Grading the 49ers’ offensive line: Past and present

The San Francisco 49ers had the best offensive line in the NFL when they played in the Super Bowl a couple of years ago.

Here’s how I grade that offensive line player by player:

LT Joe Staley: A. The best offensive tackle in the league in 2012.
LG Mike Iupati: A-. One of the best left guards in the NFL along with Evan Mathis of the Eagles and Ben Grubbs of the Saints.
C Jonathan Goodwin: B+. One of the ten best centers in the league.
RG Alex Boone: A-. One of the best right guards in the NFL along with Marshall Yanda of the Ravens and Brandon Moore of the Jets.
RT Anthony Davis: A-. One of the three best right tackles in the NFL along with Andre Smith of the Bengals and Sebastian Vollmer of the Patriots.

Here’s how I grade the 49ers’ 2015 offensive line:

LT Joe Staley: A-. One of the five best left tackles in the league along with Jason Peters of the Eagles, Joe Thomas of the Browns, Andrew Whitworth of the Bengals and Tyron Smith of the Cowboys.
LG Brandon Thomas: C-. Former third-round pick who hasn’t played football in more than a year. Tore his ACL in a pre-draft workout. Tore his other ACL in high school. May need time to re-acclimate himself to the sport.
C Daniel Kilgore: B. Played well last season before breaking his leg. Played especially well Week 3 in Arizona against the Cardinals and Week 5 at home against the Kansas City Chiefs. Has started only seven games during his four-season career. Can he hold up for 16 games?
RG Alex Boone: B+. Missed training camp last season — still was one of the ten best right guards in the league.  Hasn’t had a dominant season since 2012.
RT Anthony Davis: B+. Declined in 2013 (plus-5.8 grade, down from plus-19.0 in 2012). Missed nine games in 2014 and seemed slow in pass protection. May no longer be one of the ten best right tackles in the league.

How do you grade the 49ers’ offensive line?

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  1. Grant, from your grades that’s a soild O line. I respect your grade on Thomas but he could and should be a lot better then that. I don’t believe Peat would be an upgrade at guard like your suggesting he would be over Thomas. I also believe that Marcus Martin will win the Center job. He was only 20 last year and he will only get better. Grant what do you think of trading Boone on draft day for a third and then drafting a Collins or Peat to play Left guard while Thomas slides to right guard. Not many people are talking about trading Boone but I don’t believe they resign him with Aldons contract becoming number 1 priority.

    1. I wouldn’t trade Boone and hand a starting job to Thomas in May. He should earn it and show he’s ready to play football again.

      I think Peat would be an instant A-minus at guard or tackle.

      1. Wow, you think Peat will be a top 5 player at OG or OT from day 1? We definitely have a different opinion on the player.

            1. I pretty much watched every game played by Peat and I think he would have benefited from another year in college. He needs to be more consistent, esp. on obvious passing situations, and needs to communicate better with the guard. All fixable with more maturity.He’s nimble and has a large frame – he could probably easily put on another 10-15 lb without losing his quickness. He’s the kind of a player that a GM can plug in at LT and forget about the position for the next 10 years. He would probably be waste of talent as a guard.

              1. I agree, he’s an OT, and at his best he should be as you describe – a guy you plug in at LT for the next decade and don’t need to worry about the position.

                He’s got some power to his game so he could also play RT, but LT is his more natural position IMO.

                I’m guessing he’s got the ability to handle a slide inside to OG in a pinch, but I don’t think it is his natural or best position.

              2. It’s a bit silly to think the best tackles in the league would struggle at guard. Joe Staley would make a great guard. It’s a much easier position to play than tackle.

              3. Yes and no. Its a bit different handling edge rushers than it is handling more powerful interior OL.

                So while I’m sure Peat could play OG, I don’t necessarily think he’d be a better OG than OT. As I’ve said previously, I think there are other prospects in this draft that would make better OGs than Peat.

              4. Peat has a strong, wide base. He isn’t top heavy. He would be terrific against defensive tackles.

              5. People think he’s soft because he played at Stanford. He’s a monster, and he’s 21. Easily the best OL prospect in the draft. Whichever team drafts Sherff ahead of Peat will regret it.

              6. Your conviction is making a believer out of me.

                If the 49ers take Peat I certainly wouldn’t have a problem with the pick.

            2. Grant-you’re right about the cliche thinking on Stanford guys. Peat IS good. He’s an excellent OLT prospect.
              (But you may be going a little Coby Fleener again)

            3. If the 49ers don’t make a trade on draft day to move up in the draft, and Andrus Peat is available, he should become a 49er…if not, then whoever Baalke chooses had better become an All-Pro….maybe we Grant should ask Jed who he wants to draft…he had such a great inclination on the firing of the head coach, maybe he wants to blow the #15 pick to keep his string going…

      2. Grant, you don’t draft guard at 15 unless it’s a Zack Martin/Mike Iupati caliber type of player…which Peat is not IMO.

        I will pass on another overvalued Stanford o-linemen.

    2. The 49ers don not rely on a short passing game a-la a traditional (WCO) because Kaepernick does not do well in a timing offense, which accounts for his 50% completion percentage (WCO) pass patterns requiring touch. Coming from an option school requiring receivers to “sit down” means you don’t have to hit them ins stride. Complicating this, is Baalke’s Parcellian down field passing game to comeplement a (NYG)-GIANTS 1980’s running game and you have a quarterback lacking in confidence. Since the 49ers gave up the most sacks trying to hold blocks in a downfield disfunctional system….GRADE F

      1. You also need recievers that can separate and occupy a safety like Torrey Smith can.. There is a reason why Crabtree is still unsigned.

      2. Incidentally, Bill Walsh was 15-3 against Bill Bellichek coached teams (Bill Parcells defensive coordiantor back then) and would have been 16-2, if not for the Roger Craig Fumble in the NFC Championship game when them were trying to center the football for a game winning field goal, and Craig did not hold the ball with two hands with a few minutes remaining in the game…The 49ers invented how to beat a Trent Baalke offense…Stack the fricking line of scrimmage with 8 men in the box!!!Whoever said that history repeats itself (for the ignorant) is a genius

        1. “Bill Walsh was 15-3 against Bill Bellichek coached teams (Bill Parcells defensive coordiantor back then)”

          This my friends is called pulling something out of your nether region.

          During Walsh’s career as head coach from 79-88 he coached against the Giants, Parcells and Belichick were assistants and then HC/Assistant with those NY teams, a total of 11 times.

          In those 11 games, Walsh led the 49ers to a record of 7-4. The Parcells led Giants knocked the 49ers out of the playoffs two years in a row, which played a large role in Walsh eventually stepping down after the 88 season.

            1. NFL Net is running one of those games where the G-Men handed the Niners their lunch. Not that fun to watch, lol

        2. The quote runs”Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”,George Santayana, and yes he was a genius Tom.

        3. “Incidentally, Bill Walsh was 15-3 against Bill Bellichek coached teams (Bill Parcells defensive coordiantor back then) and would have been 16-2, if not for the Roger Craig Fumble in the NFC Championship game when them were trying to center the football for a game winning field goal, and Craig did not hold the ball ”

          Seifert was the coach in that year.

      3. And I agree Grant that if Peat is that good, he should go round 1 immediately and some real WCO passing routes. Otherwise we are sailing into uncharted waters with a knew Captain & Crew, preparing to do battle against the Blackbeard Pirate (Carroll-Seattle), Henry Morgan, Buccaneer, (Fisher-Rams)–both coached for the 49ers dynasty teams so know how to stack the box against the 49ers current system, finally, Francois L. Ollonais (Arias-Cards)………Good luck teaching the old 27th ranked offense or a knew one which always requires a learning period, against these pirates, I doubt it.

        1. Excuse me, some one may need to blast me for telling the truth (haters) so I’ll list my reference…If you have a problem with it feel free to give him the hate, not me, shooting the messenger will only exasperate you from your much needed therapy sessions:…Source: 49erswebzone, Article:OC Geep Chryst: 49ers not that far away from the Playoffs, by Senior Reporter, Tayor Price…..Synopsis: Article basically mentions niners being 30th in passing yards, 25th in scoring offense

    3. A better and more relevant comparison would be this year vs. last year’s OL. Even with Mike Iupati’s departure and Brandon Thomas’s inexperience, I think the 49ers O-line will be much better this year. Keep in mind that both Kilgore and Davis missed significant action in 2014. If they can stay healthy, this O-line will be much better.

      1. @Nick….Maybe a bit of wishful thinking on your part ?….I sure hope you’re right…personally, I like Peat.

        1. Oregon, I’m trying to be positive about 2015. I think Thomas will surprise a lot of people this year. He’s versatile, big, physical, and better at pass protection than Iupati. Also, having a healthy Kilgore means you don’t have to rely on a less experienced Martin at center.

  2. Grant, giving Thomas a C- now is absurd. But maybe you know that but do it anyway to garner an extra comment or two? Woops, I stepped into your trap!

    1. George ..

      I’m guessing ..Grant is grading him
      on his potential .. and not on
      his actual accomplishments
      (or lack thereof) ..

      If I’m correct .. then at least Grant isn’t
      hammerin’ him ! ..

      (Oh geeze .. I stepped into the trap, too !) .. ;-}

  3. It’s still up in the air about who plays there. The only way to guess is to see who starts for them in the last pre-season game and evaluate how that player has done against starters. Not trying to dodge your question, Grant. When healthy Thomas was a highly rated player coming out of college. So was MMartin. If Kilgore wins the center spot, Martin might be left guard, and vice versa.

    1. I think Pears will be a D at left guard, and I think it’s going to take Thomas a while to pass him on the depth chart. I don’t think it’s reasonable to expect him to tear it up after not playing for 14 months.

      1. I agree with you. That’s why I think it’s too early to project LG. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Kilgore or Martin there.

      2. What is the rationale for Pears? Is he guaranteed money with the expectation he’ll make the team, or is he just a camp body to compete with Looney, J Martin and Thomas? He was (per PFF) awful as a guard, is 32+ and can’t be any better at tackle.

      3. Grant….personally, I had expected Looney and Martin to pick up the pace last season…With more snaps, and ‘real’ football time under their belts, I believe that unless traded or injured,these guys and Kilgore will pay back their NFL status….under JH, they were never going to see the field unless a starter dropped dead on the field.

      4. Grant…I don’t have a dog in this fight, but have you gone over the coaching that Pears has had in his career…the line coaches, DC’s, and HC’s…? Could he be a diamond in the mud ?

  4. It seems like the only appropriate grade one could give either Thomas or the LG spot right now is: ?
    We’ve seen M.Martin play. We’ve seen Looney play. We can speculate on them at that spot. We haven’t seen Thomas play; we’ve got nothing to base a positive or negative opinion upon, let alone give a performance grade.

    1. Niners are doing some innovative things hiring top athletes from other sports and trying to figure out a role for them in the team. Wonder if any other team is doing a similar talent search.

      On a different note, the Niners Stadium funding approach that uses very little public money is apparently being called the Santa Clara model, and being studied for future NFL stadiums like the ones proposed in L.A.

    2. This is an interesting article, and I think very telling about the deepest reasons why Harbaugh was expelled, while Tomsula was promoted. Check this quote from JimT about Okoye:

      “This year, he’s going to be in there playing against guys who are going to make that other team,” Tomsula said. “Let’s see where we’re at. It’s a big step.”

      Harbaugh would have forced us to endure another season of Greg Roman and Frank Gore, while JimT wants to develop new talent in order to open another window of Super Bowl opportunity.

      1. Can’t argue with Harbaugh’ NFL success when considering that the 49ers gig was his first head coaching job.

        Tomsula may be saying all the right things and even making a statement with Okoye slated to receive more playing time.
        But Tomsula’ real story won’t be read until the end of the 2015 season.
        I’m cautiously optimistic – but only time will prove or disprove Jed and Baalke’ new direction (with Tomsula).

  5. I see Grant is still butt hurt over Anthony Davis. Must have killed you to give him a B+. “Started to decline” and “may no longer be one of the 10 best RT’s in the league”. Please feel free to name them….

  6. A 25 year old RT that when he came back from injury got Frank Gore a brand new contract with the colts. Davis is a beast! On the decline lmao.

  7. I never saw a grade that low for him in college or coming into the Pros. Am I missing something or did all the scouting publications have him graded too high? I don’t remember seeing him play so I can’t say that I thought he was a great player coming out of college.

      1. I take your point, but I think in the case of Perriman it is somewhat justified. That is a rare combination of athletic gifts, and he has some decent production to back it up.

        Many people had already cottoned on that he was a physically talented player and good athlete for the position, thus why a lot of sites had already been grading him as a late first to second round prospect prior to the combine (Kiper went so far as to mock him to the 49ers at pick #15 prior to the combine). I think his pro day results just confirm for people that he is actually as good an athlete as he looks on film.

        1. My point was focused more on the personal belief that teams don’t give a flying frak about pro day results, if so Teddy Bridgewater never would have been drafted in the first round. Teams only care about how fast a player is on the film they watch, they already know long before a pro day like this whether or not the guy is fast enough for them.

          1. “I think his pro day results just confirm for people that he is actually as good an athlete as he looks on film.”
            ———————-
            This could be true but I still think most teams already know how good of an athlete these kids are long before their pro day.

          2. Ah, gotcha. Yeah, I agree the combine and pro days probably don’t play a big role in moving a player up and down team draft boards except where they are impressive (or unimpressive) enough to make a team go back and look at film with a new eye.

            Perriman was already pretty highly regarded, so yeah, I don’t imagine teams will be moving him too significantly from where they already had him.

            1. I think you’re right that if a team is already high on him that this performance will only further solidify their opinion of him.

    1. FWIW, here is what I said about Perriman back on Feb 13th.

      With all the interest being shown in Breshad Perriman recently I thought I’d take a look at him. Only seen two games of his – vs ECU and vs NC State.

      This kid will be this year’s Donte Moncrief. What an athlete. A guy with his size simply should not be able to move as well as he does. Not only has he got good deep speed, but he’s also got quick feet and very good short area burst for a guy his size. While the level of competition wasn’t great, he routinely got a step on the DB covering him at all levels of the field.

      DBs were often giving him massive cushions – I assume a result of respecting him as too big and strong for them to jam, and too fast to run with downfield. His speed, and the respect DBs showed for it, made for some easy catches on comebacks, slants and similar mid level routes.

      He also does a decent job of using his size to shield the DB from the ball, and combined with his quickness he’s a real handful across the middle.

      However, like Moncrief, his athleticism masks some weaknesses in his game. Like Moncrief, he is not a particularly good hands catcher. He drops some balls he really should catch, and can double clutch at others. He also didn’t time his jumps for balls very well in the games I watched, and on a few occasions let DBs gain position on him on balls that were under thrown because he was late to adjust. While it is easy to blame the QB for these plays as the pass should have been out in front of Perriman, the lateness of his adjustment to the bad pass and poor timing of his leaps is something I usually associate that with someone that has troubles tracking the deep ball.

      All in all, I think he is the top athlete available at the WR position this year along with DGB. I’d rate him a better prospect than Moncrief from last year as I think he is a slightly better and more refined football player. Perriman does a good job of getting himself open and looks like a guy that could step in day 1 and worry teams with his combination of size and speed.

    1. Grant, I don’t understand some of your pieces man. The niners signed Dockett to start in mcdonalds spot. Yet you pencil in Jerod eddy there. He is a quality back up. Not going to start. Tank plays where Justin was slated and Dockett plays where McDonald was slated. Dockett is an upgrade in passing situations. They have Ian and Dorsey to stop the run.. You make these leaps in your conclusions that it’s hard to take your pieces seriously.

        1. Of course they did. There very high on Tank to play in Justin’s spot. Tank came on the last 3 games with 3 sacks. There is no way Eddy starts over Dockett.. As your theory goes regarding Pears, there paying Dockett too much money to be a back up. He didn’t come to the Niners to sit. Second you say Whilotte is a back up only at ILB.. That’s wrong again. He started 16 games last year in which the unit was ranked in the top 5.. Is he at the level of the other 3 they had of course not. But Bowman is coming back and Whilotte is a soild number 2… Will they draft his replacement yes. But he is a soild pro.. He has shown that every time he has asked to play.

          1. Dockett will start and split time with Tank at Justin Smith’s spot. Dockett is a poor run defender. He isn’t suited to play McDonald’s spot.

            1. I disagree.. Tank ain’t splitting time with anybody. He is ready now. He showed that last 3 games. Like I said Dockett would of stayed with Arizona for less if he thought he would be a back up.. 4 mil a year to sit. Not happening. Plus you failed to mention Dial who played awesome when asked to.. He is a talent..

          2. Sorry CK, but I would be very surprised if Dockett played LDE in the 49ers base D. That is more of a run stuffer’s role. Dorsey or Dial will play LDE.

            Dockett may see some time as the LDT in four man fronts on passing downs. And if J. Smith retires then Dockett will just take his spot at RDE and RDT.

            1. Well that’s fine but to put eddy as a definite starter over Dial is inaccurate.. Dial showed a lot last year.. Dorsey plays in that spot in a pitch as well. Especially over Eddy.

              1. Jerod-Eddie started at LDE Week 17 after the Niners cut McDonald. Dial was the nose tackle.

              2. I’d be surprised if Jerod-Eddie was the starter at LDE next year if everyone on the DL is healthy. I expect Dorsey and Dial will play that spot ahead of him.

                Assuming J. Smith retires and no more DL are added before the start of the season, the five guys most likely to be suiting up on game day in my opinion would be Williams, Dockett, Dorsey, Dial and Carradine.

              1. Did tank and dial come off injurys? There is a reason. Dial and Tank are HUGE talents.. Your putting a back up ahead of them for certain. Just like your doing with Thomas at Left Guard.

    2. I think trying to predict where guys will play based off the defense from the last 4 years may not work. It’s very likely that Mangini will employ a different philosophy that will make the past somewhat useless.

      Same with the offensive side.

      1. Hmmm, I’d be surprised if they run a base D that is much different to what they have been running. The NTs they have are on the smaller, quicker side for NTs that can penetrate and are best off as 1-techs rather than 0-techs. And Dockett and Carradine aren’t really suited to playing as more traditional 2-gapping 5-techs.

        1. I’d think there will be some tweaks. I’m not predicting but wouldn’t be totally surprised by significant changes to the points of emphasis of the D.

          1. But he’s their 3rd string NT. Their 1st and 2nd string NTs are smaller guys that can get a little bit of penetration as 1-gappers and sit in the gap occupying two blockers. Not sure how’d they go as 0-techs.

          2. Indeed, but I’m suspecting he competes and wins Ray McDonald’s 5T spot at LDE. I think that was TB’s original plan for him. He stepped up well last year at NG for need. Base guy. Others may get more penetration at LDT in nickel; Dorsey, (Ramsey?), new guy? I’ll buy Scooter’s take that Dockett is the 3T.

  8. I have such a hard time ever imagining AD as one of the best RT’s in football. He was downright awful in 2010 and 2011, I mean bust level bad. He had two good seasons in 2012 and 2013 and then began his decline in 2014.

    Most “best right tackles” in the sport I think have more then two good seasons under their belt Grant.

    1. AD bust that’s laughable. Did you watch any of the games last year he was present for? He got your boy a 3 year deal with the colts cause of the last couple games. He is a stud. 24-25 years old. He changes that whole lines performance. You mention in 2010 he was awful. He was a 20 year old rookie. Of course he was going to struggle.

      1. Most “best right tackles” don’t start their careers like he did, 20 years old or not. Go show me a pro bowl tackle who graded out as a -22 in his first season? I get it that you didn’t because you’re a kool aid chugging fanboy but most people considered AD a bust after his first two years.

        1. Well I acually have an understanding of how that draft works. See you never judge a class until after 3 years.. You defently don’t call someone a bust after two years of football. Using your theory Vernon Davis was a huge bust.. Come on coffee your better then that. Look at the performance of our O line last year with out him. Then when he came back Franky looked like a young Franky. He is easy a top 5 RT going. He has had one year of injuries and he is on the decline. Lol.

          1. Pardon me for the fanboy comment, I was just coming back to put a smiley face on the comment so you wouldn’t take it so personally. AD was terrible his first two years. He had two brilliant seasons but he played poorly last season. 5 years is a relatively small sample but he’s only been good in 2 of them. Maybe he’ll pop back to 2012 form this year or maybe he’ll continue to regress back to his 2011/2010 form. He also didn’t do himself any favors by getting into an infantile fight with his OC when he’s having a down year.

            1. Coffee it’s all good man. I enjoy reading your responses. I can tell your well educated on football. Like many here. I just like going back and fourth with fellow fans. Helps me get to the draft sooner. :)

          2. CK…not to be argumentative, but your statement that “you never judge a class until after 3 years” gets sort of blown up by the 49er class of ’12. If that statement is true, we’ll have to visit half the teams in the league just to pass judgement….there’s none left here….

      1. Yes, even in 2011 he graded out positively in run blocking but was -13 in pass protection. DE’s used to just run right past him, it was pathetic.

  9. Hundley, Petty or Grayson? Who will be #3? How many of the top 5 will end up going in the first round?

    I think Hundley goes #3 and I think 3 QB’s will be picked in the first round. Petty and Grayson will both be gone by the end of the second.

    1. Me too Oregon, I was fishing for a reaction from Grant on the Hundley prediction knowing full well my preference for Grayson. Swing and a miss.

  10. C4C….I am hoping that Grayson is our pick in the second…he’s not even that much of a sleeper…I like his confidence….

  11. Randy Gregory failed his drug test at the combine, and has admitted to smoking marijuana while at Nebraska. Expect his draft stock to take a hit.

    1. Wow! Interesting that the Niners spent time with him at the combine. I had assumed he would be long gone, but the failed drug test would seem to make him very likely to be around at #15. It’s kind of a bummer, I had hoped he would be taken early and help drop someone at a position of greater need to the Niners.

      1. To be honest I wasn’t that high on him before this news came out. Now I very much hope the 49ers don’t draft him even if he is available at #15.

        1. Like Brodie said, I was hoping he would be picked before #15 – looks like someone the Niners may want will be taken instead.

    2. Good for him. I think all the rookies should spike their samples with THC to go on an anti-hypocrisy strike (and I’m sober since 1980).

      My only concern is if a team that was going to draft him now selects Devante Parker instead.

  12. Grant, I pretty much see your grades the same way.

    The only question is Brandon Thomas. I really have no idea how his ACL will recover. He could go anywhere from A to F.

    He was projected to go around pick 33-40 before the ACL. Unless the draft forecasters were way off (they often are), early 2nd round should fetch a pretty good LG.

    I just reviewed every snap of his 2014 game vs Ohio State, and his 2013 game vs Boston College.

    In two games of footage, I only saw a handful of plays where I thought the defender got the better of him. He dominated.

    Pulling – Hard to tell. He was OT. His offense didn’t ask him to pull. But he did show good speed chasing linebackers and safeties at 2nd level. Quick enough feet to re-set his base before contact when blocking in space. I think he can pull fine.

    Drive Blocking – Routinely pushed his man out of the way like the defender was on roller skates. Not just DE/OLBs. He easily pushed tackles out of the way. I don’t see any problem having the low base and strength to convert to guard.

    Double Teams – Would help out inside, then disengage just at the right moment to seal off a linebacker. Ideal for a zone system.

    Feet – Nimble for a guy his size. Gets the angle for seal off blocks. Has no problem finding and locking up linebackers in space.

    Pass Pro – Dominated. Nice feet. Used his long arms. Only one pressure in a non-blitz situation. Did give up a few inside whiffs because of assignment confusion. Made the classic mistake of picking the outside guy on cover zero blitz. In normal 4-man rush situations, he was great.

    Mindset – Can be (the right kind) of cruel. One a QB scramble he pancaked hapless DE even though the play was going the other way.

    Drawbacks – In the 2013 Boston College game he needed to sustain blocks just a tick longer. Improved sustain in 2014. Really paid off, but he still needs to work on using his long arms to “lock up” defenders just a tick longer. Also had inside pass rush whiffs on blitzes.

    Conclusion – Became aware of Thomas because of his pass pro vs Clowney. I thought he was just a nimble footed LT that was just OK run blocking.

    But after watching these two games, he’s a more powerful drive blocker then I realized. At no time did I see him overpowered. Usually had defenders on roller skates.

    Needs to continue getting better at maintaining blocks, blitz assignments. The usual rookie stuff.

    If healthy, he will be an A left guard. Suitable for both zone and man schemes. Can block in a phone booth, and in space. Has arm length, quickness and wide sidestep to play tackle.

    The 2014 draft was deep. If healthy, he could have been a late first rounder in the 2015 draft.

    1. “The only question is Brandon Thomas. I really have no idea how his ACL will recover. He could go anywhere from A to F. ”

      … and Bowman?

      1. Same. The reports the last few days give me hope, but the 49ers are horrible liars when it comes to injuries. When Haralson tore his bicep, all we heard for weeks was “he was working through a little something.”

        If Marie Antoinette was a 49er, we’d be told she was working through a little neck soreness.

        1. As you say, preliminary reports are always positive until they’re not.

          Almost all NFL ACL surgeries take up to two years to get to be the best that they will be. Bowman’s seems to have been worse than the norm. The top of Bowman’s game is all pro if (IF) he has the knee solid and a good supporting cast. It will also help him a lot if the offense builds leads and consistently stays on the field for long drives that end in the end zone.

          1. htwaits- As good as he was healthy- I still don’t think he could play very well in a supporting cast. It would slow him down too much. lol.

          2. A slight advantage for Thomas and Bowman is the relatively extended recovery time they have had. By the time contact starts in July, Bowman will have had about 17 months to recover and Thomas about 15 months. Those recovery times are both longer than the typical 10-12 months guys sit out when they have these injuries in-season. I’m hoping that this extended time allows both guys to perform like they are in the “second year after an acl” in 2015.

            1. Trey Millard ACL injured Oct 26, 20013
              Keith Reaser ACL injured Oct 5th, 2013
              Kenneth Acker Foot Fracture discovered 2014 preseason

              Wouldn’t be surprised to see all three in camp.

            2. But my basic point… (if) Thomas is healthy, I think he’d be a fine LG. His footage is outstanding.

    2. B2W…nice run-down on Thomas…every time someone of his ilk is picked up by the niners, I think back hopefully of when we got Frank Gore and everyone was skepticle about his college ACL’s…..Hope springs eternal….Go Brandon!

  13. Mangini is going to require the players who can play in a bit more sophisticated defensive scheme…. Last year will have little bearing on who gets slated to start at whichever position other than The Cowboy (if and when he returns) Dockett will be more of a situational pass-rushing piece…

  14. Interesting times at the Examiner considering the stance many of their sports writers took with the 49ers this past season.

      1. Their new sports director has a past very similar to Ray McDonald, except he was charged and pled no contest.

        You may have heard of Jay Mariotti when he was with ESPN.

          1. Perhaps Ann Killion can write a long moralizing article about the Examiner’s loss of credibility and lack of a moral compass among the company’s executive circles since they’ve hired this guy thereby endorsing his actions and blah, blah, blah, blah. You all could finish that article for her.
            Besides, he probably thought he was coming to the right place for a loud mouthed bully what with the Bay Area being the home of Glenn Dickey, Tim Kawakami, and yes, also the often-acerbic Lowell.

  15. From a PFT article: The current rumor at the League Meetings was that Chargers and Rams move to L.A., cutting RayDuhs out of that market, and that the RayDuhs might fill the void in St. Louis. Whaaaaat?
    Its just chatter, but……

  16. I’m going to play Grant for a minute and see if anyone wants to bite. Assuming all these guys are available at 15, who’s the best pick for the Niners and why:

    Parker
    Peat
    Peters
    B. Perriman
    Scherff
    Waynes

    1. I guess I’d rank them like this (today; stay tuned):
      Parker-Waynes-Peters-Perriman-Peat-Scherff.
      I factored in needs and scarcity as priority criteria. Scherff and Peat will go higher than Perriman or Peters, but I was looking at what SF needs and how difficult it is to find high quality corners. Likewise, I like Scherff and Peat about equally, but good OTs are harder to find than OGs.

    2. Parker

      – Love how he high points for the ball.
      – He provides a missing capability of vertical catching (unless Vance McDonald comes out of his shell).
      – Good hands
      – Good speed.
      – Huge catching radius. 80 in wingspan
      – Would pair well with new receivers coach Adam Henry

      He has weaknesses. He needs to run better routes. A larger variety of routes. Needs better technique getting separation. Needs to use his physicality more.

      Peat could be #1. I wish there better highlights of Peat. The best video there is a game cut up from 2013. I could have him over Parker but I don’t have anything but the game cut-ups.

      Waynes is also tempting, but only if I think he can be a “true” shutdown corner that doesn’t need safety help. Those are rare, can transform a defense and hide front 7 weaknesses (like MLB) by allowing defenses to drop a safety into the box. Waynes will be good, but I don’t know if he will be a “shut down” guy.

      Scherff is a plug-n-play pitbull LG. Like him. But for a pick at 15, OT might be the better choice.

      1. I don’t get the desire to draft a wide receiver No.1. It doesn’t matter how many good receivers the 49ers have next season if the offensive line gives up 50 sacks and the quarterback can’t go through his progressions or tell the difference between Cover 1 and Cover 3.

        1. If its certain that none of Thomas, M. Martin, Looney, Pears, draft day two OL can play left guard, then Peat might be the way to go.

          I’d also consider extending Boone.

          I really like Peat. Would not cry if he was chosen at 15. He has the perfect OT body.

          I just wish I had more to go on. The backwards bending has me concerned. He’s only 21. His upper torso might catch up with his lower base.

          I heard Alex Gibbs really put him though the paces at his pro-day. His LT drills were better then his RT drills (a good sign). Any footage of that?

            1. They will not extend Boone. Just like Vernon who held out he does not deserve a contract extension. Frankly he is not that good. He is an average right guard who was undrafted and given a chance by Balke when no one wanted him. Then he holds out. F that guy.. Trade him on draft day for a whatever you can.

            2. 1956. Wilber (Stinky Feet) Orsten got a $25 raise and six blue chip stamps.

              Good point. Baalke’s policy driven to the extreme. He won’t “give guards tackle money.” Ever.

              But Boone’s value is at swing tackle. Peat will start at Guard, then move to tackle. The same thing.

              But draft capital and salary capital are both forms of spending. Pick 15 is alot of team building resources.

              Before Borland’s retirement, all the talk was about Baalke carefully using modest cap capital in order to buy draft flexibility of grater total value.

              Baalke’s stinginess might cost him major BPA. Either that, or Boone burned major bridges during the holdout that we aren’t aware of.

              1. Is swing tackle Boone’s value? He hasn’t played left tackle since 2013, and he hasn’t played right tackle since 2011.

              2. In Boone’s mind he’s swing tackle. I was puzzled he didn’t play OT last year when Davis went down. He’s not perfect, but played way better swing tackle then Jonathan Martin.

              3. A nice “greed” draft scenario…
                – Baalke trades back for an extra 3rd. Peat falls to them.
                – Then packages the extra 3rd with the 2nd and grabs Perriman.
                – Uses the existing 3rd on ILB-RB-BPA.

            3. Which is better depth at their respective positions?

              A) Patton, Simpson, Ellington

              B) Thomas, M. Martin, Looney, Pears

              I’m cheating a bit because one of group B will be a starter. But If I were a betting man I’d say the bottom three of group B will get alot more career snaps then Group A.

              I see Ellington as having great value as a specialist “change of pace” receiver. Not really depth.

              1. I’m cheating a bit because one of group B will be a starter [if they don’t draft Peat].

            4. An argument for Peat (since I love contradicting myself), moving the ball to the 1 1/2 yard line for a two-point conversions favors power teams.

    3. Good question George.

      My interest in Waynes is declining a little, as I am starting to agree with a few other commenters that his skill set isn’t really what the 49ers typically look for in a CB. And while I like Peters I don’t think he is worthy of a high first round grade, in particular given his off-field concerns.

      Of the two OL, I’d go Scherff over Peat, but not by much. I think Scherff could be a dominant OG. But then I also think Brandon Thomas could be too. The value of Scherff is he isn’t coming off a major knee injury, and with his demeanour he would also make a great RG in 2016 if they don’t re-sign Boone, with Thomas at LG.

      A WR on the other hand isn’t as big an immediate need now with Torrey Smith and Simpson signed, along with a couple of young guys which we still don’t know what we have in them. However, Boldin can’t have too many years left now, and Simpson is something of an unknown after a year away from the game. And the team is still pretty much one Torrey Smith injury away from having the same issues as last year making teams respect the deep pass.

      Of the two WRs listed, I think Parker is easily the more developed player and by far the more consistent pass catcher. He’s also got decent speed for his size and does a great job making catches downfield. I’m a Parker fan.

      However, every time I watch footage of Perriman play I am reminded of just how big, fast and agile he is, and the fear he puts in DBs. He’s the best athlete at the WR position in this draft. His pro day was not a fluke – he plays up to that level of athletic ability.

      Perriman certainly has some negatives to his game (routes can be sloppy, and he does drop too many balls), and would be a bit more of a risk at #15 than the other guys, but he’s no Stephen Hill. He’s had exposure to a range of pass routes, and he knows how to use his athletic ability to get open. He is one of two WRs outside of the top 3 that I think could ultimately end up being the most feared WR from this draft class (the other being DGB). His potential upside is huge. And I think he’s a guy that could force defences to change the way they defend the 49ers from day 1. When the 49ers go 3 WRs, the trio of Boldin, Smith and Perriman (+ Davis) could put a lot of stress on defenses.

      So, right now, I find myself unable to decide between Scherff or Parker. Though I think either Peat or Perriman would also be good picks.

            1. Gallery was a decent OG, but you are right he was nothing special. Scherff looks well suited to playing OG though. His biggest issues in pass pro were against speed rushers, which can be masked a fair bit moving inside. And he’s a real road grader in the running game.

              I think he’d be a better RG than LG, but he has the athleticism to play LG too. I think a future combo of Scherff and Thomas as the two OGs could be really excellent.

              1. Spend the 15th pick on a guard the Niners probably wouldn’t re-sign after his rookie deal is done in four years? Doesn’t sound wise.

    4. None.

      I don’t see the 49ers going WR unless they are planning to get rid of Boldin before the beginning of the season. OL is a need, but depth is a bigger problem there more than anything, and neither of the CBs are worth a first round pick.

      Trade down or trade for an ILB. The second best option would be to draft a pass rusher.

      1. What happens if Boldin declines this year and needs to be replaced next year? Would you rather have a talented rookie take over? Or a talented 2nd year player with a year experience in the system?

        1. Then draft someone that can replace him next year or can be a serviceable option next to Smith. There are second and third round options at WR available for that.

              1. ILB and CB. Possibly OLB (pass rusher) and DE depending on what type of 3-4 scheme Mangini will want to run.

              2. ILB starters are Bowman and Wilhoite.

                CB starters are probably Brock, Wright and Ward, though the young guys may have something to say about that.

                DE starters (assuming J. Smith retires) are probably Dockett and Dorsey, though again the young guys may have something to say about that.

                You can argue that each of these positions can be upgraded, or that they have question marks, but each of these positions also already have guys at the position that have been starters in the NFL. Same goes with LG.

              3. ILB starters are Bowman and Wilhoite.

                Bowman is currently a question mark as to whether he will be able to completely bounce back while Wilhoite is a serviceable option for the short term.

                Brock is coming back from a turf toe that could very easily sideline him again and Wright flat out stinks.
                Though I am not a fan of either Waynes or Peters, they would be an upgrade at the position.

                Dockett is a pass rusher that fits better at DT and Carradine doesn’t seem like a good fit next to Aldon.

                I agree with your last paragraph, but it can be argued again that it will depend on 3-4 scheme Mangini prefers to run. The last sentence however is moot because I don’t see the team needing to address a starting position on the OL.

              4. The question marks are there, but as it stands those positions have starters. The WR position has its own question marks – at some point Boldin’s age will catch up to him. And if either Boldin or Smith gets hurt, who’s stepping up into the starting spot? If Smith gets hurt, who is the team’s deep threat?

                And I find it strange you have consistently dismissed the question marks at LG yet they are the same question marks we have at ILB, CB and DL. Unlike Bowman and Dockett, Thomas has never played in the NFL but is also coming off a knee injury. Yet you see the position as covered, with him, Pears (stinks worse than Wright at CB) and Martin (didn’t do much last year to think he’ll win the LG job).

                Every single one of those positions has question marks and could do with a first round pick being added for competition and insurance.

              5. And if either Boldin or Smith gets hurt, who’s stepping up into the starting spot?

                That’s with any position and it can be addressed after the first round. I’m still not a fan of the Smith signing, but he Boldin will be the starters next season. The team can draft a couple of WR for quality depth and to replace Boldin then or they can wait until the next offseason to address it. Who knows, they may even re-up Boldin.

                And I find it strange you have consistently dismissed the question marks at LG yet they are the same question marks we have at ILB, CB and DL.

                Because there are two other options at that position currently on the team so the void is not as deep. The position can also be addressed after the first round.
                Meanwhile the team lost not one but two starting ILBs this offseason and have another one coming back from a terrible injury that sidelined him for a year. CB is also an area of concern because of how decimated the position was with injuries last season. Waynes and Peters are also an upgrade over Wright.

                Every single one of those positions has question marks and could do with a first round pick being added for competition and insurance.

                I think the OL will be okay if Kaep improves in his QB skill set and it makes no sense drafting a first round WR after the signing of Smith. A valid argument can be made for the other positions that you mentioned, but there are more question marks at ILB and CB.

              6. You say the OG position has more guys there ready to compete for the spot, but then say CB which has 7 guys already competing for 3 spots in Brock, Wright, Ward, Johnson, Cook, Acker and Reaser (and that’s not including the other guys like Cromartie and McFadden) is a big need. Odd.

              7. How so? Most of those guys are coming back from some form of injury or don’t have much experience (something you dinged me on earlier in the offseason when I suggested that Brock, Johnson, and Ward would be the starters next season).

              8. I’m not saying the group can’t be improved, Mid. You are the one saying the OL is set. I’m suggesting there isn’t much difference between LG and the CB position when it comes to question marks.

  17. Have to be Parker due to the need and skill set. He would immediately help out the anemic Red Zone offense put six points on the board rather than three….

    1. I was thinking about that possibility. I’d be interested in the room’s opinion on him as a fit for SF. He’s light for Baalke’s mold for OLB, but has great tape. What’s Mangini looking for, and does that matter much to Trent?

      1. Not for me. He doesn’t have the bulk to hold up as an edge rusher for the 49ers. He reminds of Barkevious Mingo, or even Manny Lawson. Add in the failed drug test and to me he shouldn’t even be drafted on day 1.

        1. Also the Dion Jordan comparison below is not encouraging.

          Does anyone else think Arik Armstead is over-rated? I like seeing him mocked to the 49ers though because that pretty much guarantees they won’t take him.

    2. I don’t know Gregory at all, but sometimes you read a scouting report and wonder why the writer rated the player so highly. Here’s nfl.com’s

      http://www.nfl.com/draft/2015/profiles/randy-gregory?id=2552446

      They give him their second highest grade for OLB (tied with Beasley). However, they conclude their commentary by saying:
      SOURCES TELL US “He’s super raw, but those physical tools are through the roof. That’s why you pay coaches.” — NFC scouting director
      NFL COMPARISON Dion Jordan
      BOTTOM LINE A 3-4 outside linebacker with the length, toughness and closing burst to immediately help a run defense. Gregory could stand to add more weight to his frame and needs plenty of technique work and a patient coach for his pass-rush skill to match his traits. High-ceiling, low-floor prospect.

      Put this together with the immaturity he demonstrated by failing a drug test he knew was coming up, and you have to really wonder about his rating.

      1. I think he was 238lbs at the Combine. He set the edge ok in college, can he do that at the next level? He is a football player, he likes to make plays. Maybe like Aldon he’s a specialist as a rookie while he bulks up and refines technique. He’s got the stuff you can’t teach. His head? I dunno.

        1. He disappears too much and can be easily dominated by stronger offensive linemen which negates his speed. This coming from a Cornhusker fan.

    3. Could work for and against the 49ers.

      The positive test might make a team skip Gregory and draft a player the 49ers were targeting.

      Or Gregory could fall to 15. Teams that covet Gregory could offer Baalke some really good trade-up deals.

  18. Nice to hear more from Tomsula. He seems to have a two step approach to building a team.

    1) Acquire players that fit a specific system.

    2) Adapt the system to fit the players you wound up with.

    Seems like an extreme case of stating the obvious, but football’s filled with teams who’s schemes don’t match their players.

    1. Bwahahahaha!
      $2,000.00?
      Save your pennies fellas, you’re going to need A LOT of them to buy a billion dollar franchise. Look here, an unpopular team owner is pretty much like an unpopular neighbor: nothing you can do about it.

    1. Sorry for my smart Alec remark. Free speech and Fan push-back are legitimate. It just seems like tilting at windmills to me.

  19. Geep Chryst

    “We’ll have some uptempo practices… and I’m looking forward to that already.”

    Hoping that means the 49ers are discarding the laboriously slow play calling system. There were hints of that when Rathman mention they were getting used to some new terminology last week.

  20. I don’t know about 2012, but Iupati sure didn’t seem to be very good last season, especially in pass protection. Maybe injury-related, but my unprofessional opinion is that we didn’t lose much there. It may have been the fact that teams stacked the line against the 49ers, to protect against Kap’s runs, but pass protection was really bad, and very few big holes were opened for Frank. So it’s hard to imagine the offensive line not getting significantly better this coming season.

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