49ers’ top-5 position battles of the offseason

To get you prepped for Tuesday’s OTA, here are the 49ers’ top-five position battles.

1. Chris Culliver (6-0, 199 pounds, 25 years old) vs. Chris Cook (6-2, 212, 27) vs. Dontae Johnson (6-2, 200, 22) for No.2 cornerback

Culliver is the favorite – the 49ers spent a third-round pick on him in 2011. But he tore his ACL a year ago and does not seem to have fully recovered yet from that injury. He did not participate in position or team drills during last week’s open OTA. Tramaine Brock started at left cornerback, and Chris Cook started in Culliver’s place at right cornerback.

Cook got beat by Anquan Boldin during a one-on-one drill. But later during an 11-on-11 drill, Cook batted away a deep pass thrown by Colin Kaepernick intended for Brandon Lloyd.

Johnson played both left and right cornerback on the second-team defense during team drills last Thursday afternoon. During a one-on-one drills, he got beat by Devon Wylie and Kassim Osgood.

2. Jimmie Ward (5-11, 193, 22) vs. Perrish Cox (6-0, 190, 27) vs. Eric Wright (5-10, 200, 28) for No.3 (Nickel) cornerback

Ward is the favorite – the 49ers spent a first-round pick on him this year. But he will not participate in any of the OTAs or minicamps because he’s rehabbing a broken foot. If the foot completely heals by the time training camp starts, Ward probably will win this job.

He’ll have to earn it, though. Perrish Cox is extremely competitive and he tends to play well during offseason practices. Last Thursday, he broke up a potential touchdown pass from Colin Kaepernick to Kassim Osgood in the red zone. And two years ago during an 11-on-11 live-tackling team drill, Cox knocked Anthony Dixon onto his back.

Wright may be better in coverage than Cox or Ward. Wright used to be a starting CB for the Lions and the Buccaneers. He’s faster and apparently bigger than Ward or Cox – the 49ers list Wright at 200 pounds this year. But he seems to have injured himself already – he observed last Thursday’s practice from the sideline.

3. Stevie Johnson (6-2, 207, 27) vs. Brandon Lloyd (6-0, 200, 32) vs. Quinton Patton (6-0, 204, 23) v. Bruce Ellington (5-9, 197, 22) for No.3 wide receiver

Johnson is the favorite – he’s set to earn more money than the others. But Johnson didn’t play well last season, mostly due to injuries. And he seems to have injured himself already this offseason. He didn’t participate in last Thursday’s practice. Jim Harbaugh said Johnson is working through something.

Lloyd was the best receiver on the field last Thursday afternoon. He was the only receiver who caught a touchdown during team drills.

Patton played very well, too. He rotated in with the first-team offense and beat Brock twice during a one-on-one drill, and once during a seven-on-seven drill.

Ellington played with the second-team offense.

4. Marcus Martin (6-3, 321, 20) vs. Daniel Kilgore (6-3, 308, 26) for center

Martin is the favorite, even though he’s a 20-year-old rookie. The 49ers spent a third-round pick on him this year. They wouldn’t have picked him if they had confidence in Kilgore, whom they drafted in the fifth round in 2011. Don’t be surprised if Martin starts taking first-team reps halfway through training camp.

5. Tank Carradine (6-4, 273, 24) vs. Demarcus Dobbs (6-2, 282, 26) for Justin Smith and Ray McDonald’s backup

Smith is getting old and McDonald isn’t much of a pass rusher. The 49ers need a defensive tackle who can rotate in with Smith and McDonald and rush the passer on third down in the 49ers’ sub packages.

Carradine is the favorite – the 49ers spent a second-round pick on him in 2013. But he tore his ACL last year, and the 49ers are bringing him back slowly. If he does not play well during training camp, he could fall behind Dobbs because Dobbs always plays well during training camp.

Dobbs is almost ten pounds heavier than Carradine, too. Carradine might be better suited to play defensive end in the 49ers’ sub packages next season.

Check back Tuesday afternoon for a complete report on the 49ers’ OTA and an update on the top-five position battles.

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  1. I’ll stick my neck out and call what I presume
    the starters will be Game #1 vs Romo ..

    Brock & Cook CB

    Reid, Bethea S

    Boldin, Crabs, QP, Johnson WR

    Kilgore C

    Frank, Kendell, Hyde RB

    And the rest ? ..
    (the usual)

    1. Your listing looks good.
      I watched all 16 games with Buffalo from 2013 last week, looking for Johnson.
      Most of the time he was dinged up. He did show talent and had great hands. He played hurt in most of the games, either a back for a few games or a groin for a few more or something.
      And so far in the OTA’s (everything can change tomorrow), Brandon Lloyd looks outstanding; crisp routes, hands catches and the only receiving touchdown to date. He’s a definite maybe, over Qp and Johnson.
      Ellington may take some time to season. Receivers usually take a couple to three years to gel in the NFL.
      In the meantime QP looks to backup Boldibn, Crabtree and Lloyd, with Ellington used in On The Job training downs when the 49ers are way ahead. Johnson may be cut before the season starts, unless he can stay healthy.
      Gore, Kendall and Hyde sounds about right, with Hyde taking downs to give Gore breather and to save him for playoffs.

    2. It’s all guess work, because we know so little. Still, I expect Martin to take over the C spot. If Kilgore was potentially dominant he would have beat out a fading Goodwin last year. I still think LMJ offers more long term than Hunter,who I expect to bail next year anyway. Lastly, I would not go to sleep on Lloyd. With the right attitude he could be a key performer.

  2. Nice break down Grant.

    Two things though:

    – I would expect the starting centre’s job is Kilgore’s to lose. Martin is here to compete for the job, but I’m not sure why a 3rd round pick would be favoured over a guy that just got an extension. Ian Williams got an extension last year yet the brought in Dorsey – didn’t mean they didn’t have faith in Williams, it was purely a reflection of the lack of depth at the position. Same this year with Kilgore and drafting Martin.

    – Carradine and Dobbs will compete for the spot behind Justin Smith, but I’m not so sure about either guy backing up Ray McDonald. Different role, and requires a different skill set. Also, McDonald is a much better pass rusher than you gave him credit for – he may not get a lot of sacks but he does a good job of creating pressures.

    1. Oh, one other thing – Carradine is listed at his rookie weight when he was drafted. There was an article earlier this offseason that noted he’s now over 290 lbs.

        1. Nah, perfect size for Justin Smith’s 3-4 DE spot/ 3-tech in the 4-man front. He won’t play any nose.

      1. Martin should have gone before Richburg in the 2nd Round by credible analysts. I heard they are high on Dial, who might make Williams expendable since he can also man the 0……

      2. Thank you. I read that very article. He’s put on 20-30 lbs of pure muscle. He is going to be a force wherever he plays. He is probably already the strongest and fastest on the defensive line, barring the speed of linebackers Willis, Bohman, and Brooks.

    2. Neither Carradine nor Dobbs would back up McDonald in the base defense, but they could replace McDonald in the sub packages.

      McDonald had just 3 QB hits and 30 hurries last season including the postseason. PFF gave him a -1.5 pass rush grade.

      1. That is pretty decent production from the 5-tech, especially given he had a partially torn biceps tendon for part of the season. He is better than the “not much of a pass rusher” you suggest. His role isn’t so much about getting the sacks, but pushing the pocket, and he does it well. TJE did it surprisingly well last season too, and I’d suggest he has the inside track to backing up McDonald again this year.

        In the 4-man front, where does McDonald usually line up? I’ve not paid a lot of attention to be honest, but I’m assuming it is more of a 1-tech position, with Justin Smith as the 3-tech? I could be wrong about that, but if that is correct I don’t see Carradine or Dobbs playing that role either – it will be Dorsey and TJE backing up McDonald in the 4-man front.

          1. Yeah, on obvious passing downs they could go with Carradine (or Dobbs) to replace McDonald in the 4-man front then. McDonald is by no means an elite interior pass rusher, he’s solid and has good initial quickness, but he’s better against the run.

            1. Exactly. McDonald shouldn’t play 900 snaps next season if Carradine or Dobbs proves to be a better interior pass rusher in the sub packages. Dobbs probably isn’t a better interior rusher than McDonald, so McDonald’s playing time could depend on Carradine.

              1. Yeah – that would be a good way to get Carradine involved aside from simply rotating in for Justin Smith when he’s tired.

    3. Kilgore gets blown off the line all the time. He misses a ton of blocks as well. Watch him lining up at tight end of as an extra blocker last year. He’s gonna be a backup this year. We can’t run behind Kilgore.

  3. The last few summers I felt great about receiver depth, only to be disappointed once the season starts.

    This summer’s is the same. Crabtree, Boldin, Johnson, Lloyd, Patton and Ellington looks like outstanding depth. Lets hope this summer’s depth is no mirage.

    1. I don’t think you have to worry about a mirage this time Brodie. That is one of the deepest WR units in the NFL – maybe the deepest if Lloyd still has something to give.

      1. Will there be roster space for Lloyd? Maybe if the 49ers only carry two QBs.

        1. You’re right, I doubt they carry all four of Crabtree, Boldin, Johnson and Lloyd in the regular season unless Patton and Ellington show nothing in TC, or one of Crabtree or Boldin gets dinged up in TC. The 4th WR needs to provide some STs value, and I doubt either Johnson or Lloyd would be content to be a healthy scratch on game days.

            1. Kick returns. He was a KR last year too. I’d like to see him given a shot as the PR too.

              Patton provides STs value which is why it would make more sense to have him suited up as the #4 WR than one of Johnson or Lloyd. I’m not discounting Patton as the potential #3 WR this year either – he’s on the outside looking in, but he’s a talent and very hard worker, and he should make some nice strides from last season.

              1. That’d be a real coup if Patton were able to take the third receiver position. He’s got great vision with the football in his hands, that’s for sure…..

              2. Yeah for sure – if he beats out Johnson and Lloyd he’ll be doing very well, but I don’t think it is out of the realm of possibility.

                I really liked him as a prospect in the 2013 draft, and thought he showed some promise last year. Everything should be starting to slow down for him now, and I expect him to be much improved this year.

  4. Carradine beats out Dobbs if he’s healthy. Dobbs, TJE and Okoye battle roster spots.

    Too bad Tank suited up last year. The 49ers could have had him a 5th season under his rookie contract had he remained NFI.

    Last year a team source described him as a “bull in a china shop” during practices (before the knee needed redoing). I imagine that’s one reason they considered activating him for the playoff run.

    I hear Tank put on about 20 lbs since college. That puts him right about Justin’s wight. I see him at 3-4 DE (“4-3 Under” DT). I do see him occasionally subbing at 3-4 OLB (4-3 Under DE ) in passing situations to spell Aldon.

    1. Okoye and Faulkner are my two favorites for practice squad. But will they clear 24 hour waivers?

      Okoye has been vocal about about joining the NFL mainly to work with Tomsula. If a team tried to claim him, he could say “to heck with it” and return to the UK for law school.

      Few teams would have been interested in Faulkner… but Harbaugh’s interest in him could make him attractive to teams that carry three QBs.

    1. I think Gore will get most of the carries, Hunter will get about 100 and Hyde will get about 30. James probably won’t get many carries unless Hunter gets hurt. Hunter is a better change-of-pace back.

      1. Yup. Hunter better then LMJ. Hunter was great before the 2012 injury. YPC was almost identical to Gore. If Hunter returns to his pre-injury form, LMJ won’t see much action.

        I see Hunter and Hyde battling for #2 back.

        Hunter threatens outside, but has enough power to occasionally run inside. His presence doesn’t telegraph outside to defenses to the same degree LMJ does.

        Hyde threatens inside, but has enough speed and agility to occasionally run outside. His presence won’t telegraph plays either.

        1. Hunter can carry the ball inside and out. He’s way more explosive than Gore at this point. Lets just say it, Hunter has been under utilized.

          I rewatched parts of the Green Bay playoff game and the Atlanta NFC Championship game. Watch LMJ run. He has burst. He’s another guy that needed more carries. Gore IMO especially last year received too many carries period. Especially in garbage time. I counted 30-35 carries he received in the 2nd half of games last year where we had huge leads.
          Funny how many of those carries came right after Gore tore into Harbaugh after the Indy game…..
          I for one will be extremely disappointed if Gore carries the ball more than 10-12 times a game this year. Especially against Seattle.

          1. Hunter averaged 5.2 yards per carry on first down last season. Gore averaged 4.4 yards per carry on first down.

            1. That’s because Hunter is quicker and faster and also has the surprise element that Gore lacks. Defenses don’t know if Hunter is running between the tackles or popping it outside. With Gore there is a predictability regarding where he is going to run.

      2. I see gore getting rest during the season. They’ll try to keep him fresh for the playoffs. I’d be interested to see if they put him and Hyde in the back field at the same time. I really want to see some creativity not involving over loaded lines or passes to your tackles. Kap can throw the rb screen btw, it just has to be called.

        1. I think it’s pretty clear that the 49ers’ coaches prefer Hunter as the change-of-pace back.

      3. Grant, I’m excited about Lattimore and Hyde.
        I think when you see how well they perform in preseason games, you’ll increase your playing time for them.
        Doesn’t take long for running backs to fit right in. And Gore is now 31.

  5. in the beginning of the season.. LMJ just might
    get some carries …
    and IF he can show something …

    Trade Bait ..

    1. I Don’t Predict Him Making The 53 Man Roster. He’ll be traded in the off season.

      1. Grant, is your estimate from what he looked like last week?

        I heard Tank was around 285-290lbs. Well above his college size. Should be fine for roles like 3-4 DE / 4-3 Under DT and DE.

        It will be interesting to see how well he moves.

          1. Only one way to settle this… Tank and Lynch come up to Santa Rosa for a weigh off. Pretty sure 49er brass would be cool with it. Would could entice them with Peanuts characters and apple fritters from Negri’s or Union Hotel.

          2. According to this Carradine says he is now up to 295 lbs.

            http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2017017-should-tank-carradine-start-for-the-san-francisco-49ers-in-2014

            I don’t put too much stock into the rest of the article though. Carradine should not replace McDonald this year in the base D. If he looks good in TC I can definitely see him rotated in fairly often for Justin Smith to keep both guys fresh, and as Grant says, in the 4-man front for McDonald as an interior pass rusher.

  6. Aaron Lynch was a very good interior pass rusher when he was at Notre Dame. Curious to see if the 49ers may use him that way in the nickel.

    1. I’m hoping Tomsula and the boys straighten him out. He’s blazing fast off the ball. He reminds me of a Seymour type player. He has that ability.
      This draft has a lot of steals in it, even Ward was highway robbery. This guy will be a Polamalu/Woodson type player. Lord Fangio has to be salivating.

      1. 244 is well below his Notre Dame weight. He was supposed to be doing better (and gaining lbs) the later part last year. 244 isn’t a good sign at all.

      2. Last I heard he was back to around 260lbs, which is what he was at Notre Dame I believe.

    2. Lynch is almost (physically anyway) and Aldon 2.0. A little less reach and flexibility then Aldon, but a little more explosion off the line. He’s an impact tackler.

      It seems like Aaron Lynch will either wash out because he’s a head case, or be the steal of the draft.

      Good pass rushers are a rarity. Even if its 80% chance of washing out vs 20 % chance of playing he’s worth the gamble of a 5th rounder.

      1. This draft was filled with steals. He’ll have to play special teams to make the roster.
        I see a 20-30% roster turnover in the next year and the same the following year.

      1. An overrated joke? He was a 5th round pick and everybody knows he has some issues. He was taken because he has the ability to develop if they can get him to buy in.

            1. Because he isn’t even 5th round quality. If he shows up like the guy who played at Notre Dame, then I’ll gladly eat my words. But if he plays like the guy who was at South Florida, then my statement will hold true.

  7. Grant, do you see Ramsey in the mix as a possible backup for McDonald? Wasn’t he a strong-side DT at Boston?

      1. Speaking of run stuffers, Williams vs Dorsey will be a good battle, depending on how well Ian’s recovering. I read its a more complicated break compared to Iupati’s that will take time.

  8. You seriously don’t see the competition for Bowman’s spot until he returns as a top 5 position battle to watch this off season? Forgetting to mention that and saying that the battle at the #3 WR position (which is nonexistent) is one of the battles to watch just kills your list entirely Grant.

    1. I don’t think it’s top-five. Borland probably will win it and then Bowman will take it back once he’s healthy. Not much intrigue.

      1. I utterly disagree. You have holdover Wilhoite who held his own last season, Borland (who has a chip on his shoulder due to his height), and Skov (who has a chip on his shoulder due to being completely ignored during the draft). And let’s not forget the overlooked Moody. Exactly what intrigue is missing that leads you to believe that puts this outside the top five position battles…as opposed to a nonexistent battle for the #3 WR position?

        1. Disagreement is great. I think Borland is a shoe-in to win the job until Bowman comes back, but I could be wrong. I’d be interested to read your full list.

          1. 1. Wilhoite VS Borland VS Skov VS Moody for the temporary starting ILB position.
            You would expect this to be an easy win for Borland. Not so fast. Wilhoite held his own when his number was called last season and he also has more experience in a Fangio offense. Skov meanwhile is a prospect who was skipped over everybody during the draft due to an injury and questionable speed. He was projected as a 2nd-3rd round prospect, so how well do you think that being ignored is setting with him? Don’t expect Borland to have any sympathy for Skov though. He’s a kid with first round talent that was knocked for being too small, so expect him to also come in with a mindset of something to prove. Poor Moody’s best chance of being on the roster is if he is an absolute standout on special teams. I think Borland will win out, but it also wouldn’t surprise me if Skov or Wilhoite start against the Cowboys.

            2. Brock VS Ward for the #1 CB
            You read that right. I’m expecting a fight between these two for the right to be the top dog at CB. Brock fought his way from the 4th best CB last season to earning a nice contract along with a starting role, but is he the best? Enter 1st round pick Ward, who has has the versatility to play at all three CB positions, similar to Rogers. This is a off season battle that I see flying under the radar but expect to be a hot topic once the action starts heating up.

            3. Hunter VS Hyde VS Lattimore for the backup position behind Gore
            Let me be clear. I don’t like Hyde. He runs too upright, looks like somebody that I could outrun, and his game tape from the bowl game against Clemson scares the @#$/ out of me. But he’s a big and powerful back that can easily have his flaws fixed by Rathman. Is he the future at RB? I’m sure both Hunter and Lattimore will have something to say about it. Hunter is now over a year removed from an injury that knocked him out of the Super Bowl run. Can he return to his 2011 form? If he does, then his experience and toughness will make him hard to beat out. And what about Lattimore? Here’s a kid trying to come back fripom back-to-back knee injuries ( one being fairly gruesome). He looks tentative when it comes to running so far in OTAs, but Lattimore was a nightmare in the college ranks when he was healthy, and if he gets back to that, then look out!

            4. James VS Ellington at PR/KR
            Just forget about seeing Ellington on offense. That pipe dream is highly unlikely given the massive possession receiver depth that the Niners now have. Instead, focus on what he could do as a returner with some nice wheels and his bulk on that small frame. Kyle Williams he is not. James did well as a returner last season, but he refuses to shut his whiny self up about not being used enough (EARN IT GENIUS!). My guess is that the team gives Ellington every opportunity to cement his hold on the position and sends James to the Chiefs by the preseason game. After all, they have a bad habit of drooling over our players.

            5. Carr VS Wright VS Johnson VS Culliver for the #3 CB position
            How wide open is this competition? As wide as the Chicago Cubs World Series drought is long. Carr is a former second round bust who never seemed to fit with the Vikings secondary and one that always seems to be in trouble with the law. But the same was said about Rogers (the right fit part people, not the law breaker part), so he could turn out to be a nice surprise, especially with Donatell coaching him up. Wright. Is also another to keep an eye on. He now has a year under his belt and could be a serviceable CB. Johnson is the underdog here, but he has the skill set that the Niners crave and, if the last draft was any indication,plan on using in the near future. You say he needs time to develop? So too was the claim about Culliver, and he wound up playing a good amount during his rookie year. Speaking of Clueles…er Culliver, he supposedly enters the off season as the leader for the spot on the field opposite of Brock, but he will need to show that he isn’t the guy that was manhandled during the Super Bowl or the one who does his best to look like a fresh pile of manure under the spotlight. My guess is that Johnson shocks them all by the end of the preseason. But like I said, the battle for this position is wide open.

            Honorable Mention

            6. Martin VS Kilgore at center
            Martin will beat out Kilgore by the end of training camp.
            7. Baldwin VS Lloyd VS Patton VS Ellington for the 4th WR position
            This only becomes relevant if Crabtree or Johnson get hurt. Or if Baldwin actually decides to play like a WR.
            8. Carradine VS Dobbs VS Jerod-Eddie for the position as Cowboy and McDonald’s backup
            The Tank wins, but Jerod-Eddie could make it close.
            9. Lynch VS unemployment
            Can I get you fries to go with your heart attack on a bun?
            10. 49ers VS above reproach
            Low blow.

            1. Midwest,

              I disagree with pretty much everything you wrote, with the exception of the ILB competition. Even then I don’t see it involving all those players. I think it’s Wilhoite vs. Borland and Wilhoite has the advantage due to experience.

              1. I back up everything I say Mid, and unlike you I try to do it with factual information instead of personal feelings.

                I disagreed with most of what you said and here’s why:

                Ward is not competing for the #1 CB position. He’s competing for the Nickel spot and is not even healthy enough to take the field yet.

                I don’t see Hunter making the team if Lattimore is healthy.

                Your point against LMJ is that he needs to shut his whiny self up. No further explanation needed.

                We don’t have a DB named Carr, but we do have one named Cook, and he will compete with Culliver for the 2nd CB spot, but Culliver will be the starter if healthy.

                Your opinion of Lynch is quite amusing and as usual not based on anything but your personal dislike of the person.

                Start looking at the numbers and production instead of what a player says on Twitter and you may start to actually make some coherent points.

              2. Ward is not competing for the #1 CB position. He’s competing for the Nickel spot and is not even healthy enough to take the field yet.

                A nickel can’t become a #1 CB? Try again.

                I don’t see Hunter making the team if Lattimore is healthy.

                Why?

                We don’t have a DB named Carr, but we do have one named Cook, and he will compete with Culliver for the 2nd CB spot, but Culliver will be the starter if healthy.

                The Carr part was something I missed my seeing my phone alter after typing Cook. And it is well documented that the Niners are wanting to see how Cook looks against the slot.

                Your opinion of Lynch is quite amusing and as usual not based on anything but your personal dislike of the person.

                Nice try on a guilt trip here, but you fail miserably Sprocket. (And this one is on purpose.) The game tape from his time at South Florida is all that I need to back up my statement. Like I said, if he’s the guy that played at Notre Dame, then I’ll gladly eat my words. But I won’t if he plays like the kid from South Florida.

                Start looking at the numbers and production instead of what a player says on Twitter and you may start to actually make some coherent points.

                I don’t use Twitter, so who exactly isn’t being coherent…or intelligent for that matter?

              3. I back up everything I say Mid, and unlike you I try to do it with factual information instead of personal feelings.

                You get struck by lightning often, don’t you?

              4. Yikes, how quickly a simple “I don’t agree with your point of view” degenerates into a war of insults…

              5. The Carr part was something I missed my seeing my phone alter after typing Cook. And it is well documented that the Niners are wanting to see how Cook looks against the slot.

                Ah yes, the phone is to blame. It’s always the phones fault. Cook is playing outside; not in the slot.

                Nice try on a guilt trip here, but you fail miserably Sprocket. (And this one is on purpose.) The game tape from his time at South Florida is all that I need to back up my statement. Like I said, if he’s the guy that played at Notre Dame, then I’ll gladly eat my words. But I won’t if he plays like the kid from South Florida.

                Name calling is the final desperate act of a beaten man Mid, congrats. My guess is you didn’t have a clue who Lynch was and hadn’t seen sweet F all when you made your conclusion. Like most of your opinions, it was probably based on the negative stories surrounding his work ethic and desire.

                I don’t use Twitter, so who exactly isn’t being coherent…or intelligent for that matter?

                Your opinions are based on the influence of what you perceive as immaturity or poor behavior. You have clearly shown you cannot get past your preconceived bias from stories you have read about a players behavior, so my conclusion is you must be a regular on Twitter believing every ridiculous rumor you read. You don’t use on field performance as the basis for opinions obviously as your opinions are not reflective of the results on the field, so I have no idea what you are basing your thoughts on if you aren’t on social media.

              6. Scooter,

                I don’t get into name calling but I definitely don’t respect Mids opinions on football. All you get is this guy sucks, that guy stinks, this guy hasn’t done anything, etc. meanwhile all the information says the exact opposite. The name calling just reinforces my opinion of him.

              7. Ah yes, the phone is to blame. It’s always the phones fault. Cook is playing outside; not in the slot.

                Obviously you don’t have the problem of your phone ‘correcting’ what you put down even if you made no mistakes so I’m even going to bother explaining it to you Rocket.

                Name calling is the final desperate act of a beaten man Mid, congrats. My guess is you didn’t have a clue who Lynch was and hadn’t seen sweet F all when you made your conclusion. Like most of your opinions, it was probably based on the negative stories surrounding his work ethic and desire.

                Basing your disagreement on your belief that the person is basing his opinion on personal feelings is an even bigger example of a desperate man that has been beaten.

                Name calling is the final desperate act of a beaten man Mid, congrats. My guess is you didn’t have a clue who Lynch was and hadn’t seen sweet F all when you made your conclusion. Like most of your opinions, it was probably based on the negative stories surrounding his work ethic and desire.

                Do you have any other mindless drivel to spew after being backed into a corner Rocket? If I based my opinion on how I feel about a player, then I would have been calling for for Crabtree’s head for stating that he was always open despite being phased out by an average Giants secondary during the 2011 NFCC game. Or how about Anthony Davis? I don’t particularly care for what is reported that he said then retracted on Twitter, but I think he is exactly what we need at RT. I also don’t think either Davis or Boone should be griping about their contracts at the moment, but from what I have seen, Davis is the best all-around TE in the league and Boone is one of the top two on the offensive line for the Niners. And how my draft prediction of Da’Rick Rogers back in 2013? I definitely had big problems with his demeanor and troubles off the field, but after watching his game tape, I thought his skill set could help Kaep out.
                I could go on Rocket but hopefully you get the idea. I have never based my opinion about a player on my feelings. Can they sway my opinion a little bit? Of course, but I doubt anyone can say that they haven’t ever had their opinion swayed slightly by their feelings. It’s normal unless you allow them to completely control how you base your opinions, and I don’t.
                In regards to Lynch, I actually thought at first that he might be a steal in the later rounds despite the negatives listed in his scouting report. Then I watched his some of his game tape and didn’t like what I saw. Lynch appeared to be going through the motions and not giving his all. I also saw plays that just shouldn’t have happened given his talent. I also looked up his play at Notre Dame and found myself checking my search box to make sure that I spelled his name correctly because I couldn’t believe that the guy at Notre Dame was Lynch because his play and demeanor were like night and day. Why exactly didn’t that guy show up at South Florida? After looking his tape, stats, and scouting reports, I came to the conclusion that he wasn’t even worth a late round pick or even being an UDFA pick-up.

                Scooter,

                I don’t get into name calling but I definitely don’t respect Mids opinions on football. All you get is this guy sucks, that guy stinks, this guy hasn’t done anything, etc. meanwhile all the information says the exact opposite. The name calling just reinforces my opinion of him.

                No, but you’re really good at making baseless accusations to support your statements. You made a great proclamation that you always back up what you say but yet failed to do so with your first post in this thread. Then when I point it out, you throw a baseless accusation that I base my opinions on my feelings. That’s low, weak, and something I would expect from DS. I thought you were better than that.

              8. Guys like that aren’t even worth arguing with Rocket….imo

                Just a waste of time

                You obviously haven’t read some my posts and seen where I have backed up what I have said, so your opinion is moot here Leo.

              9. Yikes, how quickly a simple “I don’t agree with your point of view” degenerates into a war of insults…

                I usually try to avoid such wars Scooter, but I didn’t exactly appreciate that Rocket threw out a baseless accusation as to how I back up my opinions. And he has yet to tell me why Hunter won’t make the team if Lattimore is healthy. I could see the team carrying Gore, Hunter, Hyde, and Lattimore for the season. That would be some fantastic depth at RB in my personal opinion.

              10. Ahhh, MidWest, no offense but there is just a little bit of hypocrisy there. I doubt rocket would appreciate it either, which is probably why he responded the way he did after you made the following comment:

                “You’re good at disagreeing but not backing it up Rocket”.

                That was before rocket made any comment regarding how you come up with your own opinion, and was in response to rocket simply stating he disagreed with you.

                There is no hypocrisy there Scooter. He only backed up his reasoning behind his disagreement on the ILB situation and nothing else in his first post. In his own words:
                Midwest,

                I disagree with pretty much everything you wrote, with the exception of the ILB competition. Even then I don’t see it involving all those players. I think it’s Wilhoite vs. Borland and Wilhoite has the advantage due to experience.
                Where exactly did he back up his disagreement?
                As for his reasons – he’s expressed in detail in other threads why he doesn’t think Hunter will make the team. I’m just guessing, but he probably didn’t feel the need to reiterate himself…?

                I’m not on here as often as I once was Scooter due to my my crazy hours at work and my better health that than 2-3 years that kept me at home more often than I wanted to be and from also being able to do things that I wanted to. Plus I recently had to replace my phone and am having to deal with a laptop that won’t work, so I’m not exactly up on what everybody has been saying on here.

              11. MidWest, you don’t see any hypocrisy in taking offense to rocket questioning how you come up with your opinions when you preempted that by making a statement that he doesn’t back up his own? Especially rocket who almost always backs up his opinions with well considered reasons, whether I agree with them or not.

              12. That may have been hypocritical of me Scooter, but it doesn’t change the fact he didn’t back or expain why he disageed with me in his first post and that he threw out a baseless accusation when I pointed that out. Maybe I could have worded it better, but he still could have explained his stance instead of using a spiteful barb that he has zero proof of.

              13. All I’m saying MidWest is that you initiated the barbed comments by calling rocket out as someone that is “good at disagreeing but not backing it up”. You’ve basically said his opinions are baseless, and done it in a belittling way. Can you really be that surprised he came back swinging?

              14. All I’m saying MidWest is that you initiated the barbed comments by calling rocket out as someone that is “good at disagreeing but not backing it up”.

                Like I said, I could have worded it better but the post was truthful in this instance Scooter.

                You’ve basically said his opinions are baseless, and done it in a belittling way. Can you really be that surprised he came back swinging?

                That wasn’t my intention Scooter. If it seemed that way, then I apologize to him. But he needed to explain why he disagreed better than what he did, even if it involves rehashing over something that he has talked about with others. Other people aren’t me.

              15. Scooter,

                I appreciate you understanding and explaining my position. You’re a good man.

              16. @Rocket

                Scooter is a good man. I’m still waiting for him to invite us over for some snag bags and stubbie’s….

              17. Cheers guys,

                Rocket, no worries mate, I’ve had a similar situation arise with MidWest in the past and when I looked back at how it started I realised it simply came from a misinterpretation of a comment I made which then spiralled into some heated backing and forthing. I think MidWest now sees how his comment escalated things in this situation, but to be fair I don’t think he meant it to be offensive – poor wording and lack of context in written form.

                Razor – gotta love a good snag (or banger, or mystery bag) on the BBQ with an ice cold beer!

            2. “but I didn’t exactly appreciate that Rocket threw out a baseless accusation as to how I back up my opinions.”

              Ahhh, MidWest, no offense but there is just a little bit of hypocrisy there. I doubt rocket would appreciate it either, which is probably why he responded the way he did after you made the following comment:

              “You’re good at disagreeing but not backing it up Rocket”.

              That was before rocket made any comment regarding how you come up with your own opinion, and was in response to rocket simply stating he disagreed with you.

              As for his reasons – he’s expressed in detail in other threads why he doesn’t think Hunter will make the team. I’m just guessing, but he probably didn’t feel the need to reiterate himself…?

        2. Why do you see the #3 WR position as a nonexistent battle MidWest? I think the battle between Johnson, Lloyd and Patton is going to be a doozy.

          The battle for the MLB role opposite Willis will also be an interesting one, but I don’t see it as being of any greater interest than the TC battles Grant listed. Whoever wins is just a place holder until Bowman returns.

          1. They didn’t trade for Johnson just so he battle it out with a rookie, a player ignored on the last play against the Seahawks, an overrated bean pole, or a guy that did his best Randy Moss impersonation. They traded for him so he could be the #3 WR this season and replace Crabtree next season.

            1. The position will be Johnson’s to lose, but Lloyd wasn’t brought in to be the #4 WR either. And Patton is a noted hard worker and won’t leave anything in the tank trying to show he deserved to be the #3 WR at the end of last year, and deserves to be again.

              They traded for Johnson and signed Lloyd because they didn’t want to be in the same position as last year when Crabtree got hurt, and they made surrounding Kaep with weapons at WR an offseason priority. They’ve now got a lot of talented guys fighting for the 3rd WR spot. This is going to be a heck of a battle, and if Johnson doesn’t earn it he’ll likely be shopped around.

              1. Sorry Scooter, but I don’t see any type of competition for the #3 WR happening. It became Johnson’s the moment he was traded for.
                I agree that they signed Lloyd and drafted Ellington so that they wouldn’t run into the same problems if Crabtree goes down, but neither the aforementioned or Patton will be given any type of chance at the #3 WR position unless Crabtree, Boldin, or Johnson go down.

              2. You may be right MidWest, but I hope they keep an open mind regarding that #3 WR spot. I really like the Johnson trade, but he shouldn’t be handed the job.

                While I think it is highly unlikely as he is our best WR, I do wonder if Johnson, Lloyd and Patton all look good in camp whether Crabtree will be dangled for trade. Getting his salary off the books this year would help with any contract for Kaep (or others), and you have to imagine Crabtree won’t be re-signed at the end of the year (too expensive).

              3. I don’t think the team will trade Crabtree. They’re too much in a WIN NOW mode, which isn’t bad but also isn’t good.

              4. We also need to consider that Johnson has a three year deal left where as Lloyd has a one year contract. They need that longer contract to cover themselves against Crabs leaving and Boldin’s age. If Lloyd has a good season he will expect more money to resign.

  9. You really don’t think lattimore or Hyde will have a roll as a power back on our roster.. Both those guys are built like LB but are nimble as heck. Having a true bruiser back will not only help red zone production but will be far too appealing for the licking their chops likes of rah rah run harbaugh and Roman, they wont be able to resist. On a power run team we need a guy who can get short yards out of stacked boxes. I bet one of those guys gets over 500 yards this year.

    1. I am not sold on Hyde as a power back. He looks more like a big back who has good moves and can break tackles once he gets into the back field rather than someone who can move the pile.

      1. Willtalk,
        I certainly hope that Hyde remains the same runner in the pros that he was in college.

        Not too long ago, we had Kevin Barlow who had a similar body type to Hyde and Lattimore. At 6′ 1′ 234 lbs he was supposed to be a load to tackle.
        Only problem, he tried to become a finesse type runner instead of using his bulk.

        Lattimore’ style resembles F.Gore in that he is a one-cut and lean-forward runner.
        Hyde looks to be the same type runner but does not have as much lean at the point of attack. Hyde looks to be an efficient receiver and blocker which could leap-frog him over M.Lattimore (even if ML were fully healthy).

      2. The “pile mover” may not be ready until next season if he is redshirted in 2014.
        I think that guy is Trey Millard.

  10. I think you forgot about Tony Jerrod-Eddie as the primary back up for Justin Smith and Ray McDonald. While he’s not much of a pass rushing threat, he did fill in last year and did a serviceable job. I would guess that he’s the lead for the top back up spot as the incumbent….though that depends on if Dorsey stays as the starter at NT or if he goes back to being a back up NT/DE.

      1. yeah, he’s not going to be on the Nickel D (I think they often put Dobbs in for TJE when they went to the Nickel?) But he’s still the most reliable option off the bench at this point. Dobbs is a better penetrator but I’m not sure how refined his moves are.

  11. I’m not really allowed to talk about scheme, but the 49ers ran about 300 sweeps at last Thursday’s practice. It was the sweep practice.

          1. maybe, they’ll do less check and release and trust Kaep to try and find the dump off? In the classic West Coast Offense the backs often ran to the flats to either beat man coverage or Cover 3. on the right side it would be part of a passing triangle (along with the flanker and TE).

            Or are they designed plays with the running back as the primary option where they specifically get the runningback on a slower backer?

            you might not be able to answer these specific questions yet…I’m guessing frowned on by the 49ers? but maybe at some point you’ll be able to expand on what you see with more specifics.

          2. It would seem to make sense that, with Kaep at QB, his legs serve as the check down. Why pass a to a rb behind the line of scrimmage if Kaep could take advantage of any opening quicker.

            1. That’s a good point. With his speed it makes more sense. That pass to flat can be tricky. Loft to get over the lineman, but enough touch to place the ball in front of the RB in stride. Seems to be a particular pass he is still trying to master. At this point it might be better for him to tuck and run.

              1. Kap can make that touch pass. I saw it on YouTube. …..he can pass to the right but they don’t call screens.

        1. interesting. still cutting the field in half. but taking advantage of Kaep’s mobility and building in a complimentary part of the running game.

    1. Remember the “no more sweeps” chants fans used to give Marc Trestman?

      I saw a Marcus Martin highlight (can’t remember which game) where he pulled all the way outside the right tackle Randy Cross style. Nifty work for a 320 pounder. That will come in handy for sweeps.

    2. NO MORE SWEEPS!!! It’s taken them almost 20 years to exorcise the ghost of George Seifert .

      seriously though, being able to run outside would be HUGE for the Niners. Power O and now the Lombardi Sweep? awesome.

        1. C’mon Oregon,
          Did Bart Starr lead block w/Fuzzy Thurston on sweep run?
          You are really reaching bud (lol).

          1. AES

            Are you just in the mood for an argument? Of course Starr wasn’t leading sweeps w/ ‘Fuzzy’…that was Jerry Kramer…what my post stated was that with Starr at QB and Carrol Dale at WR kept defenses from loading up against the ‘sweep’…they were a dynomite passing combination

            1. Nah, no arguments Oregon.
              Just thought that after you making a statement that perhaps CK should have been drafted as a WR, that you were also looking at Kaep playing OG on sweeps runs, lol.

  12. You think Kilgore will start?? With gore getting older.. you think we will start someone named kil-gore block for him? Lol

  13. Grant, you have some good skills. It’s hard to absorb, track, and remember so much information to write an article like that. I imagine your job is tons harder than the walk in the park most people probably think it is. You also have a habit of just stating what you think, without any sense of bias relative to how people will react to it. I for one admire that. It’s a lot easier to say what’s popular.

    1. Shemp: Especially if you have your picture next to your blog/posts and everyone knows who you are.

  14. Martin was drafted in the 3rd round but the 70th overall player going to a team that’s been to 3 straight NFC Championship games isn’t a favorite to get the starting job.

    49ers don’t need to start all their young players just so Grant Cohn doesn’t tell them how bad they drafted in his blog.

    Martin was a great value pick and one that gives them options at Center or Guard positions. Drafting him was a smart move and doesn’t automatically mean they don’t trust Kilgore. If they didn’t trust him they wouldn’t have given him an extension. It’s called depth…something you can try and bring to your articles once in a blue moon.

      1. Same as Ian Williams last year.

        The 49ers coaches have shown multiple times to favour veterans over rookies. The job is Kilgore’s to lose. Martin will have to earn it, and it won’t be made easy for him.

        1. Scooter, that’s because usually rookies aren’t up to the task in their first year, however, one could argue Martin is a better prospect than Frederick, who was selected at 31 by the Cowboys and became the first rookie center to start every game in their Franchise’s history. No one said it would be easy, but I’ll say for me personally, it would be a slight disappointment if M&M did not win the job. Kilgore does not have the size and power that M&M possesses, which would be huge for the 49ers backfield. That’s something that was missing in Goodwins’ game as well….

          1. He may well win the spot, but the centre has to know all the line calls so it won’t be an easy job to win this year for a rookie going up against a guy that has been in the system a few years already.

            I’d be very surprised if the job isn’t his in 2015 and beyond, but 2014 may be too soon. I hope he does win the job though.

    1. Other than signing a high priced free agent they didn’t really have much of an option but to sign him to an extension.

  15. 1. Hunter VS Hyde VS Lattimore

    This is the most significant matchup in the offseason battle of positions. This is the first step in finding the new premiere back for the 49er movement to their new stadium. Our future back is on this current roster considering the plethora of picks Baalke used on RBs in recent drafts. Gore has too much respect and is getting paid too much not too start. But I do believe that the 2nd running back will get more carries than our old-man Gore in many of the games we play. This is by far the most significant position of impact considering Gore’s age and the evolution of our offense.

    Prediction: Carlos Hyde the rook wins out the battle considering his youth, energy, awareness to block, and relentlessness in his running attack.

    2. Culliver VS Cook VS Wright

    These are three corners with multiple seasons of starting experience that are in an intense battle to get paid this next offseason. I’m not worried about our corner situation at all. The secondary talent we have on our roster is actually very deep. Every single one of our veteran corners are still relatively young and have room for growth. I do not see corner as a position of need knowing that at least one of these corners will have success. Entrusting Brock with a 4 year 16 million dollar deal this past year shows the faith the front office has in this young man and isn’t threatened to lose his starting position. This will be an intense battle and a battle that should last until week 4 in the preseason.

    Prediction: Cook’s intangibles and consistent play in the preseason wins him out and is the starting cornerback for the 49ers in week one. His intangibles as a big cornerback is too intriguing to sit. Culliver should still see a lot of playing time in the cornerback rotation.

    3. Lloyd VS Patton VS Ellington

    The depth chart will clearly be Crabtree, Boldin, and Stevie. They’re all getting paid as starting receivers as it is well-deserved. Lloyd is coming in for competition and playing time. If he can win out the 4th receiving position, he will most likely make the team meaning Kassim Osgood gets cut from the team in a resulting domino effect. If Patton’s offseason training with Kaepernick developed enough chemistry for them to entrust Patton over a savvy veteran like Lloyd, then you’ll see Lloyd get cut while Patton wins out the 4th receiver spot. Ellington will have to come in as a rookie and make a significant dent to see any playing time with Kaepernick. He will have to prove that he can be that vertical threat the 49ers were missing.

    Prediction: With the addition of 12 rookies, our special teams core has a lot of added competition. Kassim Osgood’s exceptional play is hard to release but is needed to create room for Brandon Lloyd and his veteran savvyness to help Kaepernick in the redzone. Patton and Ellington are the future of the 49ers but will have to take a seat while Crab, Boldin, Johnson, and Lloyd are being targeted.

    4. Ward VS Wright VS Cox

    Jimmie Ward comes in as a young wolf trying to make his mark in this league. Wright and Cox have the proven experience. This matchup is important and people may want to pencil Ward in as the obvious choice. The nickel position is a very hard position to learn and it is about knowing tendencies of WRs. Something Wright and Cox are accustomed to by going up against a lot of the slot receivers that they will be facing. Ward is the future but for their Super Bowl 49 run, it may be very hard to see Ward being the week one starter.

    Prediction: Wright wins this battle. I personally feel like Cox was the preferred choice over Wright purely based on experience within the defense during the playoffs. Wright came in late after having off-field issues last off-season. Now having a full year under his belt coming in to training camp, I feel like he is the favored nickelback for the 49ers. I can see Ward being the starter later in the season but for the first weeks, it would be hard for me to see the 49ers coaching staff trusting a rookie to take over those duties.

    5. Wilhoite VS Borland

    There’s no way Skov or Moody are in this picture to take over the starting MLB position in week 1 for the 49ers. The 49ers should be gladly willing to give their 3rd round pick, known to have great instincts, to take over this position and gain all experience he can while Bowman is making a quick recovery. If Borland can show that his instincts translate well to the NFL level he should be entrenched as the backup to Bowman and Willis meaning that Skov and Moody are allowed to pursue their dreams elsewhere in the NFL.

    Prediction: Borland shows enough natural ability to compete in the NFL and the 49ers entrench him as the starting linebacker so that he can gain this invaluable experience for this short while, while Bowman is making a quick recovery.

    Other Important Matchups

    Kilgore VS Martin

    Prediction: Not much to be said here. 49ers need a Center with experience and knowledge of their complex formations. Marcus Martin shows a lot of promise in preseason but Kilgore’s familiarity with packages and shift changes makes him to hard to beat out. Kilgore should easily take this job and Martin shouldn’t be considered a huge threat especially being only 20 years old.

    QB Competition

    Gabbert’s contract makes him the favorite to make the team and Johnson will have to outplay him significantly for the 49ers to sacrifice the guaranteed salary.

    Prediction: Gabbert show’s too much promise in preseason. Johnson and Faulkner get cut. Bethel-Thompson to the practice squad.

    Lemonier VS Lynch VS Skuta

    This is actually a very underrated matchup. Rethinking about it, it probably should make my top 5. Lemonier should win this one out fairly easily but Lynch does show a lot of promise if he were under the right influence. Skuta played very well last year also.

    Prediction: I really feel that Lynch can come along knowing that he did have all these past problems. This is his one opportunity and he has great mentors in Willis and Bowman. I predict he will be the 49ers next Alex Boone and will have a successful NFL career. But in the mean time, Lemonier played extremely well and Lynch’s promise is uncuttable. That means an unfortunate release for Skuta once Aldon returns.

    1. Very nice analysis. Re Skuta, he’s too valuable/versatile to cut, IMO. Remember that they brought him in for special teams and also that he can play inside LB and fullback. A very good Swiss army knife.

    2. Seems like everyone’s over-looking Wilhoite. The guy has quite a story and from what I’ve read and after looking at his pro-day numbers the guy seems to be every bit as an athlete as Bowman and similar in size. And if he can continue to progress and put it together out on the field which will allow him to play even faster, I can see him winning the job and this D not missing a beat.

      Borland I’m a little more skeptical. I love the guy and seems like a thumper but the guy doesn’t seem to fit the mold as a ILB for this team at least. Willis and Bow are such tremendous athletes and they really set the tone for our D. Not to say he wont or cant start, but I think Wilhoite is going to be tough to beat.

      1. Wilhoite, Borland or Skav will probably be subbed out more often than Bowman. Also, I could see more coverage responsibilities moved over to the Nickel back or SS…basically the LB would have a smaller zone to cover where he passes off coverage more quickly to another player. Instead of leaving a fast player like Bowman in man or zone coverage.

  16. Two things. First, Wright is favored by Baalke and not Donatell. Wright seems to be made of glass. Second, Martin is a huge threat to Kilgore because he was arguably the best center in the draft. Kilgore is a 5th round talent. Age has no impact as Davis proved….

  17. I’m looking forward to seeing how the Niners red shirt strategy they used in 2013 works out. Hopefully Lattimore, Tank and Quinton Dial will make solid contributions this season.
    2014 draftees Brandon Thomas and Keith Reaser will have their opportunities next season (both are recovering from ACL injuries).
    Until we see all these guys in action in regular season games, we won’t know how successful this strategy will have been…..TBD

    1. Crab,
      Agreed. B.Thomas would have been drafted much if not for his injury. I believe that K.Reaser will make a strong push next season for playing time as well.

      In 2-3 yrs he may become known as e-Reaser (lol). Ok, that was weak, but the kid has some real skills.

    1. i couldn’t tell if they were stretch zone blocking or big man blocking with pulling guards. I know it looks like the linemen are pulling, but I couldn’t tell if that was just Staley taking on the widest defender.

      I don’t know if you’re aloud to answer this but who is practicing running the sweep plays in practice?

      one of the problems the Niners have had is the lack of flexibility at the RB position. Hunter isn’t too bad at running in the middle but it’s he obviously does better in space than as a banger in the middle. Gore is patient enough find his way through the hole in the middle and can bounce off of and squirt by tacklers. But he’s not going to out run anyone on to the edge. That gives defenses a better key on how to defend their gaps depending on the offensive personnel the Niners show.

      1. All of the running backs that were present were practicing the sweeps — Hunter, James, Lattimore and Hampton.

        1. thanks for the on the spot reporting and observations. I wonder how Lattimore is doing running sweeps, quickness and speed aren’t his game so much as one cut power running and wasn’t he also still trying to get some of his explosion back? then again, following blockers is just as important as speed.

          I wonder if any of this will effect how they use Gore. It’s still pretty early (we’re talking rookie mini camp) if outside running will be anything more than another possible option in the quiver of plays and the Niners still stick primarily with the Power O, Leads and Isos.

    1. I know I’m in the extreme minority with this position, but I’d be surprised if they keep Hunter over LMJ. It doesn’t make any sense to me to keep Hunter who offers pretty much what they already have in Gore, Lattimore and Hyde and is in the last year of his contract.

      LMJ has two years remaining and has become a pretty good return man in a short period of time. He also has averaged a good yards per carry with the few chances he’s been given. I think he offers far more more versatility to the team than Hunter does.

      It all depends on Lattimore’s health, but if he can play, I can’t see the Niners keeping Hunter.

        1. Well there you go…Grant just guaranteed it….so Hunter’s a gonner for sure now…

          Thanks Grant

            1. A guarantee based on an educated guess? Iron-clad then! :-P

              I too would be surprised if he doesn’t make the team.

            2. The sample size is too small for that kind of guarantee imo. I think LMJ could offer the same level of ability running outside and also offers KR ability. Hunter to me is the odd man out based on the fact he doesn’t offer much outside of being the backup RB.

              I also can’t see them resigning him next year, so there is little incentive to keep him unless they feel he is far ahead of the other two which I doubt they would.

              Obviously if Lattimore has a setback or just can’t regain enough to be a roster player, then they’ll keep Hunter, but that’s the only way I see it happening.

              1. If the coaching staff thought James could offer the same level of ability as Hunter running outside, the coaching staff would have given James more carries last season.

                Hunter is proven. He’s a very good outside runner. I highly doubt the 49ers will cut him for someone who is unproven.

              2. Grant,

                Maybe, but it could also be that they simply stuck with the guy who was a year older and more experienced in the offense. Hunter wasn’t given a whole lot of carries either, and with adding Hyde and Lattimore if reasonably healthy, his spot is the one in jeopardy imo because he doesn’t offer the flexibility LMJ does.

                LMJ averaged 5.5 a carry running outside, and it was the same on both sides even though the carries were few. He certainly hasn’t shown he’s not capable of it. The only difference is Hunter has been given more opportunities. With LMJ being the returner as well, I see him being kept over Hunter if it comes down to a battle between the two of them.

              3. Hunter has earned the opportunities. He’s a stronger runner than James. Hunter has averaged 2.6 yards after contact during his career.

              4. Grant,

                A RB the size of LMJ is not going to make a living with yards after contact. Hunter averaging 2.6 to LMJ’s 2.0 is also not some monumental difference in the grand scheme. LMJ was a second round pick because he’s explosive and can make big plays in space. Hunter was a 4th round pick who doesn’t have the same level of explosiveness and is in the same mold as the guys ahead of him.

                We can keep arguing the same points but ultimately we’ll see who is right in about 3 months.

        2. Is that supposed to make us feel all warm and toasty inside? I can defecate in a box and mark it guaranteed too…..

      1. Scooter,
        A little late here, but I don’t see LMJ getting the nod over KHunt.
        With Gore likely getting less carries this year than the last couple of seasons, Hunter at the moment is the one player who can spell FG.

        Hyde looks to have great potential but is yet unproven on the field and in the playbook. That’s a + for Hunter.
        I really like Lattimore and hope and pray that he makes a full recovery. But the type of injury he received was nearly catastrophic and still makes him an unproven commodity. That too, is a + for Hunter.

        KHunt’ only slight is his blocking. But he is an efficient RB and receiver coming out of the backfield. KH was coming back from an injury himself last season and still managed to have some decent runs.

        LMJ (who I like as well) faired much better as a ST/RTN man but he was not spectacular and could very well be leap-frogged by someone in TC. LMJ declined as a RB last season for whatever reason, thereby giving KHunt another +.

        Jewel Hampton (who’s been on PS) will likely be out. But Hunter is a keeper for the reasons I just gave.

  18. Per Matt Maiocco (@MaioccoCSN):

    “The 49ers reached an injury settlement with OT Luke Marquardt (fractured foot). He is no longer on their IR list.”

  19. James received carries in six games last season: Week 4, Week 5, Week 10, Week 11, Week 15 and the NFC Championship.

    His yards-after-contact averages in those games were 1.0, 2.0, 2.0, 1.0, 2.0 and 2.0.

    Probably why the coaching staff gave him so few carries.

    1. Grant

      Doesn’t that sort of set him up as a target when he enters the game? Use him to his strengths instead of up the middle all the time…after all there is only ONE GORE

      1. Not really Oregon. It shows that James was given a chance in six games yet flopped each time.

        1. C’mon MWD

          That’s kind of like flipping off your #1 draft choice for missing his only target…ridiculous…with this type of logic, we will be buying our tickets to someone elses SB forever. I believe that we are quickly becoming a joke…. and all of our ‘cuts’ are playing for someone else.

          1. Because I pointed out the obvious Oregon? Maybe James’ poor play wouldn’t be as noticeable if he would just shut up about not getting enough playing time and actually earn his keep. I know. Too sensible right?

            1. All you pointed out is that you continue to have biased opinions that aren’t backed up by the facts Mid.

              LMJ was given 12 carries and averaged 4.9 yards per. It’s absurd that you could refer to that as a failure. Your problem is you let your personal feelings toward the player dictate your opinion. In this case you don’t like the fact LMJ has said he wants a bigger role. In the case of Kap, you didn’t like him wearing a Dolphins cap. In both cases, especially Kaps, it appears they will do the opposite of what you want them to.

              1. “LMJ was given 12 carries and averaged 4.9 yards per. It’s absurd that you could refer to that as a failure.”

                It was 13 carries and an average of 4.5. Regardless, the average is skewed by such a low sample size.

              2. I posted regular season carries Jack but thanks for your concern.

                You want a bigger sample? LMJ has 51 total carries in two years and has averaged 4.9 yards a carry.

                The idea that he hasn’t shown he can do it, or has flopped, is complete garbage. He hasn’t been given the opportunities and that is why he’s not happy about his role.

              3. “LMJ has 51 total carries in two years and has averaged 4.9 yards a carry.”

                That’s still an awfully small sample size for a running back.

                “He hasn’t been given the opportunities and that is why he’s not happy about his role.”

                Perhaps he hasn’t earned the opportunities.

            2. All you pointed out is that you continue to have biased opinions that aren’t backed up by the facts Mid.

              If that was the case, then James would be starting. He isn’t and the the number of carries that the team has given him is evidence of why he isn’t. Stop looking for a fight where there isn’t one to be had Rocket.

    1. Play of the day: Russell Wilson rifled a deep pass down the middle of the field to rookie receiver Paul Richardson.

        1. And why wouldn’t he? He’s been training for this moment since the age of 2……

        2. Not surprised. Beckham was the 12 overall pick. My hunch is the 49ers really liked him (and Fuller) but they both went too high for reasonable trade-up (like a first+third).

          1. Yes, that is my take too Brodie. I only brought it up for Grant as he and I had quite lengthy discussions regarding Beckham and whether he’d be any good.

            1. That’s not what the discussions were about. I don’t think he was worth a first-round pick, and you think he’s the next Isaac Bruce.

              I’m thinking Ben McAdoo sees Beckham filling Greg Jennings’ role at X and Rueben Randle filling Jordy Nelson’s role at Z.

              1. Heh, as soon as I clicked to post the comment I knew you’d correct me – yes, I exaggerated, we had lengthy discussions regarding whether Beckham was worthy of being a first round pick.

              2. Interesting that Chip Kelly is putting Jordan Matthews in the slot and Jeremy Maclin at Z.

              3. Yeah, not sure what Chip Kelly’s reasoning is, other than maybe liking the idea of a bigger guy in there to help in run blocking. I would have thought he’d be a good fit as the split end.

            2. Baalke hinted in a recent interview the delayed draft allowed less organized front offices to catch their draft boards up to more organized teams. Aside from the usual hit or miss QB gambles, there weren’t as many of the usual flubs.

              Had the draft been held in April, better players could have fallen to 30, or trade-ups might have been cheaper… but the longer preparation period made the big boards around the league more similar.

          2. B2W,
            I’m not particularly blown-away by the news of Beckham running with the first team.

            Except for V.Cruz, the other WR’s (at least of known significance) that OBJr has to beat out are Rueben Randle and a re-cycled Mario Manningham.
            Not exactly a big hill to climb there.

      1. Richardson is a great fit for what they do… pound the rock, then attack with long bombs. Combined with Harvin you have a fast receiver corps.

        I like the 49ers draft, but my hunch is Baalke targeted a receiver that went off the board too high… so Baalke conducted a well executed Plan B draft packed with solid BPAs that also fill longer term needs.

        Ellington will help the 49ers slot speed, and the receiver depth is great… but that edge speed they drafted AJ Jenkins for is still the missing element in an otherwise well stocked offense.

        Its amazing what one failed pick can do to the timing of building Super Bowl teams. Imagine how good the 49ers would be if Jenkins was all we had hoped?

        1. Exactly, Richardson and Harvin will stretch the field and then throw Lynch into the mix. S/b exciting to watch to watch the strategy.

  20. James is a fine running back. Hasn’t had much of a chance to showcase his stuff and I doubt that he will in a Niner uniform. The drafting of James is the most glaring decision so far in the Baalke/Harbaugh reign. Bad choice for the type of football the Niners play. I think the biggest reason James isn’t ahead of Hunter is his blocking skill or lack thereof. I kind of feel the way Rocket does in Hunter will be gone before James then I start thinking maybe its time for Gore to step aside. Running back position is going to be a fun one to watch in training camp. I wish I could keep them all.

    1. Under,

      Blocking is likely the key issue but there’s a lot of things you can do with a player like LMJ so we’ll see what happens if they keep him.

      My opinion of Hunter is not based on the fact I don’t think he’s a good player. I just don’t see anything from him that is different from what they have in Lattimore and Hyde. He offers no ST value and is in the final year of his rookie deal. Unless the team plans on resigning him, then why keep him over your KR who offers the same level of outside running prowess and has two years left on his deal?

      Gore will be here at least one more season. They love this guy and rightfully so and want to send him off with respect, which is why they are going to pay him about double what he’s actually worth at this point.

    1. Welcome back. How much pressure for a roster spot on this team is developing? There’s some insane competition at multiple positions. Grants’ reporting prowess will be tested…..

    2. Costanzo should create good competition with Skove and special teams standouts Osgood and Ventrone. August roster cuts are going to hurt.

      1. You may be onto something here Brodie. Costanzo could make it easier to keep Lloyd as their 4th receiver.

      2. Dahl/Ventrone should be part of the casualties….Osgood/Spillman may be in danger as well….

        1. I seriously doubt Spillman goes anywhere. He’s a great young ST player and provides depth at the Safety spot if Reid or Bethea go down, just in case Ward wasn’t ready.

          1. I wouldn’t argue there I just think Spillman offers more than Osgood with his age and added value to his position

            1. Osgood is fast as a gunner, and Spillman is the angle man. They work well together….

      1. Love the Costanza re-signing.
        He is a maniac on ST’s and his signing could be a vote of confidence for Borland to only focus on LB’ing rather than playing a role on ST’s.

          1. Hammer,

            “Marine Biologist” was comic genius, but one of my favorites was George getting into a fight with the Bubble Boy (lol).
            Jerry’ dad getting impeached as retirement home president was also a classic.

    3. Interesting signing. It will be a battle to see who makes it as the ST’s aces. I would guess Costanza is battling Moody and Skov for a roster spot, along with the previously mentioned Ventrone and Osgood.

  21. In the spirit of Grants’ guarantee, I’m going to predict Hyde has more carries than either Hunter or Lattimore……

    1. “Of course, I can get a he** of a good look at a T-Bone steak by sticking my head up a bull’s @$$, but I’d rather take the butcher’s word for it.”

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