rest cleaned up….


        Dr. York sided with GM tery Donahue and fired Steve Marriucci after a 10-6 season.

        Jedork sided with Baalke and fired JH after an 8-8 season….with 3 NFCCG and a SB appearance etc etc

        After the Mooch was fired ( big mistake) we had 8 straight losing season. the next coach, Denins Erickson, sucked and was gone after 2

        Its hard not to see the parallels! The argument isnt about JH. He CLEARLY was a good coach. we can split hairs all day about how good or weather he was great or lucky or whatever.

        the point is about the Yorks. for my first 20 years as a niner fan….we had 3 coaches. Weve now had 6 in 12!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! only 2 have had winning records and they were fired by a foolish owner with the last name York!
        The first time, it took 8 years to climb out of the toilet!
        Jeff’s point was that weve been down this road before…………

        1. Exactly Jeff’s point. Only it’s the current GM in both cases that went along with ownership’s decision. And there still is no mature NFL voice in a position of power in the 49er front office.

        2. This is revisionist history viewed backwards through a telescope.
          > Mooch way over-played his hand trying to get leverage in his negotiations and flirting with rumored offers. He talked his way out of a job. York ego? Yes. Mooch ego? Yes.
          > The abject failure of the Ericson regime was about entering the (inevitable) Cap Hell Period! Dennis didn’t know when he took the job that Donahue wanted to bite the bullitt and gut the team and finally pay the long deferred Cap bills. He was presiding over a decline. Ericson was demoralized and it showed in his coaching and in his team.
          >Nolan was actually a pretty good hire in that he brought a vision to the team for how to go about building a champion. He switched from pass to run, switched to 34, and brought a discipline and toughness to the team that was badly needed. He just didn’t have vision on offensive scheme. He didn’t manage some of his players that well, and didn’t manage games very well. But Nolan contributed mightily to the rough-tough bunch that Harbaugh got success from. ScottyMac did too.
          >Sing: heck, I supported the hire. Mistake by Jed, his FO, and me.
          >Harbaugh. I supported the hire, but I had a little warning bell in the back of my mind about his rather extreme personality that was occasionally evident at Stanford. But even those doubts I thought would only effect his media interactions; survivable. And I remembered that you don’t hire Fred Rogers to take Mount Suribachi; you choose some axho… like Smedley Butler, Chesty Puller or John Basilone.
          Baalke should’ve stood up to Jed? Donahue should’ve stood up to John?
          How often do you say to your boss “Nah, f that!”? When you’ve already made up your mind to resign; that’s when. Pffffffft!

          1. PS- Google: Mt. Suribachi, Smedley Butler, Chesty Puller, and John Basilone please. ‘Mericans should know.

            1. Bro Tuna……Right until you arrived at Mt. Suribachi with Fred Rogers and John Wayne…..you just gave the best history of 49er football, from Marriucci to the present and why…at least that’s how I ‘member it…Good post, and Happy Easter…to all of you….

              1. Yeah, Oregon and All. Have a great weekend however we celebrate it.
                As to my WW2 references, let me say it this way: Jim Harbaugh is a good head football coach, but I would not recommend him to the Sate Department.

            2. BT- as a self proclaimed history dork, i love the WW2 reference. Learned all about Basilone and Mt. Suribachi…….either “band of brothers” or ” the Pacific”. Would recommend watching to anyone who has not.

              Ill buy that BOTH Dr. York and Mooch had big egos……but who came out of the mooch firing a winner? Mooch landed a job with another team and is currently employed by the NFL network.

              York bungled his way to being the worst owner in the NFL and had to turn control of the team over to his snot nosed son.

              If things work out similar this time around……i pray for the Yorks to sell and get the hell out!

              1. I got ya, but life moves on, York and Donahue retired and Mooch has the cush tv job, and the owners win whether they’re good guys or not. Billionaires are used to getting their way.The next one will also.
                : -/ (Shrug)

  15. Largely agree with the analysis, except I’d put OL at No. 1. Yes, it’s the bedrock of any offense, but in terms of ranking needs, the Niners should have enough to get by at the Mike position with Wilhoite and a 2nd-or-3rd round pick … that’s not the future of the franchise, that’s getting by this year. But they might not have enough to survive 2015 with this line. As Grant says, many question marks. And if they’re not answered, Kaep’s season may be shortened, and behind him there’s nothing but a perplexingly re-signed Gabbert. So I’d put the OL at the top of that desperate list.

    1. That’s fair. The Niners can’t realistically address TE or ILB in Round 1, anyway. But if Beasley falls to 15…

      1. If Beasley fell to #15 they would have to take him… and play him at OLB. Pass rush specialist year 1, ROLB next year. He’s not an ILB.

        1. You’re saying take Beasley regardless of who else is available at pick #15 in the draft. Is that correct? What if Peters or Waynes is available? What if one of the big 3 WRs is available? For fun, what if Mariotta is available?

          1. Mr. Beasley trumps every player you mentioned except Mariotta, and then I would expect a draft haul from someone wanting him….

          2. Absolutely. The only WR I’d consider taking over Beasley is Cooper. And Beasley is better than the top CBs, and better than Mariota.

            1. OK. So there is this rumor that Baalke covets Cooper and is willing to trade up to #5 for him. Washington has that pick. Perhaps Baalke and former boss McGloughan could make a deal that includes some of our non-first round 2016 picks (since it appears we will have a plethora of compensation picks). If we were able to make the deal, would you agree with the Cooper pick or would you try to get Beasley if he is still available.

              Personally, I wouldn’t have a problem with a bold move up particularly if it includes some non-first round 2016 picks – say first and third in 2015 and 2nd and 4th in 2016 (I did not check to see if this results in equality on the trade chart, which chart is only a guide).

              1. For Beasley to make it to #15 he’s going to have to make it past the following teams that all have a pretty big need for rush linebacker;


                That just includes the teams that are in front of us, there are still a couple behind us as well that could be willing to move up for Beasley. As said before the chances of him “falling” to 15 are about slim as they can be.

              2. I’d be happy with Beasley or Cooper in that scenario, cubus. I’d probably take Cooper over Beasley.

              3. After the combine, White was the hot prospect and it seemed as though he had overtaken Cooper. Recently it seems that Cooper is again the #1 WR prospect. Did I miss something in the last two weeks that resulted in this reversal?

              4. The majority of people that put White over Cooper after the combine were victims of basic knee-jerk reaction. Before the combine you could just as easily find White as the #3 receiver behind both Cooper and Parker and rightfully so. Media is quick to react to things like 40 times because it gives them something to write about and justify their job. Most GM’s won’t alter their board based upon a combine score because they’re going to base their rankings on game tape and personal interviews. They already know how fast the player is long before that combine day ever happens.

                The ranking sites that are putting Cooper back at #1 are simply the ones that are being honest enough to admit that they overreacted.

  16. Interesting article at Niners Nation re WR “playmaker scores” derived by Football Outsiders. Here’s the original Football Outsiders article:


    From the article:

    “Playmaker Score is based on a statistical analysis of all Division I wide receivers drafted in the years 1996-2012. Playmaker Score consists of the following elements, which are the factors that historically correlate to NFL success:
    The wide receiver prospect’s best or “peak” season for receiving yards per team attempt (i.e., a wide receiver with 1,000 receiving yards whose team passed 400 times would score a “2.50”)
    The wide receiver prospect’s peak season for receiving touchdowns per team attempt
    The difference between the prospect’s peak season for receiving touchdowns per team and the prospect’s most recent season for receiving touchdowns per team attempt (this factor is simply “0” for a player whose peak season was his most recent season)
    The wide receiver’s vertical jump from pre-draft workouts
    A binary variable that rewards players who enter the draft as underclassmen and punishes those who exhaust their college eligibility
    The wide receiver’s college career yards per reception
    The wide receiver’s rushing attempts per game during their peak season for receiving yards per team attempt.”

    Here is a list of their top 10 WRs in order of score:


    One of their three top sleepers is Stefon Diggs, who the Niners visited with.

    1. In reading the article more closely, I see they make a distinction between Playmaker Projection and Playmaker Rating. That top 10 list is based on their Playmaker Projection, a kind of mix between their Playmaker Rating and the round where the “experts” (NFL Draft Scout) believe the player will be drafted. If you just look at their Playmaker Rating scores, the top player list is quite different. The top players above the score of 80% are, in order:

      DeAndre Smelter, Georgia Tech
      Titus Davis, Central Michigan

      Who is DeAndre Smelter? Maybe a great “value pick.”

      226 lbs.
      40 speeds (NFL Draft Scout) 4.42, 4.52, 4.62

      “BOTTOM LINE Like Eric Decker, Smelter is a former baseball player with outstanding hand-eye coordination. Both will have entered the draft with questions lingering about a season-ending injury (Lisfranc for Decker). Smelter is an uber-athlete with a background of excellence in every sport he has played. He plays well beyond his experience level at wide receiver. His toughness, natural instincts and football intelligence should earn him a spot on a depth chart, provided there are no lasting effects from his ACL tear.”

        1. 6’2, 226 lbs and “toughness, natural instincts and football intelligence” are almost verbatim what Baalke says he looks for in a player.

      1. Baalke should make a deal, for he who smelt Smelter dealt it.

        (anyone remember “jinx me a Coke?”)

        Stash him on NFI. A full year to heal, do film study and get 1-on-one tutelage from Adam Henry could pay off big in 2016.

        1. Here’s something else I just found about Smelter:

          “DeAndre Smelter, who also was at the combine, has not been able to work out because of a torn ACL he suffered in November, but he measured in at 6-foot-2, 227 pounds. He has 11 1/8-inch hands and 33-inch arms. No date has been set yet for his workout.”

              1. George:

                I think we’re all sold. Your next task, should you decide to accept it, is to convince Baalke to take him. Does Baalke like comedy? :)

      2. George, I’ve watched Smelter’s games against Virginia and Virginia Tech.

        He looks a significantly better prospect than his teammate Darren Waller, who is getting some attention as a possible late round prospect. In all honesty I’m not sure why Waller is getting more attention than Smelter.

        Smelter gets up to speed quickly and does a good job of getting on the DB, though his long speed looks only average. He’s also got decent quickness and fluidity to his game, to go with very good size. Hands catcher and looks a coordinated athlete. Add in a tough and physical approach to the game (route running, through the catch and blocking) and there are some things there to really like.

        He is however very raw with limited experience, though given his limited exposure I was somewhat impressed with how many routes he ran (especially given he played at Georgia Tech). But he really needs work cleaning up his route running, especially at the top of the stem. He’s a good athlete with some natural ability, but he’ll likely need some patience while he develops his game, and he also comes with injury question marks, the knee injury just being the latest.

        As a late round prospect I like him as a guy that has the potential to outplay his draft status, but he may take some time and development before he really starts contributing as a receiver.

        1. Smelter would easily be in the mid round conversation if it wasn’t for the injuries. He’s a good pick George in the for fun idea that Baalke likes to take players that have slipped due to recent injury.

          I wouldn’t be surprised to see someone use a 6th or even a 5th on him. It’s a big IF but IF he stays healthy in the NFL he’s got gobs of potential.

          1. If he can’t stay healthy 12 games in college, I’d venture to say his odds of doing it for 16+ in a NFL season are slim to none….

        2. Previous post deleted? Scooter Darren Waller Is getting attention as a possible covert to TE he is 6’6″ ran a official time of 4.46 has “soft hands” and can block. Smelter I submit is an entirely different prospect.

          1. I’m really not a fan, hightop. He did nothing at college, he’s not a good receiver. The only thing he has going for him is his size/ speed combo.

            1. I’m not a fan just see him as having later round potential as a possible TE .Side note no one had big numbers a Georgia Tech. He led that ahem searing O with 17 catches in 2013 ,hard to get a take there. Knock on him is stiffness in routes.Enjoying your elite guys takes by the way.

  17. I agree overall with the needs…the order is somewhat subjective. I don’t see Baalke drafting an OL with his first pick. He could, but it’s not likely. The guy I’d take is Eddie Goldman. Why? Because he’s a beast…a guy who ties up at least 2 OL on every snap. Count Justin Smith gone…even if he plays some, it won’t be anywhere near the number of snaps he’s played in the past. Mangini loves big DL, especially in the middle…that’s Goldman. And don’t give me “he’ll only be there for 1st and 2nd down”. BS. Goldman played both DT and DE at FSU. No reason he shouldn’t be part of a hybrid DL on 3rd down. I think Anthony’s the ILB to draft…he doesn’t necessarily excel at any one thing, but does a number of things well, including covering receivers. With Wilhoite and now Bishop, there’s enough depth to allow Anthony to learn. Totally agree with the bad TE situation…I know Baalke really likes Walford, and I think he’ll draft him. The dude’s a real playmaker. A good OT should be the first OL Baalke drafts…there’s not much behind Staley and AD. Among Kilgore, Thomas, M. Martin and possibly Looney, there’s some depth on the interior. Even so, taking an OG at some point would be smart. I also see no reason Thomas shouldn’t be the starter at LG. Players come back from ACL’s all the time…don’t see why with all the healing time he’s had that he can’t be a stud. I’d like to see Baalke draft a big CB…maybe Rowe or someone like him. I know Peters is very tempting, and if Baalke and Tomsula are convinced his troubles are behind him, I surely wouldn’t object to adding a baller like him to the secondary. He has star written all over him. As for WR, adding a big guy would better balance that corps. Vince Mayle would be a candidate. With 10 “needs” as you say, it makes all the sense for Baalke to trade down in the 1st rd and potentially others to garner more picks. The notion of trading up to get a premier WR is foolish and something Baalke just won’t do. Bigger fish to fry. I can’t wait to see TB do his thing picking at #15…it ought to be fun.

  18. Think about what you are saying for a second. You are saying, on defense, we need help in the middle and on the outsides – other than that the 49ers defense is stout…. Scary. You are also saying, on the offensive side of the ball, we need help all across the front line – other than that we’ve got the QB protected and are opening holes for the RBs….. Very scary. And that’s why we were 8-8 last season, and this season looks like it could be even worse.

  19. The best player available at pick 15 will be running back. Not a huge position of need for the Niners but adding Gurley or Gordon would give them needed depth and both are players that are worthy of a first round pick. I don’t think any of the premier edge pass rushers will last to 15 nor any of the top three receivers. There isn’t an ILB worth picking at 15 this year so if they don’t go running back then I would go CB as either Waynes or Peters will probably still be available.

  20. One point Grant made is that if the Niners don’t get a good Mike early that they’ll have to draft one plugger LB and one cover LB. I’d disagree with that being the only way. If you’re subbing a cover backer and thereby tipping your match-ups, you might as well sub a nickel safety or nickel corner who cover better. Its a tremendous advantage to have 3-down backers if you’ve got them, but there are other ways to scheme coverages if you don’t.

      1. Not a good idea. Johnson is too tight in the hips which negates his speed. Putting him on a deep threat like Graham without any help would be a disaster.

        1. Graham is hardly a shifty receiver, Mid. Johnson shouldn’t have any speed issues keeping up with Graham, and he’s got good size for a DB. He’s a better option than putting a LB or safety on him.

          And who said anything about putting him on Graham without help? Leaving Graham 1-on-1 with anyone is a bad idea.

              1. No, re: Johnson having enough speed to run with Graham.

                Johnson has the speed to run with Graham. Graham is fast for a TE but he’s not fast. Nor is Graham shifty/ elusive. He’s a huge target with good speed for his size. If Johnson can’t keep up with Graham they may as well cut Johnson now, because he sure as heck won’t be able to keep up with any WRs.

                The main issue with covering Graham with Johnson comes down to whether Johnson has the technique to do it, and whether he has the size to not get out-muscled. But they shouldn’t be leaving Johnson to cover Graham 1-on-1.

        2. It was Baalke who mentioned Dontae Johnson as a candidate to perhaps match up on Graham. Realistically, Graham is playing in the most physical division in football and he’s going to get beat up. No one in the west is going to sit back and allow him to run free. Sometimes covering him with a linebacker and a safety over the top will make a nice S’more sandwich out of Graham crackers….

          1. @Razor….I agree with your take, we don’t have that 6’6″ CB, so you have to ‘chip’ Graham off the line (according to their scheme) and pick him up with a big corner in coverage….his life isn’t going to be that rosey…breaking stride takes a lot out of receivers….

    1. The Graham situation is a pickle.

      ILB – Graham’s a total mismatch. Imagine preparing for Lynch’s runs and Wilson’s scrambles, also having to deal with Graham.

      Mix n Match Zone – ILBs can chuck Graham at the line or drop into into passing lanes… passing Graham off to another ILB or BD. But that invites blown assignments.

      Nickle – Putting a safety or corner on Graham makes sense, but Seattle would run right at that formation.

      DB in the box in 3-4 base – Would counter Graham, but would leave the secondary vulnerable. Wilson’s a very accurate deep passer.

      There’s no painless solution.

      But what if the 49ers had a true shut down corner? One of those rare guys that can cover without safety help? If Peters or Waynes is a can do that, it would be the perfect solution.

      A shut down corner can hide a multitude of front 7 sins. Dropping a safety into the box would be far more effective vs Graham and Lynch then over-drafting an ILB.

      The 49er offense faced 8 to 9 in the box for years. Its about time we turn the tables.

      My question to everyone… can Peters or Waynes cover on an island with no safety help?

      1. Brodie, I think we just have to accept a top shelf player like Graham is going to win his fair share of plays. I Tink you are right they need to use a variety of methods to defend him. And a guy like Graham will mean you need to leave other players one on one and hope the coverage holds up.

        1. Willis was the Anti-Graham. That’s gone. The 49ers will have to be creative.

          A true shut down corner reduces the risk of creativity, and gives a numbers advantage vs the run. .

          My whole draft scenario pivots on whether Peters or Waynes can cover receivers without safety help. I’m hoping a cornerback knowledgeable blogger clues us in, the way JPN clarifies legal questions.

          Again, I’m not talking about a corner that’s considered pro-bowl or top level. Its that rare ability to cover all by himself that transforms a defense.

          1. Belichick put Talib on him and shut him down until he had to leave the game, and then a shorter, smaller Kyle Arrington took over and did well. I think Johnson can handle him….

          2. “Willis was the Anti-Graham. That’s gone.”

            Perception doesn’t match reality.

            In three games against Graham from 2011-13, Willis gave up a QB rating of 158.3 while covering Graham.

            8-10, 131 yards, 2TD, 0 Int

  21. I believe Willis has been playing jack the past few seasons since bowman passed him up and took over the Mike spot. Isn’t that right? Or am I mistaken?

    1. Cubus, it’s good to hear that Q. Patton and A. Ellington were down in Arizona training with Kaep. If any of the news coming out of AZ regarding improvements Kaep has made in his “biomechanics” translate into becoming a better pocket passer, then hopefully working with his young receivers helps him remember that there are other receivers on the field besides his first read. Like all of us I was sorely disappointed, even disgusted at times, in Kaep’s regression this past season. But because of what’s he shown us he’s capable of in his 4 road playoff wins,I’m not even close to giving up on him yet. If Grant’s actually right and the Niners do shore up the Oline early in the draft, and Boldin and T. Smith actually do become the best WR duo in the NFC West, then Kaep will be out of excuses and will have to get his head out of his a$$ and show us what he’s made of. I believe last season was an abberation caused by a variety of mitigating factors; poor Oline play, poor play calling, poor coaching and yes plain and simple poor quarterbacking. But I think Kaeps going to rise like Lazarus from the dead and reward the faith The Faithful still have in him.
      Go Niners!

      1. Although this might sound contrarian (given Kaep athleticism), I’m hoping that what he learned most from Warner is to take what the defense gives you (I think Kurt phrased it as “making the easy throws”). I want him to force the ball less and take those underneath throws. Then when that’s established and with the new speed at WR, it will open up the deep stuff more. I saw some of that last year near the end of the season. I thought he played fairly well against Seattle in the 2nd game. He didn’t force the ball much at all and as a result had no turnovers. We were in that game and could have won if we hadn’t had so many players knocked out of the game. Kaep did not have great stats that game, but he was playing against an elite defense. He played well enough and did not turnover the ball.

  22. If Scherff or Collins are still on the board at 15, it would be hard to pass on either. We need another immediate or future anchor on the interior line. These are the only O-line guys I would take at 15.

  23. Why does everyone think that players can simply move from position to position?
    Switching from from 3-4 OLB to an MLB isnt simple at all. The roles are vastly different, I would make the argument that it would be easier to make the transition from from SS to MLB than from 3-4 OLB to MLB.
    MLB’s need to be able to diagnose a play quickly, scrape from sideline to sideline without getting tied up, to fill holes and hold the POA, as well as drop back and back in coverage. Short area quickness, change of direction and instincts are key here.
    OLB’s don’t need instincts nearly as much they need a burst, the ability to bend and dip and hold the edge, instincts are seldom tested for them.
    Instincts are critical for reactionary positions ie.qb,rb,db’s,mlb, and 4-3 olbs… not as necessary for task driven positions ie fb ol,wr,te,dl and 3-4 olbs.

  24. Happy Easter All!

    Bengals give up 3rd Round Pick for SF’s 15th pick-

    Pick 21 – Breshand Perriman WR UCF

    Pick 46 – Stephone Anthony ILB Clemson

    *Trade* 49ers trade their 7th Round Pick to Cleveland to move up two spots-

    Pick 77(Clev) – Clive Walford TE Miami

    Pick 85(Cin) – Cedric Ogbuehi OT Texas A&M

    Pick 126 – Henry Anderson DE Stanford

    Pick 132 – Jacoby Glenn CB UCF

    Pick 151 – Zack Hodges OLB Harvard

    Pick 189 – Anthony Jefferson SS UCLA

    Pick 254 – Michael Dyer RB Louiville

    1. Razor,

      Like you picks at 126 and 254. Anderson is going to be a very solid pro and Dyer was destined to be a day 1 or 2 pick before getting side tracked.

    2. Nice one razor. You’ve covered off pretty much every need and have a lot of good looking players in there!

  25. Happy Easter All!

    Bengals give up 3rd Round Pick for SF’s 15th pick-

    Pick 21 – Breshand Perriman WR UCF

    Pick 46 – Stephone Anthony ILB Clemson

    *Trade* 49ers trade their 7th Round Pick to Cleveland to move up two spots-

    Pick 77(Clev) – Clive Walford TE Miami

    Pick 85(Cin) – Cedric Ogbuehi OT Texas A&M

    Pick 126 – Henry Anderson DE Stanford

    Pick 132 – Jacoby Glenn CB UCF

    Pick 151 – Zack Hodges OLB Harvard

    Pick 189 – Anthony Jefferson SS UCLA

    Pick 254 – Michael Dyer RB Louiville

    1. I saw that article. Reminiscent of his rookie year. Good luck wid dat Crabs. It seems he’s more interested in $$ than a ring. In his place I’d have been looking for a legit contender with a decent QB that needed a possession receiver.

    2. I read the comments after the NBC article on Crabtree. Granted it’s just a bunch of guys posting comments on a football article, but the overwhelming jist of the replies is extremely negative towards Crabtree. He’s called a diva, overrated, a slow possession receiver, entitled, poor teammate, etc. Granted some of the responses come from the same idiot Seahawk trolls you see commenting on any 49er related article anywhere, but there appear to be a good mix of posters that are fans of other teams, Dolphins, NY Giants, Saints, Patriots, erc., that should have no particular anti-49ers bias. Because Crab has been linked to the Dolphins there are several Fins fans and they all seem to be against Miami paying Crabtree even 3 million. Why all the hate against Crabtree? Kind of a strange phenomenon.

    1. Interesting mock. I love chaos mocks that go against the grain.

      “Risers” Landon Collins at 9 and Dorial Green-Beckham at pick 14 push good players down to the 49ers.

      Armstead at 20, Peat at 21 bolster modest trade back scenarios. So “fallers” Gregory at 26 and Depree at 28.

      Breshad Perriman not in the first round. Phillip Dorsett is at 31.

  26. Here’s an easter ‘egg’ for you….I say that “Cowboy” comes out and re-ups for his final year….this week!….no oracle, just Irish….

    1. Oregon ..

      Sure hope yer right ! …
      But .. otoh .. I’m thinkin’ that’s exactly what’s
      gonna happen ..
      You’ll see .. when he announces his decision
      (next week) … it’ll be for one more go-round ..

      (Don’t think he’d take this long .. to decide ..
      just to pick up his ball and bat and go home)

  27. Elite prospects at #15? Making the case for Breshad Perriman.

    So far I’ve profiled Alvin “Bud” Dupree and Cameron Erving as players I think are likely to be available at #15 that fall into the category of potential elite prospects. Next up, lets look at a guy that has been getting a lot of attention of recent times – Breshad Perriman, WR from Central Florida.

    I’m not exactly breaking the mold with this one. I know a lot of people here are already getting on board with Perriman as an option, and are well aware of what he brings to the table. Regardless, lets take a look at the measurables:

    – 6’2″, 212 lbs, 32″ arms, 9 1/4″ hands
    – Bench: 18 reps
    – 40: 4.24s
    – Vert: 36.5″
    – Broad: 127.0″

    Obviously Perriman has gotten a lot of attention following his ridiculous 40 times at his pro day. That is elite level speed. What makes it even more impressive is he’s a sub-4.3 guy that has very good size and strength, combined with good agility and explosiveness. He is a very rare athlete for the WR position.

    Importantly, Perriman isn’t just a good athlete in shorts, his athleticism translates to the football field. Lets take a look at the stats:

    – 50 catches for 1,044 yards (20.9 ypc) and 9 TDs in 2014. Accounted for 34% of team total receiving yards
    – 39 catches for 811 yards (20.8 ypc) and 4 TDs in 2013. Accounted for 22% of team total receiving yards
    – 26 catches for 388 yards (14.9 ypc) and 3 TDs in 2012. Accounted for 12% of team total receiving yards

    The first thing that stands out is Perriman’s yards per catch. He used his size and speed advantage to be a legitimate deep threat in college. He’s not just a deep threat WR though. Of his 50 catches in 2014, 18 of them were third down catches, with 14 of those converted to first downs. The second thing that stands out is he was an immediate contributor as a freshman, and progressively increased his role with the team each year, accounting for more than one third of the team’s receiving yards as a junior in 2014.

    Perriman has top end acceleration. He explodes off the snap, quickly putting a few steps on a defender that is playing him tight. He also has good agility and enough strength to avoid the jam and release inside or outside. With his speed he is then able to maintain that separation. When given a cushion he uses his acceleration and speed to eat up the cushion quickly and get the defender turned. As a result he often had DBs playing well off him in coverage.

    Perriman is very sudden with excellent agility for someone his size, and can create a lot of separation out of his breaks. This is particularly obvious when Perriman uses his ability to get the defender turned to set up easy completions on comebacks, throttling down suddenly to create massive Odell Beckham-esque cushions to sit down in. Perriman also makes good use of his suddenness on in- and out-breaking routes to create separation.

    When going over the middle, Perriman knows how to use his size and strength to box out defenders, though this is still something of a work in progress. He also uses his size advantage down the field to go up above defenders for the ball. Perriman is also dangerous after the catch, with the size, strength, agility and speed to be tough to bring down if given the ball in space.

    If Perriman had a better QB throwing him the ball last season he could easily have been one of the leading college WRs (as it was he was tied for 27th in most receiving yards). There were a lot of plays that were left on the field as a result of underthrown passes, something a guy like Kaepernick should have less of an issue with given his arm strength. Quite simply, Perriman routinely got separation in 2014, and most NFL QBs would have taken better advantage of it.

    However, as with all the prospects I am profiling, the good does not come without some bad. While Perriman ran a fairly advanced route tree at UCF (not the place for a WR to go if they want to pad their stats with WR screens), he is something of a lazy route runner. Despite having excellent suddenness in his game, he relies on his speed rather than route running to win matchups. He rounds his routes far too much and will tip off savvy defender where he is going.

    Then there are the drops. There is no getting around it, he had a lot of them last year. The frustrating part is he is a hands catcher that doesn’t often let the ball into his body, and can make some difficult grads look easy. But whether it is focus or some other reason he lets too many balls get through his hands and hit the dirt – some fairly easy ones too.

    Perriman also isn’t a guy that will reliably win 50-50 balls. He can be too passive when having to fight for the ball, and on more than one occasion simply gave up on a play that was underthrown (which happened a lot) rather than cut off his route and work back to the ball to fight for it. This led to more than one simple INT on throws in his direction. I again put this down to something of a lazy streak in Perriman, and laziness is something I have read about him when it comes to work habits too. There are some genuine question marks over whether Perriman will be willing to put the hard work in to maximise his potential.

    A more minor complaint on my part regarding Perriman is that while he has the size and leaping ability to get above defenders, he too often fails to high point the ball. He mis-timed his jumps on more than one occasion going for the ball from what I saw. Its odd, as he seems to do a good job tracking the ball most of the time, so I think this may be a case of overthinking things on occasion rather than letting natural instincts take over.

    Overall, despite his flaws, I see Perriman as a guy that can be a contributor and difference maker from day 1, just as he was at UCF. His combination of size and speed puts real strain on DBs, and can change how teams defend you. And if he is willing to put the work in, he has the tools to become one of the most feared WRs in the NFL.

    Some might suggest #15 is too early for Perriman, and that talk of taking him so high is purely a knee jerk reaction to his 40 time. This is largely based on Perriman not receiving much attention during the 2014 college season. However, it didn’t take long for pundits to begin to take notice after he declared in early January, and by early February Mel Kiper was already mocking him to the 49ers at #15. He is the elite athlete at the WR position this year, that at worst should be able to provide a legitimate deep threat for his team early on in his career. And his potential upside is tremendous.

    1. Scooter_McG, Thanks for the great write up. It would be interesting to see how Adam Henry can help with his routes and high points. Odell Beckham seems to be great at those.

      Not saying Henry can magically plug Beckham like attributes into Perriman, but its a nice possibility.

      I think some combination of Peat, Perriman, Peters should be there at 19-21. A tradeback to snag an extra 3rd rounder would be perfect.

      And if there are any top level fallers around 28-32, the extra 3rd can be packaged with 46 to move up.

      1. Thanks Brodie.

        I think the areas that Henry stresses as a coach are the areas Perriman would most benefit.

              1. I’m sure he’ll have a say and it will be listened to, but I think the decisions will largely be made by the scouting department.

    2. I like Perriman a lot, but not a 15. Trading down to possibly obtaining a 25-32 in the 1st and perhaps a couple of picks in the late 2nd could put us position to acquire 3 very good players in the first 2 rounds.

      A few months ago I would have coveted a WR at 15, but with the additions of TSmith and JSimpson the need for a WR has diminished (imo).

      O-line and D-line and LB are now the priorities for me. If Waynes is on the board at 15 he could be an option because he is the best at the CB position and he could become a starter from day one. A stud on the O-line might become a starter if BThomas or Marcus Martin are not don’t shine in TC. Scherff or LCollins at 15 are pretty tempting, and they are starter material.

      LB is another positional need because we don’t know how NBow’ reconstructed knee will holdup and Wilhoite could be leapfrogged by someone like Perryman, Anthony, and McKinney and even Paul Dawson if we choose one of them with one of our 2 2nd rd picks (if we can obtain those two picks in the 2nd).

      For the D-line, players like J.Phillips, Michael Bennett, and Carl Davis could be solid 2nd rd picks that could be compete with Carradine and Dial for playing time.

      I have CDavis (sliding to 3rd rd) in one of my mocks from early last month. Of the 3 D-line players I mentioned above CDavis might make it to a late 2nd or mid 3rd.

      One thing is certain, things are going to get very interesting around here in the next couple of weeks.

    3. scooter- thanks for the scouting report! you obviously put a lot of thought or effort into it:)

      This team has been so starved for some speed on offense the last few years, that the idea of landing BP is almost irresistible.

      im a lot more comfortable with either cb or A.Cooper or kevin white at 15. Im not sure why im not high on D.Parker to be honest with you. I think i see Cooper as the most sure fire cant miss lowest floor type guy. Not blazing fast but a true #1 for many years. maybe like a tim Brown. K.White along with BP and DGB seem like guys with fast potential, huge ceiling! all 3 COULD be better pro’s than Cooper, but at least 1 and possible all could be busts. White is the least likely to bust IMO and that is why i like him at 15 ( i know its unlikely he or cooper last till 15).

      I think Baalke should trade up for one of the 4 ( whire, cooper,Waynes, peeters) or trade back a few spots and roll the dice on DGB or BP.

      IM not a fan of using #15 on an o-line because, as ive stated above, i think the starting o-line next year will be: staley, Martin, Kilgore, Boone, AD…..with Thomas and Pears as the backups that dress on game day.

      Im starting to like the idea of Beasly as a pass rusher too, but he will be gone by 15 and with Lynch and aldon being fairly young, that duo could terrorize qb’s for years to come without the help of a high draft pick in the front 7

  28. Maiocco on trading up, down.

    “General manager Trent Baalke later said the price in draft picks
    would have seen the 49ers, in essence, give up the rights to select
    Jimmie Ward, Marcus Martin, Chris Borland and Carlos Hyde to select Beckham.”

    Ward 30 (620), Hyde 57 (330), Martin 70 (240), Borland 77 (205) – Total standard chart 1,395

    Beckham was pick 12 – 1,200 standard chart

    1. Just now hearing about Lon Simmons. One of the best sports announcers I’ve heard and a voice that I grew up listening to since my early SFGiants days.

      Mr. Simmons

      1. A quick take on Simmons. I will always hear his masterful description of Steve Young’ TD run against the Vikes.
        We have truly lost one of the greats.

  29. Here is my updated mock draft – Easter edition:

    Round 1. Marcus Peters, CB, Washington. Sorting through the chuff, I think Peters is the guy the 49ers are targeting this year. They’re spending a lot of time with him – they met with him at the combine, Baalke attended his pro day, and they have set up a private meeting with him at 49er HQ. That would be a lot of effort for a player they aren’t interested in. And he’d be a great fit for the way the 49ers like their CBs to play.

    Round 2. Stephone Anthony, ILB, Clemson. Great athlete for the position, that can hold up against the run and pass. Like Bowman, has the size and athleticism to play either of the ILB spots. The 49ers met with Anthony at his pro day, and he has a skill set I think the 49ers will like.

    Round 3. David Johnson, RB, Northern Iowa. Powerful runner with good size and speed combination, and a nice all round skill set. Good complement to Hyde and Bush.

    Round 4. Stefon Diggs, WR, Maryland. Reading the tea leaves, I think Diggs is the WR Baalke will want. He is exactly the type of WR Baalke has shown he covets. He’s a smaller framed WR (though still above 6’0″) that is fast with good quickness and suddenness to his game, and a natural hands catcher. And he can be had in the middle rounds. Injuries have been an issue for him, but when healthy he has been a consistent producer for Maryland since his freshman year. The 49ers met with Diggs at his pro day.

    Round 4 (comp). Mitch Morse, OL, Missouri. A smart OL with decent quickness that played OC, RT and LT in college but would likely be best served playing inside in the NFL.

    Round 5. Kyle Emanuel, ILB/OLB/DE, North Dakota State. As I’ve discussed previously, despite playing DE in college, for the 49ers Emanuel could fit not only at OLB, but also as a strongside ILB in their 3-4. He offers versatility. He’s a small school prospect with impressive but inflated pass rush stats. Short arms, but has a very high work ethic and displays good quickness and strength at the point of attack. Great hustle. I love the way this guy plays and he’s become one of my draft crushes this year.

    Round 6. Craig Mager, CB, Texas State. The 49ers already have a lot of young depth at CB, and with Peters in round 1 this may seem an odd pick. But Mager is a fearless and aggressive defender with decent size that could play a similar role to Ward – a hybrid CB/Safety playing primarily in the slot. And he should be a great asset on STs with his attitude.

    Round 7. Tory Slater, DT/DE, West Georgia. DII prospect that is starting to generate some buzz, and has a meeting scheduled with the 49ers. Big guy (6’5″, 290lbs) that is very strong and explosive. Had 31 reps in bench press at pro day, as well as 35″ vertical and 10’3″ broad, very good marks for a DL. Had 10 sacks last year and 16.5 TFL. Former high school WR.

    Round 7 (comp). Chris Bonner, QB, Colarado State-Pueblo. Big time project with great height, strong arm, and nice pocket instincts.

    1. SI after his pro day – “He exhibited a crazy-good backpedal (Peters runs as quickly backward as some players do forward) and he was very flexible when turning his hips to cover.”

      and the magic words…

      “Perhaps the most startling aspect of Peters’s skill set is his closing speed, which shows up on tape and which was even more readily apparent a few feet away in person.”

      I’m not that adept at recognizing the best corner traits, but “Closing Speed” is the phrase I hear most about shut down corners. I heard “closing speed” about Darrell Green. Later Deion Sanders.

      I’m sold. As long as his heads screwed on straight, grab Peters.

      1. I think that is why the 49ers are so keen to spend time with him – get to know the player and get a read on whether his outbursts are likely to become an issue in the pros. I think they’ll come away feeling confident he is simply a passionate player.

    2. Very nice mock Scooter really enjoying your draft work this year-Slater and Bonner(got kudos at CBS in new article!) are guys you have brought to my attention,Mitch Morse is a guy I like a lot and Peters is the guy I think Baalke likes in the first, maybe Baake caught a glimpse of my guy Halliday at WASH Proday. The following is my mock update: (1)OL Cameron Erving,I’m with Scooter on this guy can play center, guard and also projects at LT,plays with attitude and intelligence! ;(2) DL Eddie Goldman has dropped a bit, slow 40 and supposed lack of explosiveness ,the guy is a stud and we luck into him here :(3) ILB Paul Dawson is another guy who drops because of sketchy combine/pro,we luck out again a get a baller here ;(4a) DE Henry Anderson a poor mans JJ! ;(4b) CB Ifo Ekpre-Olomu smallish but can really play ; (5) WR Chris Conley just killed it at the combine ,I don’t care if the guy watches Fellini and Bergman and reads the Illiad in his spare time sign him! ;(6) QB Conner Halliday-don’t let the Hawks grab him; (7) FB/RB sleeper power back Zack Zenner;(7b) WR Mario Alford speed demon mini-might who can return ! UDFA Brian Parker TE ; Kyle Brinza K .

        1. Thanks Scooter doubt Goldman falls to us at 2nd slot but if he is there gotta say yes,Mario Alford for some of us who haven’t checked him out was Kevin White’s teammate here is a quick Roto hit on him: Mario Alford -http://www.rotoworld.com/recent/cfb/133788/mario-alford,yes he is diminutive but blazing fast…a genuine sleeper!

    3. Getting a little lazy Scooter leaving out the pick #’s. Did Baalke draft Peters at #15 or #30 in the first round, does make a bit of a difference.

    4. I wouldn’t complain if the draft went like this Scooter. Some good players and value across the board. Peters is a true boom or bust for me, but the more I read the more I think he probably isn’t quite the attitude problem he was rumored to be when he was dropped from the team. Sarkisian had nothing bad to say about him, and he Coached him for two years prior, so it just may be a case of bad communication that led to a bigger problem with a new Coaching staff. One thing that is certain is the kid can play.

      1. Yeah, I decided to put something together I thought Baalke might do, rather than just the players I want the team to take. If I had my way they wouldn’t draft an ILB until round 4.

        Marcus Peters is one of the prospects I’ll be profiling in the coming days.

  30. A couple of things to keep in mind when considering actual value of a player to a team:
    1/ if you like a prospect, take him. Everybody wants to maximize their pick values, but seeing the guy you like and trading down and taking the chance of missing him can be a risk. The idea that you like him at #20 but not at #15 seems drought with risks. If you like, take him. Kawakami and Grant are going to criticize whoever you pick.
    2/ Each team’s board isn’t the same as each others’, let alone McShay, Kiper, Rang’s boards. I remember when after the draft the public got a look at the Cowboys’ Draft Day Board a couple of years ago. The rankings were eye-opening to me in their uniqueness from the Keyboard Consensus.
    By the way, Lon Simmons = Hoover Vacuum Cleaners. Durable, reliable, and set a standard of excellence.

    1. I remember the photo of the 2010 Cowboys draft board. They had Anthony Davis in the 3rd round. Caused a bit of a stir.

      As far as trade backs, I’m for them only if there are several players the 49ers value equally.

      Your “if you like a prospect, take him” is exactly what Baalke does in the first round. With the targeted player secured, Baalke spends day two maneuvering all over the place to build value.

      If Baalke thinks Peters is a true shut down corner that can cover NFL receivers one-on-one, he’d be nuts to trade back to 20.

    2. Baalke’s five years of first round activity

      2010 – Traded up for Anthony Davis
      2010 – Stood pat for Iupati
      2011 – Stood pat for Aldon Smith
      2012 – Stood pat for Jenkins
      2013 – Traded up for Reid
      2014 – Stood pat for Ward

      Not one trade-back. In fact, Baalke was accused by some of “reaching” in all of these picks. Even Aldon smith.

      But the pattern’s clear. Secure day one to buy flexibility on days 2-3.

    1. That was a good comprehensive pre-draft article. It pulls a lot of good stuff together. I don’t think there’s too much new for some us in the Niners Nerd Network Peanut Gallery as we’ve plowed and harrowed this ground. That’s not meant as a criticism or complaint of the article, more like a compliment to the many contributors here.

    2. Thanks Grant. It sounds like there are some nice “kill two birds with one stone” candidates.

      – Stone Marcus Peters. Birds Corner and ILB
      Its sounding like Marcus Peters might be a shut-down corner. If that’s true, the 49ers can drop a safety into the box. Makes drafting a cover ILB less urgent. Wait till 2016 for better value.

      – Stone Vic Beasley. Birds OLB and ILB
      Beasley could play a ILB in 2016, switch to OLB down the road.

      – Stone Andrus Peat. Birds LG and LT/RT
      Peat’s powerful enough to be short termguard. Built to play both tackle spots.

        1. I like him. He’s young. Turns 21 in a few weeks.

          Over 7 yards per carry, doesn’t want to play running back? Can’t blame him. Running backs can get used up well before their cheap rookie contracts expire.

          He’d fit a Jeff Fuller or Big Nickle role.

  31. Grant you make a pretty good arguement that the 49ers have strong needs at 5 different positions, what do you think the odds are that they will trade back once or twice early in this draft to acrue more picks?

    1. I wrote a blurb above on how Baalke always stands pat or trades up in the first round. Does his trade backs on day two.

      To me it comes down to the player. If its a player Baalke loves, don’t trade back… especially if its a player that can affect multiple needs.

      For example: If Peters can truly cover receivers without safety help, Mangini can drop that safety in the box to cover for ILB pass defense weaknesses. That way Baalke could get better ILB in 2016 without having to reach for one at 46 this year.

      But if multiple players Baalke values equally drop to 15, might as well trade back 4-6 spots for an extra 3rd rounder.

      My risky “greed draft” scenario… Trade back to mid 20s. Select Peterson. Package the extra 3rd with 46 to trade back into the late first. Select Breshad Perriman.

      My real world scenario: If Peters is a true shut down cover and his head’s screwed on straight, don’t mess around. Grab him at 15.

      1. Brodie I believe that the 9ers have more pressing needs in this draft than any other that Baalke has been in charge of. By trading back he can adress more of those 5 needs early in the draft. I understand that Baalkes track record shows him holding or trading up in the 1st rd but if there ever was a draft for him to break the mold I believe this is it.

        1. There’s been an ongoing debate in this article on that very subject. I’ve been fence sitting.

          My mock hinges on whether Peters can cover NFL receivers without safety help.

          If yes, take him at 15. Don’t risk it even if there’s a 95%chance he will be there at 22. If Peters will be very good, but not a true “shut down”, trade back for more picks.

          I can see why Baalke might reverse the trend. Trade back in round one for multiple picks. “Reach” for “need” in round two.

            1. I’ll put a mock together later this month. It won’t be full 7 rounder. More like a top 5 pick wish list.

              What I have done in the past was mock Baalke’s draft behavior based on what he’s done before. I’ll do that in the week leading up to the draft.

  32. Grant,
    What the heck happened to McDonald since getting drafted? The guy was a TE/slot receiver in college who was regarded by many to be Delanie Walkers replacement because of his size, speed and proven catching ability in college. What happened? Where did that all go?

  33. No trade first 16 of my all-32 Mock. Second half to come after lunch:

    1 – Buccaneers (G.M., S, OG, so so many needs) QB Jameis Winston. So why do I pick a QB when It’s not listed among their top needs. Mike Glennon is good enough to give another chance with a better team around him but he’s not “Lovie’s man” so he’s out. Shame because if they were willing to use their first pick on a player they actually need they could have a chance of building a decent team but their G.M. is just awful so you have to assume they’ll make all the wrong moves which starts with drafting Winston #1 overall.

    2 – Titans (WR, S, OLB. OL) Trade/OLB Dante Fowler. I think the Titans will trade their pick to whichever team wants Mariota the most.( I love the rumor of San Diego trading Rivers to move up to get Mariota, that would be exciting) If they don’t then I see them going for the top rush linebacker. Some say the acquisition of Orakpo eliminates the need to take an OLB. Orakpo is coming off an injury and the team that drafted him(Redskins no less) wasn’t willing to keep him around, not a good sign. This is the second season in the past 3 that he’s missed significant time. It should also be noted that he’s only had double digit sacks twice in his career. Will they take Mariota? If Mettenberger’s health had looked better his first season then I’d say 100% no chance, at this point I think it’s less then 50% chance they use a first round pick on another QB especially given the potential in draft picks they can add by sliding down.

    3 – Jaguars (DE, WR, OT) DE Leonard Williams. This is a tough pick to make. Besides the lack of a #1 WR they don’t have any glaring needs outside of a true stud pass rusher. The signing of Odrick really muddles things. He’s not an elite pass rusher but he was also used as a two-gapper quite a bit in Miami which held back his sack potential. The write ups say they’ll use Odrick as the 4b which would allow him more access to the QB but I still question whether he’s truly got the skills to be a double digit sack defensive end. Williams looks like a real stud, the idea of a rotation between him and Odrick certainly can’t sound too bad to the Jag’s DL coaches and if Odrick doesn’t have the rush moves he moves inside and Williams takes over at end. I wouldn’t fall down dead if the Jag’s took either White or Cooper or if the Titans make their pick this becomes a hot trade spot.

    4 – Raiders (WR, DE, CB) WR Amari Cooper. If Al was still around this would be White no question, you could write the name and seal the envelope right now. DE is also a high probability for this pick. Would the Raiders swap places with the Titans to grab Fowler or will he simply fall to them, possibly. I could see the Raiders also make a surprise pick and take Dupree.

    5 – Redskins (NT, OT, OLB) DT/NT Danny Shelton. Too soon? Ok, I wouldn’t argue too hard against that but this kid is a true stud. One of the best 3-4 NT prospects I’ve seen in awhile. The ‘Skins have signed Terrance Knighton but he isn’t anything special. Is it more likely that they take Vic Beasley, probably but it seems like there’s always one surprise pick in the top 5. That guy that you have scan down a bit on the page before you find his name.

    6 – Jets (OLB, OG, RB, WR) OLB Vic Beasley. Sorry Rex the pass rusher you spent your entire tenure in NY trying to find is on his way just as you’re on your way out. If Beaseley is already off the board at #6 they might go WR despite trading for Marshall.

    7 – Bears (WR, OLB, NT, QB) WR Kevin White. The Bears should draft Shane Ray but I think they’ll try to replace Marshall first. If they wanted to make a meaningful improvement on offense they’d trade down and select either Grayson, Petty or Hundley but that’s probably not going to happen.

    8 – Falcons(DE/OLB, RB, S) RB Todd Gurley. Despite having a pair of change of pace backs the Falcons need a true bell-cow to take some pressure off Ryan and to give defenses something else to focus on rather then just pinning their ears back and going after the QB. They desperately need a pass rush themselves and they can just as easily go DE/OLB at this pick. In fact most mocks I see have them doing just that.

    9 – Giants (OT, RB, WR) OT Ereck Flowers. I haven’t found any other mocks that have Flowers going as the first OL so if this is Peat or Scherff I won’t be surprised. I will be a bit surprised if this pick isn’t used on an OL prospect. I’ve seen DE and OLB mocked to them and I guess that could be seen as a BPA selection. My all-32 mocks tend to be very needy.

    10- Rams (OL, WR, QB) G/OT Brandon Scherff. Oops the Giants just snagged the player the Ram’s wanted but lucky for them Scherff is the better prospect. The Rams are in position to replace almost their entire line. Given the glut of decent offensive lineman that can be found at the mid to bottom of the first round I can see the Rams trying to move out of this spot. If Mariota is in fact on the board at this point it would be a likely spot for a team to jump to.

    11 – Vikings (WR, RB, OL) G/OT La’el Collins. Kalil was awful but he also wasn’t healthy. The team will give him a shot to keep his job while plugging Collins in at guard. I could see the team drafting another OT early in this draft as insurance against Kalil. Collins could possible make the move to tackle in a year or two if needed.

    12- Browns (DE, NT, OLB, WR, TE, QB…) DE Eddie Goldman. I might be giving the Brownies front office too much credit with this pick. They’re going to be awfully tempted to pick offense in an attempt to appease to fans and sell tickets but it’s the wrong move. They need to shore up that defense especially against the run. The Calistoga Wildcats could have rushed for 200 yards against that line and they play 9 man football. Shane Ray would also be a good pick for them, but then again we’re talking about the Browns here so who’s to say they won’t take a TE at #12.

    13 – Saints (CB, LB, TE, RB) OLB Shane Ray. I’ve had CB pencilled in to the Saints in my brain since I started kicking around an all-32. In the moment of truth I decided to pull the trigger on a pass rusher instead. Browner and Wilson will be stop gaps and they’ll give them some help by getting a player that can get to the QB.

    14 – Miami (CB, RB, S) CB Trae Waynes. I could see the fish grabbing Gurley if he’s still on the board or possibly even a different back if he isn’t. CB is their biggest need on defense having signed Suh. They’ll still need another defensive lineman but this pick is better used on the secondary.

    15 – 49ers (OG, ILB, CB, WR, OLB…) OLB Alvin Dupree. First of all let me just say I don’t like this pick. I’m not a fan of taking Dupree in the first round. I really want to take Marcus Peters but I can’t convince myself that Baalke has him ranked that high. I’ve of course heard about the interest but I think it’s far more likely that Baalke makes a move in the second to get him rather then use #15. That leaves OL, WR and LB as possible picks. I like Peat but I don’t want to take a tackle this high with Davis and Staley still clearly marked as their starters. Do they take Peat simply as BPA, very possible. I don’t like any of the remaining guards enough to use the #15 pick on them so that rules out the OL. I could see Baalke drafting White or Cooper but he”ll wait if they’re both already gone which leaves LB. I haven’t been able to convince myself that there is a legitimate choice for ILB at the #15 spot which leaves us with a rush linebacker. Dupree seems chunky but you can’t argue with the athleticism. He just seems to rely on his speed more then skill and that doesn’t always end well in the NFL. I also understand the argument against Baalke trading back but this year seems like a good chance he could do that.

    16 – Texans (OLB, CB, S, RB, QB) S Landon Collins. Swearinger so far has been a bust for Houston. Collins was extremely productive and has good size for the NFL. BPA at the position will fill a major need for the Texans.

    Without trades Mariota could be looking at a Rodgers-esque type slide.

    1. Good stuff CfC, and liked your reasoning for all the picks.

      I see you have DeVante Parker falling outside the top 16 (assuming no trades). Not a fan of the player?

      1. My all-32 is very need specific. There were/are plenty of teams that need WR in the first 16 but I felt like it either was a secondary or tertiary need and/or there was overwhelming reason to address a different need. Vikings, Jags, Browns are all teams that could take a WR instead. Plus the no trades does have a big impact.

        Not a reflection of my take on the player. I’ve said and still hold that he’d be my pick if it wasn’t for the injuries. We had that discussion when I said White was my favorite before the combine.

    2. CFC,

      Interesting choice for the Niners considering who is on the board in your scenario. I don’t think they’d pass up what I think are better players at positions of greater need, but your reasoning is sound and we are all in the same boat as far as guessing what they will do.

        1. Parker, Peters and Perriman off the top of my head, but that is simply my opinion which has no more validity than yours. Dupree is a good player and they could see him as BPA even if I don’t.

          1. Gun to my head Peters is the player I would say they’re going to go with but when trying to justify it on paper Dupree was the easier sell. At this point #15 feels like a reach for Peters but that in no way means that Baalke wouldn’t do it. When doing a no trade draft in order to keep certain players that I honestly expect to go in certain ranges from dropping I have to make more need specific choices rather then what my gut tells me.

    3. 2nd half of no trade all-32 mock:

      17 – Chargers (OL, RB, WR, NT) RB Melvin Gordon. The best move Baalke has made all off season is not signing Ryan Matthews and the same can be said about the Chargers front office. Mathews has been holding the Chargers back either with his inconsistent play or by taking up a roster spot and money while constantly hurt. As long as they spend some other high picks on the offensive line Gordon can come in and instantly give the Chargers a legitimate run game. His blitz pick up apparently isn’t too hot but if he has good coaches there’s no reason to assume he can’t pick that up.

      18 – Chiefs (WR, S, OT, QB) WR Devante Paker. Similarly to the problem here in S.F. what good does it do you to improve your WR corp if your QB isn’t any good. /Ducks objects being thrown. Ok that was just for fun but seriously you can make the argument for either side in K.C. whether the problem is the QB or the WR’s. The front office wants you to believe it’s the WR’s so they signed Maclin and are now spending their first round pick on possibly the best WR in this year’s group. Will these additions mean they’ll actually have a TD thrown to a WR this year? Was not having those two players the reason they didn’t this year? This would be a good first landing spot for Mariota.

      19 – Browns (NT, OLB, WR, TE, QB…) WR Jaelen Strong. The Brown were absolutely counting on Parker still being available to them at #19(not really they’ll probably trade up for him) and having taken a DE with their first pick they were ready to pick Gordon’s replacement but swoosh just like that he’s gone. A good G.M. would stick to his board and either field a trade call or take the BPA but since these are the Browns they reach in desperation for the next WR they have ranked. #19 is too early for Strong but after losing out on Parker they’re afraid to trade back and lose out on their back up choice. Never go to the store when you’re hungry, you’ll always come home with something that sounded good in the moment but ends up getting thrown away. (For the record I like Jaelen Strong, not at #19 but he’s a good prospect)

      20 – Eagles (CB, QB, OLB) QB Marcus Mariota. Just when I was starting to get worried that Marcus could fall out of my first round mock with a piercing cry Chip Kelly swoops down with pudgy talons and snatches up his QB of the next 3 seasons. That’s probably how long Mariota’s starting career and possibly Kelly’s coaching career as well is going to last.

      21 – Bengals (DT, OT, DE, WR) DE Randy Gregory. Despite resigning Michael Johnson the Bengals need to give themselves a long term answer as well as short term insurance against Johnsons bust potential. With Gregory’s recent and past trouble this pick just screams Bengals.

      22 – Steelers (CB, DE, S, OLB) CB Jalen Collins. The Steelers position at CB is woeful to say the least. They could easily use both of their first two selections on the position.

      23 – Lions (OT, OG, RB, DT) OT D.J. Humphries. The Lions have to fix that offensive line. This pick could probably use as easily be a guard. If they feel that this is too soon for Humphries then I suspect this pick might be a RB.

      24 – Cardinals(NT, DE, LB, RB, CB) CB Ronald Darby. Darby’s name has been flying under the radar for the most part and the Cards couldn’t be happier. Worried that the Steelers might snatch him away they considered moving in front of them but they’re patience pays off. Darby’s speed and physicality doesn’t get enough credit. Although probably better suited as a slot corner he’s got the tools to compete at the next level.

      25 – Panthers(OT, DT, S, WR) DE Owa Odighizuwa. I’m certain this will be seen as a reach. Prototypical 4-3 DE he has the speed and pass rush skills to compete at the next level. Would be a mistake to try and convert him to linebacker. Should be able to fill in nicely for Hardy.

      26 – Ravens (WR, CB, DE, TE) WR Breshad Perriman. Even before the loss of Torrey Smith the Ravens needed to draft a WR. With him gone the need becomes paramount. Perriman is raw with tons of potential. Appears to be very quick off the line and for a guy his size has remarkable ability to stop and then reaccelerate. Needs a good NFL coach to work on his route running but if they can refine his tools he could be an excellent NFL receiver.

      27 – Cowboys (DE, DT, WR, RB) DT Malcolm Brown. I was tempted to go DE or even RB with this pick. Ultimately I didn’t like any of the options left at those spots more then I like Brown. Not sure how much he’ll help in run support but he’s quick for a man his size and should definitely help supply an interior pass rush.

      28 – Broncos (NT, OT, LB, QB) LB Benardrick McKinney. This wasn’t an easy pick. With the conversion to Wade’s 3-4 there were so many directions to go. DT or DE could both be picked. They also need help on the offensive line. Ultimately I went what I felt was BPA.

      29 – Colts(OT, DE, C, LB) C/G/T Cameron Erving. Like a match made in heaven one of the Colts biggest needs also happens to be the best lineman left on the board and the best player at that position. Athletic enough to play most positions along the line I can’t imagine that they wont pencil Erving in at starting center for the next 10 years or so.

      30 – Packers(ILB, CB, OLB, WR) LB Denzel Perryman. The Packers have a glaring need at ILB. Although the knock on him is his size and subsequently a weakness in coverage he’s a natural linebacker with great instincts and nose for the ball. His time at the combine didn’t surprise anyone that was already paying him attention and won’t effect his draft selection. He was incredibly productive and is a strong prospect to have a successful NFL career.

      31 – Saints (CB, TE, RB) CB Marcus Peters. If Baalke doesn’t pull the trigger on Peters at #15 I suspect he’ll try and move back or move back up to somewhere in the 29-35 range to draft him. However, since this is a no trade draft Baalke is SOL. If not for getting into a fight with coaches and kicked off the team(oh is that all?) Peters would be in #1 CB conversation. Would he be considered better then Wayne? Not by the majority but by some. Although you wont see him mocked to us, if Baalke does take Peters at #15 suddenly all of the draft pundits will be clamoring to say they expected it all along. The Saints have done a great job of fixing their defense with their two first round picks.

      32 – Patriots (OG/C, DT, WR, RB) DT Jordan Phillips. First thought was that this pick should be a guard but closer look shows an abyss like hole on the defensive line. Phillips projects well as a 3-4 NT and could be a serviceable replacement for Wilfork.

      1. Some more excellent rationale behind these picks, CfC. Great stuff, and thanks for taking the time and effort to do so.

          1. C4C….Nicely done….other than #18 and # 20 which I am calling for BOTH to go deep into the ’15 playoffs. You surprised me with both.

            1. Thx O9er. I wouldn’t say that the Chiefs grabbing a WR would stop them from going deep in the tournament, my reasoning suggests otherwise but that’s just me having some fun. Now as far as the Eagles go, I don’t see Bradford, Mariota, Sanchez or Barkley being capable of taking them deep into the playoffs.

              1. C4C even without Maclin in the fold, I think that the Eagles have the best receivers (consistancy) IN THE NFC…they’re big and physical, and ‘Chip’ will use and tutor his QB’s well. Alex Smith will be throwing to Maclin as well as a couple FA’s and Kelce (TE) and a TOP 4 draftee WR. Both the Eagles and the Chiefs have starters and backups at QB that are better than anyone the niners have

              2. Oregon,

                Any objectivity you had previously has clearly gone out the window. I’m not sure if you really believe what you’re saying sometimes, but if you do, you are clearly commenting based on your fondness for the people rather than what they have achieved.

    1. Rocket….Is this the pot calling the kettle black? Yes, I surely do believe what I am saying. Perhaps if you think about what I am saying instead of throwing up the Kaep shield, you might find my objectivity as well as your own.

      1. It’s not a Kap shield Oregon; it’s common sense and reality. There was a time when we were in complete agreement, and that topic we agreed upon was that Alex Smith was getting criticized unfairly. What has happened now is you have become one of the people who criticize unfairly, only in this case it’s directed toward the man who replaced Smith. I have been consistent in my argument. I don’t believe you can just conclude a player isn’t any good when there is as much or more information that contradicts that belief.

        You like Alex Smith, I like Alex Smith, many people like Alex Smith. The difference between us is I don’t hold a personal grudge against the people who decided to go with the other guy, or that guy himself. You have taken shots at Harbaugh (the man who decided to go a different direction) and at Kap (the one who replaced him) and the criticisms are unwarranted when you look at how successful they were at winning games. What makes it even more hypocritical is your continued support of Smith as a better QB, when he has had less success than Kap has, both as a 49er and a Chief. Now you are also saying an injury prone QB like Bradford who has accomplished nothing since he entered the league, is somehow better than Kap too. I’m not sure if you are saying the respective backups are better than Kap as well, but at this point I wouldn’t put it past you. It doesn’t make any sense unless we allow for the fact you are basing your opinion on how you feel about the individuals. You don’t like Kap because he replaced a player you did. You like Chip Kelly because he had success at the College program you support. You now like Bradford because he plays for Kelly, at least for right now. Do you see how this portrays you?

        I support and will continue to support, players who help my team win Football games. Kap has done that which is why I continue to support him. If he becomes a hindrance to winning, I won’t. It’s not that hard to decipher. It’s obvious personal feelings cloud your judgement on this topic and it’s unfortunate because you are a pretty knowledgeable fan otherwise.

        1. @Rocket….yes, we have been in strong agreement in the past, but what you considered as my objectivity going out the window, I have to take issue with. This is not about Alex Smith, but Chase Daniel and Alex Smith whom , as I stated were both better than any QB that we presently have on our (49er) roster….I DO firmly believe this to be true. That one (CK) replaced another (AS) was not the action of either QB, but a now departed Head coach…unrightiously, because of a concussion. If I didn’t believe my statement,, I would not have made it. In the time since then, I have formed my opinion even stronger, NOT on the basis of personality one way or the other, but on the basis that I don’t want to live through another drought, and I truly do not believe that CK can lead us to the promised land of Lombardis. If I am proven wrong, I will gladly make my mea culpas, and apologies right up front. I really would not make this personal in the fact that I think that we are both true forty niner faithful.

          I do believe that ‘Chip’Kelley is head and shoulders on personnel decisions above most Hc’s and FO’s in the league, and Bradford will grow immensly under his guidance. Is this more clear ?

          1. Oregon,

            I get what you are saying; I just can’t believe you’re saying it. You are praising 2 QB’s who haven’t accomplished anything near what Kap has (Smith is close at least), and rating them as better players. It just doesn’t make any sense to me, but you are entitled to your opinion obviously.

            I get not being convinced that we can win SB’s with Kap although he got to the SB in his 10th start, but that is a long way from believing he’s not worth having at all, or is worse in your mind than a short system QB who’s never been a starter at this level and an injury prone bust..

            1. Rocket….What I am praising is two QB’s who have accomplished on their own….NOT the Oline that Kap has had for every start that he’s had, nor the great D that the niners have had every step of Kaps starts. Alex got us to the first NFCC game, and notwithstanding two fumbled punts by a rookie punt returner, and no real quality receivers besides VD (not Crabs)…and the last game of this last season when Alex had to sit with a torn organ (Liver?)..Chase Daniel operated the team without a hitch.

              That injury prone ‘bust’ you are referring to has never had a decent line blocking for him in his whole NFL career to date….If Kelly scores Marriota in the draft, he’ll be 1st string by game 6. Sanchez is gone…and Barkley is a good third QB. My premise I suppose, is that I think that Kap’s game has too many holes to patch this late in his career….we can both hope, but I didn’t say that Kap was not worth having at all…what we CAN do is both of us cross our fingers and hope….

  34. More information from Warner regarding working with Kaep. I found this quite interesting:

    “Said Warner, “For us it was, ‘Let’s keep you as a quarterback a little bit longer, in a balanced position in a throwing position, moving, ready to throw so you can become more accurate, have more touch and then you’ve got that find that fine line of when I become an athlete.’”


    1. It sounds like Warner is saying that Kaep was not always in a good balanced position to make throws – like his feet were bouncing around, maybe ready to take off, before he pulled it down to run. So presumably then he was making throws in some cases during this bouncing around time and that helped to contribute to poor overall accuracy. I don’t think he is saying that Kaep often pulled the ball down to take off running but would then make a last second throw. OTOH, doesn’t Kaep roll out a fair amount and wasn’t his highest accuracy when he made throws OUTSIDE of the pocket.

      Perhaps Kurt means that Kaep has poor overall balance when he throws (throughout the entire passing down) but maybe he didn’t want to be that brutally honest. Phrasing it the way he did and working that way with him would correct the balance problems throughout the entire passing down and not just the last “little bit longer”.

      I’m interested in hearing what others think he meant.

      1. Does it make any difference that what Kurt said might be interpreted more than one way?

        If Kaepernick is able to count on a little more consistency in pass protection this year, then we’ll get to see for our selves what he has or hasn’t learned.

        1. QB is the most important position. On this blog we are all handwringing about draft picks, injuries – but all of these involve other player positions. As Maiocco said a few weeks back, the 49ers season will hinge primarily on Kaep’s play. So, yeah, I’m interested in knowing what Warner sees as Kaep’s flaws. When I watch the games next season, I want to be able to delve a little deeper into why Kaep made a poor throw or decision (assuming he does) and not just throw my hands up and say our QB sucks.

          1. … and, as they say, QB play is determined by “the guys in the trenches”, then secondly, by the defense fearing the running game, and then thirdly by the ability of those catching the QB’s passes to get open, and then fourthly by their ability to catch the ball.

            Analysis of Kurt’s hidden meaning on top of the complexity of football will certainly provide hours of entertainment, but I wouldn’t waist any anguish on it unless I was one of the coaches, the GM, or the owner.

            1. A team like NE is in contention every year because of Brady. He makes the players around him better and is able to compensate for weaknesses in OL, WR, etc that happen from year to year. Maybe it’s not fair to expect that from Kaep, but IMO, if a QB wants to be paid the big money, then he has to be able to that. If not, then accept less money so that the team can continue to field a strong OL, WR, etc. to help out the QB. To Kaep’s credit he has accepted less money and a team-friendly contract, but it’s still a large amount of money relative to the other positions on the team.

              Of course this is only my opinion and it is not necessarily borne out by reality, i.e. Jay Cutler.

              1. As you say Kaepernick accepted a performance based contract, and he has already failed to earn some of that performance based money.

                Some QB’s can make their OL look better by getting the ball out fast, but they need other moving parts be be good. Some QB’s can make their pass catchers look better by doing what Walsh demanded — on the numbers and one foot in front.

                My main point was that there are a lot of complicated moving parts and parsing Kurt’s comments won’t help predict much about the 2015 season unless you think he was actually saying that “fan77” is correct, and Colin is hopeless.

  35. Anybody who has Rewind should go back and watch the season over again. It’s amazing to see Kap at the beginning and then see how things changed by the end. You watch him in the Dallas game, going through reads, climbing the pocket and throwing pin point passes to Boldin and Davis while keeping his eyes downfield and you think what the heck happened? In Arizona they went to a 3,4 and 5 WR offense at times and he played beautifully. Then as you watch a few more games you begin to see that what happened was the Oline started to struggle in pass protection, and there were games they couldn’t run the ball consistently, and as time went along Kap began to hear footsteps whether they were there or not.

    Make no mistake about it, the offense was in a funk starting in preseason and never truly came out of it, but the biggest issue was the Oline when it was all said and done. They just never got to a point where they were cohesive and consistent and it literally killed the offense as a whole. There were times you can see Kap throw a bad ball or miss seeing an open receiver so he is culpable to a point, but the glaring weakness week in and week out was the Oline.

    The Oline has to be better this year or we will likely see more of the same.

    1. I agree. I think I remember in an on-field interview after the Dallas game, the reporter mentioning to Kaep that many believed he was not able to progress beyond the first read. I think the reporter continued on saying that he had proven the doubters wrong and I believe Kaep smiled and said something brief, but I don’t remember what it was.

      But, the OL won’t ever play perfectly in every game and Kaep will need to be able, in general, to handle pressure better – which is I think what Kurt is alluding to in his comments.

      Do you think your post is reason enough to have the 49ers select OL in the first round?

      1. Cubus,

        Possibly but I’d lean more toward the current staters remaining healthy to achieve the level of play necessary.

      2. There is no need for an OL to play perfectly. They just can’t allow consistent penetration on running plays or enough free runners on passing plays to panic the QB.

        It would also help if thei other ten guys cut down on the first and fifteen crap too.

  36. Because there are so many variables, this is the toughest draft to build mocks for.

    Injury Variables 49ers: Bowman, McDonald, Thomas, Millard, Acker, Reaser, Williams, Dockett… with Reid, Davis and Davis showing signs of premature wear.

    Injury Variables Rookies Gurly.

    Head Case Variables: Peters, Winston, DGB, Gregory

    Clearly there’s need at RB, ILB, #1 WR even if everyone listed has perfect health.

      1. I should have filed Aldon under Head Case Variables.

        On that subject, “San Francisco police said they found Kwame Harris unconscious behind the wheel of his car with the engine running…”

        A growing 49er tradition.

          1. in which “he assaulted his boyfriend at a Menlo Park restaurant after an argument involving soy sauce and underpants.”

  37. I’m so tired of seeing Armstead mocked to us by all the national media heads…. its as if they’re too lazy to do the work and just default to him. And for the same exact reason. “Welp Justin Smith is retiring….so yeah”

    Such a waste.

    1. You have my vote. All the national media does is pay attention to departures without actually looking at the roster. Tomsula said at the annual meetings D-line was deeper then he can remember.

      1. Brodie and Leo:

        I know it’s annoying, but I prefer it this way. It’s always best when your enemies/competition underestimate you. I believe that was a contributing factor to the 49ers success in 2011 and could be a contributing factor in 2015. As fans we can get our revenge during the season.

    1. Thanks Grant. I’ve been screaming more Peat footage.

      He really has great base and length. Almost the perfect LT body.

      Peat dominates when he uses his length and keeps defenders off his chest. If he extending his arms and maintaining a forward lean, he’s great. When he bends his head back and allows defenders to get into his chest, I almost think he’s about to tip over.

      Here’s another good LT, Brandon Thomas vs Ohio State.

      USC’s D-line looks more athletic so it may not be apples to apples, but Brandon compares pretty well. (I wonder why Stanford didn’t run behind Peat more.)

      I like Peat. He’d be a solid pick. If his upper half ever catches up to his lower half, look out.

      1. Oh… and if Peat could maintain his run blocks just a tick longer it would be huge. To be fair, I had that same minor criticism about Marcus Martin and Brandon Thomas. I understand its a common rookie issue.

      2. I think Peat will set the NFL record for drawing hands to the face penalties. College refs seem to be letting it slide.

    1. Gearing up for your post op criticism on Trent’s draft?
      ; >)
      I thought there were some sweeping statements about journeymen like Helu and the young QB that may or may not hold up. Helu is a better fit than Bush for SF? How would we know that yet?
      And if SF missed 5 opportunities, how many did your buddies in Oakland whiff on? More than 5 would be my guess.

    2. Grant

      Very well written…take a look at both the Eagles and Chiefs roster before and after FA, and you’ll see just how they’re positioning themselves for the draft….AND I DON’T MEAN REDSHIRTS!! Our draft is dependent on players ‘slipping’, or decisions by other team’s ‘needs’. There WERE some very good FA’s who could have stepped right into our system and we missed on them. Right now, we are dependent on one hell of a draft just to keep pace. Oh we’ll be pretty good, but as you stated, ….a lot of missed opportunities….

  38. From Rotoworld:

    “Free agent Michael Crabtree dropped 10-of-78 catchable passes in 2014.
    His 12.82 percent drop rate was the fourth-worst among qualified receivers, behind only Mohamed Sanu, Torrey Smith, and Kelvin Benjamin. Diminished speed, a concerning injury history, and coming off a season where he couldn’t catch the ball has certainly affected Crabtree’s market. Crabtree also battled drops early in his career. Possession receivers like him need to have reliable hands.”

    I didn’t realize that T.Smith had such a high drop rate.

  39. Relevant the the talent plateaus and value groups I’ve been talking about… the latest Niners Nation mock suggests a big flat spot in his latest mock.

    “.The Niners find themselves in a difficult position in this draft, sitting just outside the elite tier of talent and, in this mock, unable to make a move up or down to grab either a better player or add picks later on.”

    “As an NFL GM told Peter King at the NFL owner meetings, “The 17th pick on our board might be the 53rd pick on another team’s board—and that could be a team we really respect.””


    On the other hand, it only takes one “faller” to get good trade-back value, and his mock has Waynes available at 16.

    And if its a guy Baalke loves at 15, who cares if its a “flat” draft mid first to mid second.

    1. Meant ” Waynes available at 15″

      Another silver lining for a “flat” mid first to mid second… it might make it easier to trade up from 46, making scenarios for landing players like Perriman or Shaq Thomson along with whoever Baalke drafts at 15 possible.

    2. Very good article, well written. I almost thought he was going to select Armstead as I was reading it.

      I like Collins and 100% agree with the reasoning. The offense will rise or fall based on the OL’s performance this year. We all saw what terrible OL play can do to an offense and still developing QB. If we sure up that interior and ensure Hyde’s success, that will do wonders for Kap and these receivers. Also drafting Collins in the first doesn’t make Thomas a wasted pick. We likely loose Boone next year, plus Thomas can serve as a very talented swing tackle that could eventually take over for Staley, or Collins at LG (when he shifts to LT). This would give us some great depth at OL.

      “I very nearly took Andrus Peat from Stanford, a marvelous physical specimen but I don’t like his football instincts as much. I do think he will also be a very good tackle though, the choice between them was close.”

      What’s your thoughts Grant???

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *