Grading the 49ers’ best players

How many players on the 49ers deserve an “A” or “A-” grade? I count six. Here’s my list, and I’m eager to read yours.

Aldon Smith: A-. The best pass rusher in the NFL from 2011 to 2013, and a bad pass rusher in 2014. Suspended for the first nine games last season. When he returned, he was not in football shape. If he’s in shape this year, he should be an “A” player once again.

NaVorro Bowman: A-. Was an “A” before he tore his ACL and MCL. Probably won’t be an “A” player ever again. Probably can’t play 1,000 snaps next season. Maybe he can play 800.

Joe Staley: A-. Started to decline last season. Still an “A” run-blocker, but has become a “B-” pass-protector. Might need to move to right tackle in a season or two.

Antoine Bethea: A-. The best pass-covering strong safety in the NFL and an adequate run-defender. The 49ers front-seven was so good last season, they didn’t need Bethea to be a good run defender.

Anquan Boldin: A-. Has been an “A-” his whole career. Not fast enough to threaten defenses on 3rd-and-15, but there is no one better than Boldin at converting third-and-7.

Bruce Miller: A-. Elite blocker and receiver for a fullback. Ordinary running back in short-yardage and goal-line plays.

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  1. Good list Grant, I would also give Eric Reed FS an A, Any reason why you did not? His he a B or C in your eyes? Thanks.

      1. Looking back on some stats , You are right he did struggle more than I thought! But maybe he did the Sophomore slump and will be better this year!
        Thank you!

    1. The 49ers are hoping Carlos Hyde will have a great rating this year. Unfortunately, he’s a powerback, who lacks the vision, short area quickness/shiftiness of a Frank Gore. Hyde’s attributes of power plus toughness keeps him up longer, fighting for more yards, but also vulnerable to secondary hits/injuries which add up in a long 16 game season.

  2. As long as you’re including exceptions for 2014, Vernon Davis should still be an A- player.
    As long as you’re forgetting his completely forgettable 2014 no show season.

    1. I can’t think of a good excuse for Davis’ 2014 season. He’s a speed guy who seems to have slowed down. He was pretty much useless last season.

      1. He was pretty much useless last season.

        No he wasn’t, he played pretty good defense in that Ram’s game, when he batted down V-Mac’s only chance of scoring a TD last season.

    1. MWNiner, I sure hope smith grades out an A at the end of the 2015 season. There’s a lot riding on him. Also, I believe Carlos Hyde will be an A player this year.

  3. This is a sad list with a lot of past tense verbs

    Guy with large drug/alcohol and fitness problems
    Guy who just blew up his knee
    30 year old oline guy starting to decline
    Good strong safety who’s 30
    34 year old receiver
    fullback

      1. Don’t know alot about Briggs. ILBs that can cover don’t grow on trees. I’m not expecting any to fall into the 49ers laps.

        The Graham signing is a major complication. It forces the 49ers (Cards, Rams) to shift draft focus. One or all three NFC West teams might be forced to over-draft ILBs if they have decent coverage skills.

        If the 49ers ran a 4-3 I’d be tempted to go big nickle. I wonder how LJ McCray’s doing? He’s a physical thumper.

  4. Nice job on the list Grant. I would throw in Anthony Davis and Glenn Dorsey as “A” grade consideration. Davis being an “A” run blocker and Dorsey being an “A” run defender. But with Davis struggling at times in pass protection and Dorsey not being much of a pass rusher, I can see why they wouldn’t be included.

    I did have a question about Andrus Peat. In your opinion, what do you see from him on tape that shows you he can be a good fit at LG in the NFL? Most seem to think that Scherff is the one who would be the better fit inside, so I was curious to know what you think. Also, would you object to the 49ers taking Scherff over Peat?

    1. Thanks. I think Peat has the athleticism to play both guard and tackle at a high level. He’s huge, he’s long, he has quick feet and he can pull. The transition from tackle to guard isn’t difficult, and he could transition back to tackle in a season or two.

      I think Sherff is a guard, not a tackle, like Robert Gallery. So I prefer Peat.

      1. I think you greatly underestimate how difficult a transition to OG might be for a guy that 6’7″. Boone is a bit of an exception. That kind of height can be a real leverage problem inside where OGs are often facing shorter, squatter, more powerful DL.

        1. I talked about this with Mike Solari. Leverage is much less of an issue now than it was 30 years ago. Offensive linemen are way bigger, so the NFL lets them get away with much more grabbing and holding.

          1. That may be the case, but leverage is still an advantage. It is still easier for an OG to win the leverage battle if he is a little shorter.

            Given Peat struggled against Nate Orchard’s bull rush, how will he go against a good 6’2″-ish, 300lbs 3-tech DT?

            1. That’s the only guy who ever gave Peat problems. He handled everyone else. He’s only 21, he’s getting stronger, he already has a strong base and he keeps his balance well. He isn’t top-heavy like Mike Iupati. Iupati got caught off balance a lot in pass protection.

              1. You could be right, but I think its a worthy concern. I don’t think it is a slam dunk he’ll be able to transition to OG like you suggest.

              2. If Peat were just a tall guy and a so-so athlete, I would agree. But he is the most athletic offensive lineman in the draft. He makes Scherff look like a stiff. Peat would have no problem playing guard.

              1. You aren’t in the thinking of some athletes just have that “it” factor.
                Very few come back and still play well after an injury like that. Peterson is one of those players. I think bowman is the same. It’s not like he’s old. The heart and dedication he has shouldn’t be questioned. But then again you can never fill the glass with half empty thinkers.

              2. Will power and determination will only get someone to the best possible outcome in relation to the injury they are “working through.” There are no guarantees for anyone.

                I’m positive Bowman will give himself the very best chance to recover.

        1. Probably not, but having a 3rd guy on the roster that is of around the same level as Wilhoite wouldn’t be a bad thing.

        2. Spikes>Whilhoite
          Briggs 4 years ago yeah.
          Not a big fan of Whilhoite but he did impress when playing next to a pro bowler. He’s the player that others make look good.

  5. Grant, I like your list. Is it only based on 2014? If so can’t think of anyone to add. There were too many injuries. Little continuity.

    Here is a list of players not included above that have played A to A- at some point in their careers .

    Antony Davis – Despite is propensity for twitter wars, AD quietly improved year after year. When he doesn’t have to worry about the man on his left (Rachal, Snyder) he’s one of the better RTs.

    Vernon Davis – Much has been written (correctly) about what he can’t do.
    But… Vernon’s a crunching blocker. The fastest true TE in the history of football. He can run the deep seem and burn defenses. He creates horrible mismatch issues. Imagine what a Manning-Brady-Rogers-Breese could do with intermediate passes with Vernon running clear-out routes.

    Justin Smith – Of course.

    Glen Dorsey – Played A- in 2013 after Ian Williams leg was deliberately broken in Seattle.

    Brooks – There was a two year stretch where virtually no offense ran left with any success. The McDonald-Brooks combination was less heralded then the Smith brothers, but an absolute all vs the run. He was also excellent in space and could pressure. A true all around OLB.

    1. I am, as we have all well documented a well run machine starts at the top and I am having a hard time thinking of anyone more pity, oily, Slimy or more insincere then the York family. Now I feel more depressed, Thanks htwaits!

    2. This is the key part of the blog entry and all that really needs to be said:

      Doesn’t make sense. It wasn’t thought through. This is just rationalization for a decision that was mad out of anger before the 2014 season ever started–hence, the leaks–and then justified retroactively, but not sensibly.

      Nothing changes this reality: York and Baalke got tired of Harbaugh a year ago, ruined a season while plotting against him, and now are coming up with justifications afterwards.

      It is what it is, and that is Tomsula and two coordinators that have a lousy track record. Hopefully everything goes against history, but if I was betting on what will happen, the Niners will likely be closer to 8-8 again than a playoff spot.

    1. TK wallows in his own self-importance. Considering the past problems with the offense, especially the line, it wasn’t hard to imagine a more productive offense this season, and IMO it’s easier to see now with the signing of Smith and the departures of Crabtree and Iupati. My concern was how the defense could match its performance last year, and losing Borland, Skuta, and Culliver has made it harder. TK continues to harp about the Harbaugh firing, but these guys would have left anyway.

      1. My take is that Tim is pointing out the need that Jed seems to feel to explain firing Jim Harbaugh in football terms. Jed doesn’t seem able to simply say, “I am the owner and I fired Jim Harbaugh because I didn’t like him.”

        1. He mostly likely didn’t like him. Just like all his other stops as a coach Jim had before the Niners. JH got fired partly because his offense was not good last year and really had not progressed under his guidance. Secondly he would not replace his close friend Roman as the OC when ownership had approached him regarding that issue. Jim Haurbaugh did great things here and he is a damn good coach but he deserved to get fired for this last year. It was pathetic last year and that seems to go unnoticed when discussing this situation. I’m not going to say this coaching is better then this last staff but I will give them a fair chance.

          1. Firing a HC after an 8-8 season coming on the heels of 3 straight NFCCG appearances and a SB is not deserved CK-Elite. You as a fan are discouraged over what you saw last year and looking at specific areas of the team to analyze, but if you look around the league as a neutral observer, there is no way Harbaugh deserved to be fired with the record he had. He was top 3 before last season.

            This is old news now though so there is no sense in discussing it any longer. Jed fired him because he didn’t like him. He had no justification to do so for performance so a personality clash is essentially what forced the issue.

            1. Anyway you slice it the majority of the fans are backing Jim like he did nothing wrong. He was a big part of this disconnect. I agree that Jed got rid of him manly for personal reasons but you and I don’t know what Jim was doing behind the scenes. There is more this story then reported.

              1. The fact that Jed can’t say why he fired Harbaugh leads to a wide range of similar problems in the future. His football argument falls apart when you see what Jed did to solve the problem after Harbaugh “mutually” departed.

                If Jed believes his own story then we’ve also got delusion to deal with in the future. If Jed believes that the NFL community believes his story then he has more to deal with than the fan’s support of Jim Harbaugh.

              2. So what’s it all mean? According to Mr. natural it don’t mean sh*#.
                Jed fired Jim. Yep.
                Truman fired MacArthur. Yep.
                Next man up. Continue the March; drive on.

              3. Jed’s comments share one aspect of MacArthur’s farewell speech. You can pick which one.

                “Critics and much of the public soon saw through the holes in his arguments. But his final words, drawing the curtain on an unparalleled military career, surely rank as one of the great exit lines in American history.”

              4. CK / rocket,
                Harbaugh is a great coach but his ardent loyalty to Greg Roman may have tipped the scales in his removal.

                I venture that had JH allowed GRo to walk (likely forced to resign) after the championship game in Seattle in 2013, he would still be the 49ers’ headcoach.
                Also, had GRo been released following that game there is a strong probability that we could have at the very least made it to the first round of the playoffs.

                It’s pure speculation on my part I know, but given Harbaugh’ track record of taking care of his coaches certainly leads me to make that assumption.

              5. The only guy that EVER fired Jim Harbaugh is Jim Harbaugh……If he truly doesn’t understand why he got fired, he has no sense of history

  6. This is what the new Jim said; “The personnel department looking at film, making the grades, sharing the information, putting it together, having a plan. It’s just been wonderful.”
    He sounds like a kid in a candy store.
    Our new coach SOUNDS LIKE A KID in a candy store!

  7. Joe Staley
    Daniel Kilgore
    Bruce Miller
    Ian Williams
    NaVorro Bowman
    Aldon Smith
    Justin Smith
    Antoine Bethea
    Andy Lee

          1. Agreed, and you have to be dominant in that one season to be considered an A (or upper echelon) player. Not just good.

              1. I wasn’t necessarily referring to Kilgore, or any particular player for that matter. Just with regards to Grant’s last sentence I agree – I think its premature to label a guy an upper echelon player until he’s been playing at that level for more than a year.

              2. Same with Ian Williams. He has been terrific, but he has played just 15 games in four seasons.

          2. “As a run-blocker.”

            Actually he was better in pass protection. He was in the top 3-5 in Pass Blocking Efficiency when he went down.

              1. He didn’t give up a pressure through the first 3 weeks of the season, and had only 6 pressures in 6 1/2 games. His man never touched the QB.

              2. Centers don’t give up much pressure. They’re blocking run-stuffers. Nick Mangold gave up just 4 hurries in 1,000 snaps last season. Rodney Hudson gave up 7 hurries in 1,031 snaps. Kilgore played just 463 snaps. He’s a B player until he stays healthy for a whole season.

              3. Mangold gave up 7 total pressures, and was one of only three with a PBE better than Kilgore.

                On the topic of PFF, their grading seemed to be a little different last year. Tougher. There were 14 teams with a total offense grade of +33 or better in 2013, and only 5 in 2014.

  8. If we are assuming an A or A- grade is talking about an upper echelon player for their position, then I think Andy Lee and Anthony Davis need to be included. Lee is still one of the best punters in the NFL, and a healthy Davis is one of the best RTs.

    You could easily make an argument that a fully healthy Vernon Davis is still one of the upper echelon TEs in the NFL too.

    If anything, I’d probably drop Boldin to a B+, but I guess in terms of what he does (possession WR) he can still be considered upper echelon. With that in mind, if we are thinking in terms of role, then Torrey Smith is right up there as well – he is one of the upper echelon deep threats in the NFL. But both guys in terms of all round WRs are more next tier guys.

    1. Lee probably is an A. I give Anthony Davis a B+. Even for a right tackle, he is too much of a liability in pass protection to be an A player, but he’s right on the borderline. Vernon Davis might be the hardest player on the team to grade.

      I’d give Torrey Smith a B+, and I think Boldin is better than Smith, so I give Boldin an A-.

      1. Is Anthony Davis any more a liability in pass protection than most RTs (last year’s injury riddled play aside)?

        1. Hard to say. He was a decent pass-protector in 2012 and 2013, and an awful pass protector in 2010, 2011 and 2014.

          1. So he took a couple of years to develop into a decent pass protector, then had a down year last year when he struggled with a few injuries.

            I think the general curve has been upwards for him. When healthy I think his pass pro is pretty good for a RT. So I think a healthy Anthony Davis warrants an A grade given he is excellent in the running game.

            1. Injuries can change the curve. We’ll see if Davis’ injuries slow him down the way Iupati’s injuries slowed him down.

              If it was just one injury, you could call it a fluke. But it was three or four. That’s not good.

          2. Anthony Davis was a decent pass protector every year he wasn’t hurt, or a playing next to turnstiles Chilo Rachal or Adam Snyder.
            (An argument for drafting someone to replace Boone)

            In his rookie season AD had such a quick first step, he was wrongly flagged for motion.

            Didn’t help AD was paired with Rachal, who had and extremely slow first step. It made AD (look) like he was false starting, and open huge holes between Chilo and AD.

            (still not sure why more talk isn;t about extending Boone)

  9. I agree with the list and would probably add a healthy VD and AD to the list. I would also day Eric reid is a Bplus but the concussions are worrisome. Lynch and Tank had good performances in the second half of the season and I say they are Bs with A potential.

    So the question now becomes how many starters were D/F? How does that compare to the other teams in the league. I have a theory that the niners have more 7,8 and 9 players on their team than any other team but no 10s. We dont have that one superstar , but are very solid otherwise.

  10. Manish Mehta @MMehtaNYDN
    Who’s better: Marcus Mariota or Geno Smith? Woody Johnson: “Geno’s probably way ahead of him at this point, believe it or not”

    1. @Grimey…I’m only guessing here, but I’d guess that Gino’s two years playing to NFL speed would give him advantage over Mariota…if so, Marcus won’t take two years to get it back….

  11. if healthy all listed below are A players on the field……

    anquan-boldin
    vernon-davis
    joe-staley
    alex-boone
    colin-kaepernick
    bruce-miller
    darnell-dockett
    justin-smith
    navorro-bowman
    ahmad-brooks
    aldon-smith
    antoine-bethea
    phil-dawson
    andy-lee

      1. Maybe ROLB in the base defense. He isn’t a great run blocker. But he can rush from either side in the sub packages.

        1. I agree. With that in mind, if he keeps improving this year do you think the 49ers will let Aldon leave, and move Lynch to ROLB?

          1. If Smith has another bad season, yes. If Smith has another 15-sack-season, he’s probably sticking around. I wouldn’t be surprised if he has a 15-sack season in 2015.

          2. If I want to be dominant in any one area besides QB it’s at OLB in the 3-4. IMO Keeping both is worth the investment. Especially with Lynch on his rookie deal for 3 more years.

            1. If Aldon is willing to take a deal that basically voids without much of any ramifications financially to the 49ers if he gets in trouble again, then sure.

              But if Aldon stays out of trouble this year and plays well he could probably get a better deal elsewhere without so many caveats.

              1. I imagine he would probably get something similarly structured to CK and T. Smith. With guarantees for injury only, that become fully guaranteed April 1st.

              2. Yeah, but would 31 teams pass on giving a dominant pass rusher a big deal with some leeway for a guy that by the end of the 2015 season would have stayed out of trouble for two seasons?

              3. I don’t follow your question.

                All I can say is Trent Baalke loves Aldon Smith. I doubt any GM appreciates Smith’s game more than Baalke does.

              4. If Aldon shines in 2015, he’ll be offered differing contracts by year’s end.

                Some contracts will be high but but have “rolling” guarantees and de-escalators.

                Other contracts will have less overall money, but with larger (truely) guaranteed money.

                It will be up to Aldon to figure out which one he wants.

                Baalke better love Aldon. He’s a transformative player.

      1. It is. What they said is also the type of speculation that had Ahmad Brooks cut or traded.

        It’s also intriguing to think about signing a player like Carr without giving up any compensatory picks.

        1. Ya but with the signing of wright and the 4 mil that they guaranteed him, does that eliminate the Niners from signing Carr if released?

          1. I don’t know, but it limits how much $ they would be willing to throw his way. Which would probably be limited anyway.

      1. Yeah just watched his Virginia game. Not a good blocker, did break a couple tackles though. Also not a very explosive athlete overall.

  12. Boldin is not an A- player. Next year he’s one year older. He’s tough, a short yardage possession WR. Miller not even be on the team.
    I think Kaep is an A- player after working Warner. HA NOT!!!

      1. The only thing they really need to do is allow the Refs to do their jobs better(I’m talking about reviewing big penalties).

        If they really want to change the kicking/XP game they should move PATs to the one yd line, and Kickoffs to the 50(with TBs at the 30)yd line. That should encourage coaches to go for two more and onside kick more.

  13. I’m wondering what 49ers and potential draft targets best pair best with what Adam Henry teaches.

    After watching some footage of Henry pupils Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry, they seem to…
    – High Point very will
    – Attack the ball in flight
    – Aggressive mindset
    – Have no problem leaping or extending for catches in traffic
    – Fight for the ball

    I think Parker would pair very well with Adam Henry. I think Patton would benefit most from him as far as current receivers go.

    1. Compensatory Picks

      Chiefs: 3rd (98), 5th (172), 5th (173), 6th (217)
      Patriots: 3rd (97), 7th (253)
      Bengals: 3rd (99), 4th (135)

      49ers: 4th (132), 7th (254)
      Broncos: 4th (133), 6th (208), 7th (250), 7th (251)
      Seahawks: 4th (134), 5th (170), 6th (209), 6th (214)
      Ravens: 4th (136), 5th (171), 5th (175)

      Panthers: 5th (169), 6th (213)
      Texans: 5th (174), 6th (211), 6th (216)

      Packers: 6th (210), 6th (212)
      Rams: 6th (215)

      Steelers: 7th (252)
      Colts: 7th (255)
      Arizona Cardinals: 7th (256)

      Note: I hope Torrey Smith’s inflated guaranteed numbers don’t cancel out the loss of Iupati. It’s not really apples to apples because Iupati will get real guaranteed money, not “rolling” guaranteed money Torry Smith’s getting.

      1. I have no idea why compensatory picks aren’t trade-able.

        It seems cruel to force a 6th rounder onto teams that are likely to release them. It deprives them of a chance to compete for a spot on a team that actually has job openings. Bad for the player. Useless for the team.

        Pick 132 – Big Nickle thumper strong safety. Small school power running back or ILB. Backup QB. All but QB will be ST.

        Pick 254 – NFI Redshirt, DE to FB conversion project. Imaginary friend for Jed. (his current imaginary friend left him for another human)

      2. My understanding is Culliver, Iupati and Torrey Smith would each garner a 4th round comp pick. Smith will cancel out one of them, doesn’t matter which one.

  14. No one on this team deserved an “A” for 2014. Some of these guys were B’s.

    Bruce Miller may not even start this year if Trey Millard comes out of the gate fast, regardless of the legal issues.

    NaVorro Bowman: As he goes, so goes the 2015 defense. If he is 90-95% the player he was, we’ll be able to cover up some of our shortfalls. If not, the roof could cave in.

    And on offense, Kaep was a “C” last year. Unless he is at least a “B+” this year, we’re going to struggle without Gore as the Bell Cow. And, yeah, that is asking a lot, but that’s life for an NFL QB: Step Up, or move on.

        1. That’s what babies do — repeat themselves. Then replying to my own double post got misplace by Jed. Where will this one go?

    1. Grumpy,

      Good to see a post from you again.

      I’m keeping my expectations of Kap’s improvement at a reasonable level, and will accept a B grade performance, especially with the new personnel in the first half of the season.

    1. I’m surprised how little talk there is of safety depth. Here’s what the 49ers have…

      – 3 concussions Reid
      – Old man Bethea
      – Fragile Foot Ward
      – LJ Catawba College McCray
      – Craig “OMG I can’t believe they re-signed” Dahl

      I think Ward can play high level safety but have doubts about his body.

      I’m confident in Bethea, but he won’t hang around forever.

      I love McCray’s college footage. He covers ground and hits with authority. One of my favorite project players. I have no idea if he can actually play Safety. If so his size and physicality make him ideal for covering Graham.

      Ward struggled the first several games, but was coming around nicely before the foot re-injury. Do you think his coverage skills will develop? I loved his quick feet and ball skills in college.

      According to the guys with bad haircuts, its not a deep safety draft. I hope McCray’s a diamond in the rough. He punched his way onto the roster last summer. Time for him to keep swinging.

      1. I’ll be curious to see where Cody Prewitt ends up getting drafted. His senior year was a bit disappointing and he played a bit timid at times, but he was excellent his junior year. If he drops to the 3rd round I’d be happy to see the 49ers draft him.

    2. Grant, you’ve written another good article for Bleacher Report. It seems you are far less critical of the 49ers and the 49er’s players lately and I can’t tell if that’s because you’re just toning down your writing style or with Harbaugh gone and all the other changes that have taken place you just don’t feel the need to be kicking a team when it’s down.
      Anyway, good job with the article. I’m wondering after what you wrote about Jimmie Ward, how you would grade Baalke’s tenure as the man in charge of the draft? If Ward get’s replaced as the slot corner, which is the position he was mainly drafted to fill, then he would be another 1st round mistake if not another 1st round bust.
      Baalke’s picked Anthony Davis, Aldon Smith, AJ Jenkins, Eric Reid and Jimmie Ward in the first round since he’s been in charge of the draft. I would say two A’s, an F, a B and a D respectively. How would you grade those five 1st round picks?

      1. Don’t forget Iupati too; an A- imo. The book’s still out. Reid had an A 1st year and maybe just a sophomore slump; tbd. Its also way too early on Ward; also tbd.

        1. Good catch BT, I overlooked that we had two #1 picks in 2010.
          It’s also worth noting that in every draft since Baalke’s been in charge there’s been at least one of his picks that is no longer in the NFL. Some are completely out of Baalke’s control (Borland) some had a low probability of a successful NFL career (Lattimore) and some were just complete late round whiffs (Nate Byham, Curtis Holcomb, Jason Slowey). This seems to indicate that one of Baalke’s picks out of every year, including this yea,r will just be a wasted pick and won’t even count. A scary thought, but I wonder where the other 31 GM’s records would compare. Grant, maybe an idea for an article?

          1. Thats not surprising at all.
            You have to consider that less than half the picks are still on the team by year three on average for selections made after the first three rounds (so selections from round 4-7).
            Baalke has been much better than average in terms of his drafting records success.

  15. Andrew Brandt ✔ @adbrandt
    Best 2015 compensatory pick is Bengals getting a 3rd for losing Michael Johnson, now back on their roster while making $7M from Bucs.

  16. Crabtree must be feeling humble ……..karma is a bitch

    “Bowe’s two year deal is worth a total of $12.5 million and includes a whopping $9 million guaranteed. Entering his age-31 season, Bowe scored a $3.5 million signing bonus and gets 72 percent of his entire contract guaranteed. Among receivers, that’s the highest percentage guaranteed to a player not operating on his guaranteed first-round rookie deal or the fully guaranteed franchise tag.”

      1. Looked up Thomas:
        6’3″ 317 lbs 8.13 3 cone 4.83 shuttle

        Couldn’t find them for Martin. Did he hurt himself before the combine?

      2. Here’s the issue I see. Tell me if you disagree.

        Free agency and the draft aside, Kilgore will be the center, and Thomas and Martin will compete for left guard. The loser is backup guard. Pears is backup tackle. If Boone isn’t re-signed, Thomas or Martin takes his spot next year.

        So I can’t see them drafting an OG in the first or second rounds.

        1. I agree to an extent, don’t think they go OL in first two rounds unless there’s really great value there. So if Scherff somehow falls to 15, I think they take him.

              1. If either Kilgore/MMartin beat him out, the positive is that he backs up both guard and tackle.

  17. Glad to see Niners are interested in Lance Briggs. He’s old but not too old.
    1 yr guarantee with 2nd year Niners option (based on performance) would work.

      1. I would be happy to see the 49ers move on from Crabtree. He seems like he would be more a detriment than bring any upside. His attitude is towards the team is crap and so was his play last season. Adios Crab, don’t let the door hit you in the a$$.

      2. FWIW, I heard from a friend at the combine that the word going around there was that the 49ers were going to try to bring Crabtree back at $4-5M a year. Looks like they might be able to get him for less than that now too so I won’t be surprised if he comes back. They should re-sign him, he’s still very good.

          1. That article is bout receivers changing teams, and likely getting paid too much in FA. And that article actually shows teams get worse when they let those receivers go, losing 1.3 games more on average. This is about re-signing a talented, underrated receiver who will come cheap.

        1. Crabtree has had a number of foot ailments and now the Achilles. He may just be beyond his due date at this point. It happens in this game, and if you drop just a little in terms of speed/explosiveness, it shows up on the field.

          I don’t see him returning though. Niners don’t need him and he doesn’t want the Niners. Time to move on for both sides.

        2. If he wants to go somewhere he can put up stats then I think he’d be willing to take less to go to another team than stay with the 49ers.

          In fact at this point he’s probably already realised he’s not going to get any offers better than what the 49ers might offer him, and he’s still happy to wait – I think that speaks volumes about his disinterest in rejoining the 49ers. At this point it looks like he might be happy just to join a team that likes to pass the ball on the cheap and look to prove his way into a bigger deal next year.

  18. John Harbaugh on Torrey Smith:

    http://www.sacbee.com/sports/nfl/san-francisco-49ers/article16176533.html

    “He’s a deep threat at all times,” Harbaugh said at a breakfast for AFC coaches on Tuesday. “He’s very fast, he’s big. He can go up and make a play on the ball, so much so that teams interfere with him more than anybody in the league to keep him from making those plays. So he’s definitely going to be a guy who opens things up for those underneath guys.”

    Harbaugh said one of the most significant improvements in Smith’s game is that he went from a pure speed receiver into a more polished route runner. “He can run comebacks and stop-9s and in-breaking routes off of that deep vertical stem,” he said. “He can get open that way, too.”

  19. ESPN says Ray McDonald will reunite with Fangio in Chicago.

    Bitter to know the 49ers lost a solid defensive player (who has played at an A- level) because of the hysterical media’s lizard brained Ray Rice = Ray McDonald juxtaposition.

    Too bad there aren’t compensatory picks for this kind of nonsense.

    1. > …..the forty Niners lost a solid defensive player….because he couldn’t stay out of the police limelight. He was on a thread and told No Ma. Was this gal daffy? Yes. Did she falsely accuse him? Kinda looks that way, but he didn’t control his situations, and the release was at least as much a message to the rest of the team as it was to Ray. A media factor too? Oh heck yes.

  20. Thanx, George ..

    I kinda hope Crabs has a very difficult decision
    fielding all those offers from other teams, he’s currently
    getting .. and ends up playing for the fish on a
    “prove it” 1-yr deal ..
    cuz … sometimes a humbling experience has
    a positive effect on a “perceived” attitude ..

    However, I am excited to have Torrey Smith aboard
    and .. I can see him and “The Q” becoming Kap’s
    best friends, this season ..but ..
    I’d still like to see what Patton and The Duke
    can do, as well ..

  21. According to all accounts, the Crustacean Sensation was having a great camp last year. Everyone was talking about how fast he looked.

    Then late in camp, he was mysteriously away from the practice field “working through” something. A little thing we were told, but once the season began, he played in slow motion.

    Its a health issue. If Crabtree thinks he’s recovered, he should go for a one year prove-it deal on a precision passing team. The Pats. Green Bay. New Orleans.

      1. Teams scared off by injury concerns.
        Crabs asking for way too much money.
        Lost speed. Not good for a player that was never blazing in the first place.

        Crabtree never lived up to his draft spot, but he’s been a very good receiver over the years when healthy. Great hands. Spider like moves. More physical then people realize. There’s a reason why he’s a two time Biletnikoff Award winner.

        GMs must think his health/speed are totally shot. Otherwise teams with a precision passing attack would nab him right away.

        Crabtree (and Gore) would have benefited in an offense that had a legit deep threat besides Vernon. Biletnikoff had his Branch to clear underneath. Crabtree never did.

        If Crabtree somehow gets healthy… he could benefit from Torrey Smith’s presence. But like alot of WRs, he’s a snap crybaby.

        1. I my have missed it, but when did Crabtree become a diva and a bad attitude type player?

          Yes, he held out as a rookie but a lot of that blame can be laid on his agent.

          The one incident that stands out (and I still don’t perceive it as taking a shot at Alex Smith) is the interview following the championship loss to the NYGiants when he said he didn’t have enough chances.
          That comment could have been targeted at the offensive scheme created for that particular game – but many felt it was leveled at Smith.

          Last year was a down year for Crabtree as well as the team as a whole.
          But if there is a chance for Crabtree to come back it certainly is a slim one.
          Crabtree (if he stays healthy) can still help a team out because he is a good possession WR.
          Good luck Crabs

  22. another reason JH was a fraud…..

    to quote Jim Harbaugh, “the greatest catcher of all time, Michael Crabtree, catches everything. It’s unbelievable… If my life depended on it, somebody had to catch a ball, I’d enlist Michael Crabtree to do it.”

    1. oneniner

      I don’t subscribe to your mantra about
      The Harbs being a fraud ..

      When was the last time you heard him say something
      disparaging about a player ?

      Right !

      You never will, either !

      1. He obviously can’t let go of Crabtree not being a fan of alex smith. And I pray to the good lord above KC signs him. That would be great karma for Mr Crabs.

      2. Maaaaybe now Crabtree will have a change of heart and become a better person after this humbling experience. Couldn’t have happened to a better jerk.

  23. Baalke discussing the nickel back role.

    “You get (Seahawks tight end) Jimmy Graham in there — and I’m just throwing this out; it’s for the coaches to decide — maybe they look at it and say, ‘Maybe Dontae’s a better matchup because he’s 6-2, good arm length and can match up maybe a little bit better than Jimmie (Ward).'”

    Not knocking Fangio, but perhaps that is something he should have thought about against Brandon Marshall…

      1. He has an excellent system that keeps things fairly simple for the players and lets them use their physical talents. But its a good thing he had the players to make his system work. He isn’t overly creative and doesn’t like to mix things up too much.

      2. I think stubbornness was a big factor in the downfall of the HC and both OC’s.
        Those fades to Crabtree at the end of the Super Bowl and the insistence on throwing at Sherman in the NFCCG. Never fixing the problem with clock management and getting plays in on time. Running Frank straight into the pile on every down at the goal line and settling for 3 points time after time. Harbaugh not getting rid of Greg Roman…

      3. Fangio was Certainly stubborn when it came to rotating players.

        Just re-watched the 1985 Superbowl. Seifert rotated all nine of Michael Carter, Fred Dean, Jeff Stover, Dwaine Board, Manu Tuiasosopo, Gary (Big Hands) Johnson, Louie Kelcher, Lawrence Pillers and Jim Stuckey.

        Though players like Gary (Big Hands) Johnson and Louie Kelcher were past their prime, for 10-15 snaps a game they were as dangerous as ever. I remember interviews with Miami offensive linemen, all complaining and how fresh and quick these old guys were.

        Seifert took a page out of baseball, using these part timers as “closers.”

        I hope Mangini does the same. Dockett is an ideal closer. Justin too. Oft injured Kaleb Ramsey may never play a full season, but could be a late season pocket destroyer. If Okoye can learn a few bull rush moves, he could be a late season role player.

  24. Baalke on Shareece Wright:

    “I look at him a lot how I looked at Carlos Rogers when we brought Carlos in,” Baalke said. “They’re guys who have played at a high level in this league and have shown they can go out and compete as starters. And you’d expect him to come in and compete as a starter, as well.”

    Lets hope he can have an impact like Rogers did his first year as a 49er.

    1. It’s funny he should say that because Carlos had his worst year as a professional before coming to San Fran.

      Carlos had one really good year followed by one average year followed by one bad year. Let’s hope Wright can “play at a high level” for more then one season. Or not since we’re barely paying him anything.

      1. I think Carlos was somewhat unfairly criticised by fans for his play in 2012 and 2013. He was decent, he just wasn’t worth $8M a year.

    1. When I first looked into him he was already earmarked for them but I guess he tried to hold out for a bit more interest from other teams.

    1. I think Pears serves two purposes George. One, to provide competition for Brandon Thomas (the 49ers would like Thomas to win the job rather than have it handed over) and two, to replace J. Martin as the swing OT….

      1. I don’t know why we think Pears is an upgrade at swing Tackle from J.Martin. Neither are very good, but Martin might be better in pass pro, and in run vs pass that’s the skill I’d most value in my backup. You can scheme around a mediocre run blocker.

    2. I don’t think it was ever in question that he’d be part of the competition for that spot. But as Baalke pointed out, there are plenty of guys in that competition, and Baalke also pointed out more competition will likely be added through the draft.

      “Everyone has to earn their role, and it’ll be up to Erik to earn his role, just as it’ll be up to Brandon and Marcus Martin and (Daniel) Kilgore coming back off of injury,” Baalke said. “So there’s going to be some competition in the ranks. And as you’ve seen, we’re certainly open to drafting offensive linemen, and we’ll most likely to that again.”

      Baalke also said he’s part of the competition for the backup swing OT.

      1. The “compete for the spot” line is journalist filler imo. Non specific answer designed to move on to the next question. Ask enough coaches and you’ll eventually hear that even the water boy is in competition for the LG spot.

            1. I should have said when asked about him Baalke said he looks forward to Bobby competing for the MLB spot.

      1. He’ll be given a chance to win the job, no doubt. He’ll even likely start TC as the #1. That is how the 49ers like to do it. But if he comes out of TC still the #1 I’d be surprised, and disappointed in the progress of the younger players.

          1. Well, as Baalke pointed out that won’t be the only person he’ll be competing against – there are other guys on the roster and Baalke even went so far as to say they’ll likely add someone in the draft.

            But even if Thomas is the only real competition for the spot (and that assumes he is fully fit), I will be surprised and disappointed if Pears comes out of TC the starter.

              1. And they may well do. As has been widely discussed, an early round OL would make a lot of sense.

              1. I guarantee you that the Niners will not take Peat.. Collins is a better prospect at guard by a mile then Peat.. Collins goes before Peat.. Peat equals Kwame Harris part 2.

              2. Collins may be a slightly better guard than Peat, but Peat will be a much better player than Collins. I’d draft the better player.

              3. Grant, well we all know how accurate you have been with players in the past.. Peat is soft just like all O line that come from Stanford. You will be proven once again.

              4. If the 49ers are looking for an interior OL that can be a mauler in the running game and potentially provide an upgrade against the pass to what Iupati provided, then Scherff or Collins would be better picks than Peat.

                If they are after an interior OL that can be good in pass pro and the running game (though not as strong in the running game as Scherff and Collins), Cam Erving would be a better pick than Peat.

                If they are after an OL that can probably be a decent interior OL for now but play LT in the future, Peat is probably the best pick.

              5. Peat would be an excellent guard, not merely decent. He would be a good run-blocker and one of the best pass-protectors in the league at guard or tackle.

              6. I’m not as high on Peat as you are.

                As many scouting reports point out he has a better combo of size, athleticism and length than most of the other highly regarded OL in this draft, thus he is considered a more natural fit to stick at LT than others which will drive up his value to teams.

                But I think there are better OL prospects than him (i.e., guys that will be better OGs/OCs than he’ll be a LT). He’s not the next Jonathan Ogden.

              7. D’Brickashaw Ferguson is a decent comparison for Peat. Ferugson was a top-5 offensive lineman in the NFL during his prime.

              8. Maybe. Its probably a decent comparison in terms of where his upside sits. Ferguson has been a good, solid OT for the Jets. Good in pass pro, and also a pretty good run blocker. But he’s not dominant, he’s not special.

                If Peat ends up being as good as Ferguson, he’ll be the type of player you are very happy to have and don’t have to worry about trying to find an upgrade for at a very important position. But I think some of the other OL prospects have better potential to be dominant as interior OL.

            1. Sorry I don’t remember where, but I read that Thomas says he’ll be ready to go. That writer called Thomas a better prospect than Peat or Scherff. NinerNetwork maybe..? It’s just one opinion?

              1. “He is far better than any offensive lineman in this year’s draft including G Brandon Scherff”

                Really?

              2. We can’t discount the versatility of the 3 – time Remington trophy nominee. He could make Looney and JMart dispensable….

              3. “Not to mention, Thomas would instantly become a better pass-blocker than Iupati as he was a two-time first-team All-ACC selection at left tackle,”
                ———————
                Stopped reading after this sentence. Talk about a credibility breaker. Anyone who thinks that College success automatically translates into NFL success is new to the game.

  25. Sac Bee – Al Guido said 49ers will install air cooling units in the corridors of the east side of the stadium.

    But not “shade” flaps that just happen to look like Seattle’s rain covers… that just happen to redirect sound towards the end zones?

    Another blown competitive advantage (competitive equalizer) opportunity.

      1. I’ve done a bit of passive solar engineering ( it ain’t rocket science), and I knew seating orientation at Levi’s would be brutal for sun-in-the-eyes effect. The Santa Cruz Mtns being as tall as they are the micro climate is substantially different than Candlestick Point. A-DUH!!! So, warmer micro climate with intense solar exposure in a semi-enclosed space with thousands of mammals generating bio thermal radiation, and it’s hot? No kidding.
        And the Quick Fix is to lure the fans out of their seats into the cooled concourse? Brilliant!
        They should have hired Elon Musk to oversee the project, LOL!

        1. Geez….even when we copy the Seahawks, we screw it up…….Get original folks…let’s use 3 QB’s at once….

        2. The worst part, was that they put all the luxury boxes (where they can control the environment) on the shady side.
          Their excuse: well that’s the visitors section. News flash, its your home stadium. Unless they plan to suck so bad that there will be a ton of visiting fans… there is no ‘”f”ing visitor section at a home stadium in the NFL.

    1. Good write-up Grant. I’m okay with the Bush signing. I think it goes with the theme of the offseason thus far, which is speed. We went from the absolute slowest team in the league, to one of the fastest. I’m liking the possibilities.

      Defensively, I love the Docket pick-up. Can you imagine Tank, Aldon, Lynch, and Docket on the field on 3rd and long? Should be interesting.

  26. Listening and watching HC’s at League Meetings.
    >Sean Payton on Brees trade rumors: What do you do when a story breaks that has not one bit of truth to it? It seems that there is a lot of speculative reporting. It reminded me of Trent saying that it doesn’t matter what he says, what’s written often isn’t consistent with the team’s words, deeds, or in tensions.
    > Somebody asks Pete Carroll about the division ‘now that SF are a shell of what they used to be’
    You should’ve seen Pete’s face as he listened to the question. If I read his expressions right he doesn’t think the Niners will be pushovers. It’s what he said too, but I felt like his look showed some candor.

    1. It is very interesting. My only concern is the time in between his training and when preseason starts. Hopefully he goes back periodically to continue working on those skills.

    2. One thing Giles said that I found particularly interesting:

      “So he understands it, and it’s totally different because he’s never had a quarterback coach before, so he’s always just based his game off of how athletic he was, and his arm strength and stuff like that.”

      Kaep’s never had a quarterback coach before? What was our new OC doing for the last 4 years, I wonder?

  27. Sometimes Jim T. Really searches for the right word or phrase to express himself, and not always successfully. There’s plenty going on behind his eyes, but given his interview style he’ll probably continue to suffer under a public perception that he’s dim.
    He made one little reference that was interesting about the organization re-evaluating everything they do from top to bottom. It may mean the team bends some of its established patterns; offense, defense, draft dogma.

  28. If local beat writers are kind to JimT they will leave his favorite ending for declarative sentences out of his quotes. OK?

    Cam Inman didn’t do him that favor today. Later on, during weekly press conferences it may become the grain of sand that everyone notices.

  29. Albert Breer ✔ @AlbertBreer
    Clubs had Breshad Perriman running BOTH his 40s in the 4.2s, which is incredibly rare for a player who’s 6-foot-2 and 212 pounds.

    1. Perriman’s ascent up draft boards was stalled for a bit when he couldn’t run at the combine. I expect after those times he will now ascend once again. Hard to imagine he’ll fall outside the first round, and he could get into the discussion as #3 WR after Cooper and White.

      All of a sudden Mel Kiper mocking Perriman to the 49ers at #15 over a month ago doesn’t look quite so ridiculous.

        1. Now we know why DBs in college so often lined up more than 10 yards off the LOS when facing Perriman. I expect he’ll have pretty good times in his agility tests too for his size. He looks fast out of his breaks on film.

          If the 49ers wanted to add another WR that can take the top off a D and open up room underneath, could do a lot worse than Perriman. Unlike many other deep threats, Perriman is also pretty good working the intermediate areas, has the size and strength to work the middle of the field, and does a good job of driving DBs hard to open up space to sit on comebacks.

        1. Sure, he’s raw, so it’d be a gamble taking him that high. But I think his upside is huge. I wouldn’t be surprised in the slightest to see him crack the top 20 come draft day.

            1. Wild guess: Perriman. I saw a tape of one of his 40s. The guys timing him looked at each and laughed at how fast he was.

            2. I think Perriman goes before DGB. Both guys are raw, but Perriman is the better athlete and comes without baggage.

              I have a feeling Peters falls, and I think Humphries and Harold are late first to early second guys. So I think Perriman goes before them.

              Collins and Brown are tough ones to gauge. They’ll probably go around the same area as Perriman.

  30. Jim should adopt the “Dude” look; long hair and a beard. Much better than the “porn Star” look. You know; Jeff Bridges v. Ron Jeremy.

  31. Matt Maiocco has written extensively this morning without a single quote tagged with JimT’s signature. “OK?”

    So far it’s Cam Inman 4, Matt Maiocco 0 on the Not Kind Quote score card.

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