Heart issues a core problem facing NFL

This is my Monday column on heart disease in the NFL.

Three hundred and thirty-five-pound San Francisco 49ers guard Thomas Herrion died at his locker after a preseason game on Aug. 20, 2005. He had heart disease. He was 23.

Eleven years before Herrion died, the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health examined 7,000 football players and decided the life expectancy for linemen is just 52 years. According to the study, linemen also have a 52-percent greater chance of getting heart disease than other people.

Heart disease is a root problem for the NFL. The league can improve helmet technology and tackling techniques to limit concussions, but the league cannot make linemen smaller.

Teams want the biggest, strongest players. That won’t change. 49ers general manager Trent Baalke recently made that clear when he laid out his team-building philosophy at a pre-draft press conference: “When you look at the makeup of the team from a structural standpoint, we want to be big and we want to big physical,” he said.

Teams are getting bigger and bigger. Last season, the Niners had eleven players who weighed at least 280 pounds. In 1984, the Niners only had one — offensive tackle Bubba Paris. They listed his weight at 295.

Bill Walsh thought Paris was too big, so Walsh kept him on a diet. One year during training camp, Walsh made Paris stand on a scale every day to make sure he weighed no more than 325. For nine weeks in a row, the scale said Paris weighed 323. Walsh was pleased.

Next to the scale was a Coke machine and a stack of empty wooden Coke-bottle crates. Paris cleverly was leaning on the crates while he stood on the scale. He was displacing some of his weight. One day, he tried to lean on the crates, but he missed and almost fell over — a delivery man had moved the crates a foot. Paris got back on the scale, and he weighed 336.

Today, Paris wouldn’t have to lean on a table and pretend he’s lighter than he is. Today, he would fit right in. Every offensive linemen currently on the 49ers weighs more than 300 pounds.

Have linemen become too big for their own good?

Board Certified Cardiologist Dr. Stephen Sinatra believes that is not the case. Dr. Sinatra says there is nothing inherently unhealthy about being a 330-pound linemen, although he says they could be healthier. And just to be clear – during our interview, which lasted half an hour, Dr. Sinatra never said, “I did it my way.”

Here’s what he said: “It’s a good thing that these offensive linemen are very strong and agile and big. They’re exercising. They’re burning off sugar and they’re getting sugar inside their cells. When they retire and get heavier and don’t exercise, then they’re in trouble from a cardiovascular point of view. The risk profile is much larger as they get older.”

What’s the primary issue facing offensive linemen while they’re playing?

“Heavy people contain a lot of inflammatory chemicals in the body,” said Dr. Sinatra. “The popular name for those chemicals is ‘cytokines.’ These cytokines, or these inflammatory chemicals, they live in fat cells. If you feel your belly right now, your love handles, that’s triglyceride. These triglycerides, these fat cells, they’re the home of all these inflammatory cytokines.

“When we’re fat, we’re much more inflamed. When a man gets a waistline greater than 40, he becomes a little hypertensive and he develops higher blood pressure, higher blood lipids. And he develops metabolic syndrome, which is an inflammatory form of diabetes. And that causes heart disease.”

The Source of Inflammation, and the dark side of Gatorade

What can the NFL do to protect linemen from inflammation and heart disease?

“They need a Gatorade without sugar in it,” said Dr. Sinatra. “They need a Gatorade that doesn’t have artificial colorings or dyes. Whoever is making Gatorade needs to make a healthier Gatorade for these athletes.

A 28-ounce bottle of Gatorade “G” series (the one that says “Prime, perform, recover” on the label) contains 52.5 grams of sugar.

“Sugar brings nothing to the table,” Dr. Sinatra said. “All it does is create an insulin response. It’s very pro-inflammatory on the body. It’s a perfect storm. These linemen not only are eating like crazy and pumping iron and putting on bulk, but now they’re taking on sugar. And sugar over many years creates inflammation.”

Is coconut water a good substitute?

“Coconut water is very good,” said Dr. Sinatra. “Why? It has much more potassium. It doesn’t have the sugar. And it doesn’t have the artificial ingredients. I’m a big fan.

“Gatorade has a dark side – there is no question. Just give the athletes a drink where they’re protected as opposed to getting more inflamed. That’s No.1.”

Reducing Inflammation

“No. 2, I think these linemen need a health coach,” said Dr. Sinatra.

“They’re used to being coached, and they respect their coaches. Linemen need someone from the American College of Nutrition who has a CNS after his or her name – that means Certified Nutrition Specialist.

“You know what a health coach would do? It would protect the team’s investment. That’s what we’re really talking about. These guys are worth millions and millions of dollars. If you give them the right ingredients and the right personnel – not just the trainer and the team doctor. I’m talking beyond that. I’m talking somebody who thinks out of the box, somebody who has more savvy in nutrition. I think you can protect the investment.

“I’m doing that with thoroughbred race horses. I’ve done a lot of studies on measuring inflammatory mediators in thoroughbreds. A thoroughbred is just like an NFL football player, but even more inflamed. One of the reasons we haven’t had a Triple Crown winner since 1978 is that these thoroughbreds get so inflamed that they can’t get that third leg in (the third leg being the Belmont Stakes — the third race in the Triple Crown). They need more rest.”

“Just like thoroughbreds, linemen are so inflamed that performance becomes an issue. Instead of giving them injections and whirlpools and ice and analgesics and drugs, you can do a lot by giving them proper nutrition and proper anti-inflammatories.

“Heat and cold will help alleviate inflammation. Sure. But, again, there are other things you can bring to the table in addition to the old-school management. In the Olympics, the East Germans and the Bulgarians gave their players Wobenzym – a natural digestive enzyme. The East Germans and the Bulgarians were winning Olympic gold medals because they were taking herbal anti-inflammatories.”

The German Olympic team still uses Wobenzym. It was one of their official sponsors during the 2012 Olympics in London. They won 11 gold medals.

Dr. Sinatra says other natural anti-inflammatories exist, like earth, as in grass, dirt or concrete. He wrote a book called, “Earthing.” In it, he writes, “If somebody is in direct contact with the Earth, the free electrons flow into the conductive circuitry of the body and snuff out inflammation.”

Since most of us wear shoes, we rarely come in contact with the earth’s anti-inflammatory energy.

“If I was coaching an NFL team,” said Dr. Sinatra, “I would have my players walk barefoot on the grass, provided they don’t put insecticides or pesticides on it. I would have them go barefoot for an hour a day. Just going barefoot, they would take in the earth’s energy and it would create an anti-inflammatory response. There is tremendous science and physiology and chemistry behind it. I actually published some studies on it myself.

“There are so many things you can do for these guys that aren’t done in the NFL. It’s all the old school. It’s Gatorade, it’s whirlpools — it’s the stuff that I did when I went through college athletics.”

Staying healthy after retirement

Bubba Paris retired in 1991, and he turns 55 in October. He has outlived the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health’s expected lifespan of an offensive lineman.

He looks trimmer than he did when he played. It is not uncommon for former NFL linemen to lose 40 or 50 pounds soon after they retire.

“Some of these linemen put on 40 to 50 pounds of bulk just to play in the NFL,” said Dr. Sinatra. “And when they retire, they probably say to themselves, ‘I don’t have to do this anymore.’ So the hulk stuff comes off them, and they look trimmer.

“The problem is when the overweight lineman gets more overweight or he lets his life go and he keeps putting on weight. Then, he’s in serious trouble. That’s the one we’ve got to get to. When these linemen leave the NFL, we don’t want to see them weighing 350, 400 pounds. We want to see them weighing 210, 220.”

“We want to empower them. A lot of these guys retire in their early 30s. They’re still young adults. They can do an awful lot to improve their health. I am upbeat and positive that if they meet the right health coach or if they get the right information, they will do themselves a world of good.”

The NFL is stuck in the 1960s when it comes to treating linemen. If bigger is where they’re going, then nutrition will be crucial. Not only to get players back in the game, but to ensure their health long after their last game is done.

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

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  1. The incessant drive for more revenue is a factor. Not the only factor, but one few in the business wish to discuss.

    Two minute “warnings”, “official’s timeouts” and other planned interruptions are thinly disguised TV ad stoppages.

    Factor in challenge flags, and the amount of rest time in a football game goes way up. Defensive line substitutions also mean players can be bigger.

    The more stoppages, the more recovery time. The more recovery time, the bigger the players. More twitch and bulk. Less need for aerobic fitness. Collisions have greater impact too.

    Check out a 1970’s game from the net. Watch how fast it goes by. Much more rhythm.

    Football originated as a grappling sport with a faster pace. Now its a striking sport with frequent game stoppages. The solution is clear, but it won’t happen. The solution would mean less TV ad money, which means there will be no effective solution.

  2. I’m going to repost something I posted back in December which is somewhat related to sugar issue mentioned in this topic.

    “I have a possible theory regarding the lack of consistency with Colin’s play. In most games, Colin starts out playing fairly well, but then there is a big dropoff in his performance particularly in the 4th quarter. Jack or someone can probably provide his average QBR (or some statistic) for each quarter.

    If I were involved with the organization, I would watch Colin’s pre-game routine. In particular, I would see what he is eating and drinking. My theory is that he might be consuming high sugar, high-caffeine so-called “energy drinks” prior to the game. It is well known (and from my own personal experience) that these types of drinks initially provide a quick boost in energy and awareness followed, several hours later, by a crash resulting in brain fog and reduced awareness. Since many young people consume these types of drinks and since his play generally mirrors what happens when one consumes these drinks, I think it’s worth checking out. It would be very simple to verify if this is a problem or not. However, convincing someone in the organization to do this might be difficult. If they have a nutritionist on staff, I would think they would already be looking out for that kind of thing, but I don’t know.

    Many might say this is crazy, but the quarterback position requires a high level of environmental awareness and split second decision making . Consuming these types of drinks may have little noticeable affect on people in other professions because many professions, outside of sports, don’t require sub second reaction and processing times.

    Anyway, just a wild hunch that would be easy to check out – so why not check it out.”

    1. Hah! The post-sugar-crash is a well known phenomena. Industrial accidents often occur within a predictable timespan after breaks, when donuts & sugary food and drinks are consumed.
      Marshawn Lynch perpetuates his sugar high by continuing to consume skittles through the game.
      Interesting thought Cubus.

  3. Way to go Grant! A stimulating outside-the-box professional opinion on an important issue.
    For those interested in diets, read on:
    My wife and I subscribe heartily to the benefits of a low (more like reduced in my case) carb diet. We’ve had good effect reducing dairy and almost eliminating gluten. Our quest would’ve lead to a very boring diet if The Duchess weren’t such a fine cook and daring experimenter with alternative recipes. We have plenty of protein, so I’m in charge of cooking that. See, any regime that allows me to keep the grill going out back is ok by me!

  4. Great read. Thanks for putting this up. I will be trying some cocunut water instead of Gatorade. Really puts some of the physiology in understandable terms.

    1. Nice list.

      Other guys I think fall into that category are Kyle Emanuel, Darryl Roberts, DeAndre Smelter, Titus Davis, Tory Slater, Chris Bonner, Junior Sylvestre, Obum Gwacham and Matt Jones.

    2. Click on an innocent link about draft sleepers, find out Tank Carradine is a flop.

      Reminds me of the scene in American Graffiti where Toad tries to buy booze. “I’d like a ball point pen, a Baby Ruth bar, a pint of Old Harper…”

      I haven’t seen much of Tank. I know he got three sack in three games. Pretty good for an interior player. I’m holding out hope Tank grows into his inside position.

      I’m also hoping the Dockett signing means more rotation under Mangini, not that the “starters” are inadequate. I see Dockett playing the role Gary Johnson did in the 84 Super Bowl.

      1. I think the lack of explosiveness in Tank that Grant diagnoses is because he was a wide 9 DE in college and he was sprinting towards a launch point. He’s being asked to do something else here, and my WAG is that he’ll begin to contribute this season.

        1. Tomsula touched on Tank in his last interview. He said it was like playing in a yard, to playing in a phone booth.

          Its a hard transition. Get over a bad ACL tear. Have a complication that sets recovery back. He gained 30 lbs. He has to widen his field of vision because of the differing responsibilities of a 3-4 end/under tackle.

          Big physical change. Big learning curve.

    3. Hard to get excited about unknowns, but at least you’re doing your homework.

      One gripe: it’s probably tough to use Manziel as a comparative basis for anything, given the fact he was doing blow in every bathroom in America the last 2 years.

      1. Agree. Johnny Beiber isn’t a measure of anything. I actually wish him well in his recovery. Resurrecting his career, if possible, might need to include a team change.

    4. Grant my late rd sleepers are
      Rd 4Mycole Pruitt TE S. Ill
      Rd 5 Darren Waller WR G. Tech
      Rd 7 Corey Grant RB Auburn

      1. Chip Kelly would have cut his ass because the ownership has his back, whereas Harbaughs’ ownership had the knife in his….

    1. He wore out his welcome at SD State.
      He wore out his welcome at Stanford.
      He wore out his welcome at San Fran.
      He will wear out his welcome at Michigan.

      It will probably be another decade of “almost, but not quite” failure on Harbaugh’s part before the delusional 49er fan-base will finally admit that he was never going to win us the big game. Until then, they’ll continue to bray about “3 NFC Championship appearances and one Super Bowl!!!”

      This guy has issues. The semi-success creates a situation where people make excuses for them rather than deal with them. It’s like a bad relationship…”this time will be different…”. He is the living definition of insanity: doing the same thing and expecting different results.

      (bet ninermd will somehow link the comment above to Alex Smith)

      1. While us delusional fans are braying about our 5 playoff wins under Harbaugh what are you idiot Harbaugh haters but supposed Niner fans going to bray about?
        Nolan, Singletary? Who, that was available in 2011 would you have rather had?

        1. My wife is a die hard Michigan fan and she’s elated Boone believes Coach Harbaugh will be a better college coach than pro seeing how he led the 49ers to 3 NFC Championship games and 1 Super Bowl in his 4 years there. It’s insane how far the team got considering where they were when he took over….

          1. Harbaugh will inexorably wear down everyone around him, not just the players. He is a winner and that’s why people tolerate him. However, at some point, the cost-benefit analysis of having to put up with his unpredictability/insanity will overcome the “serenity now” from the wins. Fans situated far from his daily workplace may not understand it. I’m Harbaugh fan who is glad not to work with him, but would love to have him on my side going into a battle :)

              1. You, too, may change your mind after 6 months in the foxhole with Harbaugh, make it 4 years with 6 months each year….!

              2. Pretty much agree with Mood here, although I’d substitute “eccentric/single mindedly determined” for “insanity”.
                In a way it would be like serving your whole enlistment in Boot Camp mode with the DI in your face 24/7.
                As to management, who the heck did they think they were hiring? With Jim or Parcells, you know who you’re getting.

              3. Speaking of boot camp, reminds me of my summer there in second phase. After marching all day in 112 degrees in the hills of San Bernardino, we arrived at Mount Motherfocker. I felt like I’d already given everything I had and that I knew by body better than these DI’s. Now I had two choices. I could either refuse and catch the next bus home or embrace the pain and mental anguish. I chose the latter because that’s what I signed up for.

                I couldn’t help but notice at Willis’ retirement party, many mentioned he never whined or complained during his career. That’s something I don’t take for Granted….

          2. Razor,

            You remember Billy Martin, right? Great manager, but wore out his welcome very quickly. I’m not saying JH is at that level of chaos creation, but he has a history.

            Besides that, two things can be equally true. For example: 1) JH is a great football coach. 2) JH has a hard time lasting anywhere more than four years.

            Harbaugh admitted that he’s hard to get along with for very long himself on the HBO special, didn’t he?

            1. Ex,

              He had a pattern of moving on to better jobs and succeeding at each one. This not lasting for x number of years is a fabrication. Once you win other jobs arise and that’s exactly what happened with Harbaugh. The Niner job was the first time he’d been fired. The other moves were for better jobs and more money.

              1. Rocket- Very good point. People often put their own spin on stats to justify their own perspective.

                I myself felt Harbaugh had good qualities along with some head scratcher qualities. That is not the point. The point is that when you have a coach or any other employee working for you it is the ethical thing to allow them to sink or succeed on their own. You give them your full support rather than putting obstacles in their path. This is what I feel the front office did to Harbaugh. They set him up for failure. It seemed obvious to me since early 2013. While they might have felt that his shortcomings would keep him from winning the Superbowl they should have let it play itself out to see if Jims positives would outweigh his negatives. This is what the front office’s is supposed to do. Now no one knows if Harbaugh failed because of his own shortcomings or because he was undercut.

              2. Rocket,

                Why is it that every job JH leaves it’s pretty clear nobody at the school / organization that he left is too broken up about it?

                Hell, if the reports are true, Harbaugh admits in the HBO special that people don’t want to be around him after a short time.

                Pete Carroll claims he left (fled?) USC on his own accord. It’s a matter of perspective, sometimes.

        2. Bar None

          You refer to me as an “idiot Harbaugh hater,” yes? That’s fine. I don’t respect losers, so No, I will not “bray” about Singletary or Nolan or Harbaugh. They are all losers; but losers like you will point out that Harbaugh was a winner. That’s simply not true in the NFL. He might have had a winning record, but he didn’t win. He was the first loser. Walsh was a winner, Seifert, Coughlin, Carroll, Belichick, Payton, to name a few.

          But Harbaugh? No. He was only a winner in the eyes of losers.

          1. E, I don’t follow the logic of your argument at all. How can you have a winning record, but not win? How can you equate Harbaugh with Nolan and Singletary? If you have some additional definition of “win” that Harbaugh failed to meet, you’re going to have to explain it further because your post leaves me scratching my head.

            Keep in mind that someone can think Harbaugh is a winner and had a winning record, and completely appreciate what he accomplished, and still understand how he wore out his welcome and made continuing on with the 49ers a toxic impossibility.

            1. Aduroson

              Anything less than a Super Bowl victory is a losing season.

              49ers have 5 winning seasons. Harbaugh earned 0 of them, just like Singletary and Nolan, to name just two.

              1. Aduroson

                Anything less than a Super Bowl victory is a losing season.

                They reached that mountain according to Boone.

                49ers have 5 winning seasons. Harbaugh earned 0 of them, just like Singletary and Nolan, to name just two.


              2. E— I can not believe you actually posted that definition of what constitutes a winner. I am totally speechless. As Bugs Bunny used to say ” What a marooon”.

          2. E,

            I don’t recall singling you out, but yep, you’re an idiot. A team has to win the Super Bowl to have a winning season? So the Patriots team that went 16-0 in the regular season a few years ago didn’t have a winning season? You must suffer a disappointing life, except in your delusional fantasy world where you win at everything, all the time.

            1. Bar None

              You didn’t have to single anyone out. You made a general comment about people that don’t like Harbaugh.

              I don’t like Harbaugh. If anyone on this site claims they were happy when the Niners lost to the Giants, Ravens, and Seahawks in successive seasons, then I say, rightfully so, that they’re happy with losing. The Niners under Harbaugh lost. The 16-0 Patriots under Belichick lost. Eli is more of a winner than Peyton. Montana is more of a winner than everyone else who ever played the game.

              By your moronic standard, Dan Marino and Peyton Manning are bigger winners than Joe Montana.

    2. That sounds more like Boone is being two-faced more than anything which leads me to believe that he was one of the players complaining about Harbaugh to the media. The very fact that Boone mentions getting over a mountain when he and the 49ers never did is telling in itself.
      All I can say is that I hope Kaep has his running shoes on because he’s going to need them with a player believing that he’s already over the mountain and doesn’t need to keep improving blocking for him on the OL.

          1. MidWestDynasty- Perhaps that what prompted the front office to sign the new free agent lineman because they recognized the Offensive line was missing and needed a Pear.

  5. I was with him on the nutrition part. And I’ve thought for years that it was silly for pro athletes to be drinking sugar water during a game, but he lost me with the grounding thing. Free electrons flow into your feet and kill inflammation?? If that were the case, then rubbing your feet on the carpet and getting static electricity would also kill inflammation.

    1. Lol. Yep, Dr Sinatra had me nodding my head and following his reasoning just fine until he got to his wacko Mother Earth spiel about walking around barefoot so that dirt and grass between your toes will ease inflammation.

      1. @BarNone-
        Yeah, I’d never heard of that connecting with the Earth stuff either, but while I’m waiting for more info I’m not entirely discounting the possibility that he’s on to something. Maybe after the draft I’ll look into his published paper on it.
        Here’s the thing, we know the earth has electro-magnetic charge. Lightning strikes are evidence of the earth exchanging charge with the clouds. There is much known about the electro-chemical properties of the human body. Kundalini Yoga and Chinese Acupuncture are ancient methods of aiding the efficient flow of these energies.
        I’m just saying, Who Knows? (And yes, it’s 4/20, but that has nothing to do with my thinking on this, LOL!)
        P.S.- The carpet in your house is not grounded to the earth.

        1. Sounds kooky, but so do many things when first introduced, only to be ultimately proven true. Besides, walking barefoot through the grass isn’t the worst thing in the world…

    1. As per cbsports.com:
      “He’s as raw as he is talented,” an AFC North scout told NFLDraftScout.com. “The ball shoots off his hand and he has some traits you cannot teach. I’m just not sure how naturally the game comes to him. How much better can he get? What is his football ceiling? I’m not sure. But he could end up being a bargain for a team that brings him along at his pace.”


    1. Here a statement I really liked from his article. Speaking about Baalke he said:

      “This year’s receiver class is believed to be nearly as good. He can’t rely on Ozzie Newsome to vet his wide receivers forever. At some point he has to plunge back into the murky waters of the draft pool and return to the surface with a No. 1-caliber receiver.’

    2. Barrows and I are in agreement. Parker is the guy I want, and like Barrows I’m starting to think he may well last until #15 (or very close to #15 so a small trade up may be possible).

        1. The foot is a concern, no doubt. But one I think is worth taking on. Mentally I don’t have too much of a concern. He’s not a gregarious person by nature based on what I saw in his combine interview, quite reserved as Barrows said. But he’s confident in his abilities. Bringing his entourage isn’t ideal, but he doesn’t come with off field issues that I’m aware of so it doesn’t sound like his entourage puts him in bad positions.

            1. Parker had a broken bone on the outside of his left foot. Its a different injury to the ones Crabtree has dealt with.

              Attitude wise I don’t know if its accurate to say they have the same type of personality. There are some diva-ish qualities I guess. But I’ve not heard anyone mention any issues with Parker’s commitment at Louisville.

              1. Yea, I didn’t say the injuries were identical. Foot “issues”, and Crabtree was reported to be quiet and reserved to himself in the locker room if I’m not mistaken. Not sure if he was a “diva”….

            2. Funny you should say that. Just listening to a podcast with Greg Cosell on the WRs. When asked to compare Parker to an NFL receiver, he said Crabtree, based on what he thought he could bring to an NFL team. By the way, he said this to illustrate his belief that Parker would not turn into a #1 WR. He thought he could play, though. In addition to Cooper and White, he was more positive about Beckham and Perriman, both of whom he thinks would be suitable first round picks.

              1. I agree with both of you and Greg Cosell that Perriman and DGB have greater upside than Parker. I have Perriman and DGB as #2 and #3 after Cooper, with Parker and White #4 and #5.

                But I really like Parker as a player, and I think he’d be a good fit for the 49ers. My draft crush, but not necessarily best player that could be available.

              2. I guess I’m not on the Parker bandwagon. The foot could turn into a major issue just like it did for Crab. I’ve brought this up before and was resoundly criticized for it, but I’ll bring it up again. I just see no explanation for his abysmal performance in the gauntlet. It looked like he was making absolutely no effort whatsoever. Do I think he could have done much better – yes. Maybe he didn’t because he didn’t want to.

                Crabtree may very well be a good comparison. Frankly, I’m over Crabtree (and Crabtree clones) and want to see someone different.

              3. Scooter:

                I don’t understand this statement that you made:

                “But I really like Parker as a player, and I think he’d be a good fit for the 49ers. My draft crush, but not necessarily best player that could be available.”

                Under the assumption that “draft crush” is targeted towards the 49ers, I don’t see how you could want Parker when you have him as the 4th best WR. Surely, one of the other three WRs would be as good a fit or better. Or perhaps your reasoning is that the other’s are unlikely to be available so Parker is the potentially available “draft crush”. Is that your definition of draft crush?

              4. I heard Cosell say that about Parker in three different podcasts.

                He said “based on tape” Parker’s this years Davante Adams. He like Adams tape a little more. (I think Parker’s faster)

                But in is most recent podcast he said “the more I watch Parker, the more I like him.”

                Cosell’s been a huge Perriman fan well before he ran that fast 40.

                I disagree alot with Cosell, but last year he raved about Martavis Bryant in several pre-draft interviews. He said he’d be a steal for what ever team grabs him.

                He has had his misses. Like alot of east coast pundits, he preferred RG3 over Luck.

              5. Its as simple as I just really like the way Parker plays, and I think his skills would be a good match for the offense. Its the same as I really like Tre McBride as a player, but I appreciate there are a bunch of WRs that should be taken ahead of him.

                I think Perriman and DGB have greater potential than Parker and could be better players. Though I think the floor is higher for Parker than those two.

              6. About Cosell on DGB I should also say that, from the standpoint of being able to play in the NFL, he opined that he thought DGB could have been more competitive against the college receivers he faced and so that was a red flag about his playing in the pros, besides any possible off-field issues, which he doesn’t factor into his evaluation of a prospect. Link is below. Btw, I don’t quote Cosell as a god. I like to listen to him, that’s all, and know others here follow him. The college world is beyond me. The only players I really watch are Niners.


              7. Here are some other interesting draft tidbits, this time from Jason La Canfora.


                What I see with Parker is what is written about him here.

                Interesting take on ILBs. Could the 49ers wait until the 3rd and still get one of the top ILBs?

                Also interesting take that teams are struggling to find more than 16 guys with a first round grade. Could mean there really is some good trade back potential.

              8. Scooter, this may be off the wall, but do you think Coleman could be used as a Percy Harvin type player? In the slot can you imagine what he could do with the ball in his hands? He accelerates instantly.

              9. Tevin Coleman? I think he’s a true RB and should be used accordingly. You might split him out wide occasionally and I’m sure he would be used as a receiver out of the backfield too, but I don’t think he’ll make a living from the slot.

      1. I’m not sure how much media chatter and pro days affect teams draft boards… but the positive buzz about Perriman’s 40 and Gurley’s knee could push players like Parker to 15.

        Any news that extends the “elite” range to 15 is good news.

      2. Scoot

        Why would you want Parker when you could have DGB? He is bigger, faster, and healthier than Parker. I don’t get why any WR-needy team would want anybody over DGB in this draft, unless that team could get Amari Cooper and thought, because he is NFL-ready, that he would push them over the top to win a Super Bowl in 2015-16. No other reason to draft a guy over DGB.

        1. Parker doesn’t come with off field concerns, runs about as fast as DGB and has a similar catch radius (huge wingspan and good leaping ability), and is a far more refined route runner.

    3. I’d be happy with Parker in the first round. Definitely a good player who could slide into Boldin’s spot next year and give them some good snaps as the 3rd or 4th this season.

    1. Interesting that Culliver’s comments are being portrayed as disagreeing with Boone, yet all Culliver has said is Harbaugh is a good coach that took them to 3 NFCCGs and a SB in 4 years. I don’t recall Boone saying any of that wasn’t true…

      1. I find it more telling that you’re the only one that doesn’t see it as a rebuke. Culliver was sincere in his love for his coach when he ran over and gave him the football. Boone sounds like a spurned lover….

        1. Given I didn’t say it wasn’t a rebuke, I think you are looking for things to criticize me about.

          It was obviously a rebuke, but Culliver did not refute any of Boone’s comments. He simply said that Harbaugh was a winner and that winning is why the players play the game. He was basically saying Boone should suck it up.

            1. I’m not defending Boone. He shouldn’t have said what he said, and he does come out of this looking petty and foolish. But I also think there was some truth to what he said.

              1. It seems we have some common ground here Scooter. I have lost what little respect I had for Mr. Boone after his holdout, while I respect what Coach Harbaugh contributed to make the franchise relevant again….

              2. I will forever be a Harbaugh fan for making the 49ers a good team, for turning them around.

                I know a lot of people disagree with me, but I also think Harbaugh has his time and place. He’s genuinely brilliant at turning a program around. Its a true talent he has. But I have always thought his approach was unsustainable long term in the NFL and at some point for the good of the 49ers he would need to leave.

                As to whether the 49ers have replaced him wisely, we’ll have to wait and see.

              3. Agree, Scooter. Unless my memory is failing me, even after he was announced as the head coach, some analysts, etc. were saying that he might not make it to five years because of his tendency to wear out people. But most importantly, he made the team relevant again and brought back a winning attitude that had bee sorely missing for a long time. That attitude should still be there and it’s now up to Tomsula, et.al. to keep it going.

              4. I guess I fall into the “what is real and what is not” part of the argument. I see comments talking about Harbaugh’s approach not being sustainable and yet none of us really know what that approach is or means. We didn’t hear a word about player unrest before this past season and now we have a narrative saying Harbaugh wore out his welcome everywhere he’s been and they had to fire him because he was losing the locker room. That’s all well and good except for the fact none of it is true. The man rose quickly through the College ranks and into the NFL because he was so successful; not because he wore out his welcome.

                What I see happening is reconciling and trying to make sense of a move (Firing a top 3 HC in winning percentage) that didn’t make any sense. The players didn’t fire Harbaugh, even Boone admitted to that. Harbaugh was fired by Jed York because Jed didn’t like the direction the team was going starting in 2012 as he stated during the presser following Harbaugh’s dismissal.

                The players played for Harbaugh. The team won a lot of games under Harbaugh. No matter how much anyone tries to find valid reasons for the firing, they don’t hold up because of one simple fact: he won games. You don’t fire a winning HC because if you do as the Chargers did with Marty Schottenheimer after a 14 win season, chances are your fortunes are going down not up. It also sends a message to prospective Coaches that performance is not enough to keep your job. Anyone truly wondering why the Niners couldn’t attract better candidates only needs to look at how this was handled for an answer.

                What’s done is done. There’s no going back now, but I find it interesting that so many are forming an opinion that firing a HC who won so many games and got to so many Championship games and a SB, is somehow justified. It’s especially head scratching when we consider how long this team wallowed in mediocrity or worse for the decade prior to Harbaugh being hired. If any team should understand how hard it is to win and find a HC who can do it consistently, it should be the Niners.

                I thought I had this all out of my system, but apparently not. I still can’t believe what has transpired this offseason.

              5. I Agree Scoot.
                Watching the Nines under Walsh was fun. Same thing happened with Harbaugh.
                I wish he had left under better circumstances and anointed his successor.
                As long as it wasn’t Roman.

              6. “There’s no going back now, but I find it interesting that so many are forming an opinion that firing a HC who won so many games and got to so many Championship games and a SB, is somehow justified.”

                Rocket: I’ll speak for myself that I did not mean to imply it was justified. I wanted Harbaugh to stay on, but it was not a surprise to me that it happened; given Harbaugh’s personality, which he himself admitted grates on people and causes them not to want to be around him. But let’s move on and have hope for this season because in the end, we fans have no choice :)

              7. Rocket I agree with your view of the amazing analysis that’s been “seeping” out lately. It seems to be based on phantom sources of imagined inside information.

                My hope is that Jolly Jim is also a very Lucky Jim, since I have no idea how hard any previous 49er head coach has ever worked his team.

                I’m also burdened by the memory I have that Baalke is very proud that he determines who is on the 53 man roster at all times, and that it was Walsh that used fear by firing people on the practice field.

              8. Rocket,

                You have stated that we don’t know what happened between the FO and JH. Since that’s true, how do you know that he didn’t behave in such a way as to justify his firing? I’m assuming you would agree that there is a level of bad behavior that any employee, no matter how talented, would be subject to being fired. Combined with the fact that we don’t know what went on between JH and the FO, how can you be so certain that firing JH was a bad / wrong move?

                That’s what’s inducing head scratching, for me.

          1. It was obviously a rebuke, but Culliver did not refute any of Boone’s comments.

            He questioned Boone’s integrity though. That’s stronger than a refute.

            1. His comments are effectively questioning why Boone is saying these things now but didn’t have the guts to say them when Harbaugh was around. In that regard he questioned Boone’s integrity.

              I’m not sure what you mean about that being stronger than a refute. Plain and simple truth is Culliver did not at any point in his comments refute what Boone said about Harbaugh. He simply stated that Harbaugh is a good coach with a strong winning record, and that is all that should matter. The sub-text is that Boone should suck it up because winning is all that matters.

              1. When a person’s integrity is questioned so too is any action(s) or comment(s) they have made. Culliver did just that by mentioning how people ‘talk about you when you’re not around but are quiet in your face’. Why refute somebody if you can question their integrity instead and thus kill two birds with one stone: make the person look bad which in turn makes their comments carry less weight.

              2. Funny, I’ve always thought an argument carried the most weight when it specifically addresses the matter at hand.

                Culliver’s argument makes Boone look silly as a guy that is not willing to do what it takes to be a winner, and backstabs people after they’ve gone. But again I iterate Culliver did not say Boone’s comments about Harbaugh were inaccurate. That is just an interpretation that people are making.

                To me the matter at hand in Culliver’s comments is that players should be willing to do whatever a winning coach asks of them.

              3. Funny, I’ve always thought an argument carried the most weight when it specifically addresses the matter at hand.

                How does questioning the integrity of a person who makes the statement have less weight?

                But again I iterate Culliver did not say Boone’s comments about Harbaugh were inaccurate.

                He didn’t say they were accurate either, but I digress.

                To me the matter at hand in Culliver’s comments is that players should do whatever a winning coach asks of them.

                Fixed that for you.

              4. Mid,

                Regarding your first point, making someone look foolish is a good tool to use in an argument, but at the end of the day the most compelling arguments are those that actually discuss the virtues of the subject matter. Maybe you believe differently, and you are entitled to, but that is my opinion.

                Regarding your second point, my whole point has been that Culliver’s comments are being interpreted to mean something he didn’t actually say. We don’t know whether he believes Boone is lying or not. And I am not trying to suggest that by omission Culliver agrees with Boone.

                On the third point, it didn’t need fixing. The subtraction of “be willing to” makes no difference to the context of my statement.

        2. Could also be an indication he was tougher on the offense than the defense. Maybe defensive practices were a lot more laid back with Fangio running them.

          Just a thought

          1. It’s a good thought. Fangio had the guys playing loose. Simplified the defense so they would be the playmakers they were in college. The anti-Roman, you might say. With Roman it was a kind of sack race.

          1. The winner comes after this:

            “Interesting that Culliver’s comments are being portrayed as disagreeing with Boone, yet all Culliver has said is Harbaugh is a good coach that took them to 3 NFCCGs and a SB in 4 years.”

            The winner is:

            “I don’t recall Boone saying any of that wasn’t true…”

            1. Yeah, still not getting it mate. Did you read or listen to Boone’s comments, htwaits? He said Harbaugh had worn out his welcome and that he pushed people too far, not that he was a bad coach.

      1. Like in two finished ahead of the 49ers, and the third has been drafting near the top for years. Two of six is not an impossible outcome for 2016.

    1. I think that you mistake cowardice for integrity or homerism…just like us, he’s entitled to his opinion…

  6. About Cosell on DGB I should also say that, from the standpoint of being able to play in the NFL, he opined that he thought DGB could have been more competitive against the college receivers he faced and so that was a red flag about his playing in the pros, besides any possible off-field issues, which he doesn’t factor into his evaluation of a prospect.

    Shocking that Cosell and I agree on something, although I think it was college corner backs that DGB faced. His competitive fire is the biggest red flag from what I see.

    1. Just quickly re: Dupree, I believe you are incorrect saying he has no experience playing ILB. I am pretty sure he played a little bit of ILB for Kentucky this past season (albeit not much), and in his sophomore year he had played ILB as his primary position. They moved him around a bit.

      1. You’re right Scooter. Might explain his lack of refinement. I believe he was a tight end at one point as well….

        1. Yeah, I think he started out as a TE didn’t he? He’s never truly been dedicated to one spot which is the main reason I don’t mind him being a little unrefined. The fact he has played at a high level regardless of where they put him on D shows he’s a very good athlete, and picks things up pretty well.

    2. Grant, nice article.

      The positive news about Gurley’s knee could very well extend the “elite” range. Baalke would no longer be stuck in what Matt Barrows calls a “no mans land’ at 15.
      Trade back value suddenly increases.

      Best case scenario:
      1) Mariota goes at 2.
      2) The Raiders take Williams at 4, for pushing Cooper/White/Parker down 3-4 spots.
      3) Gurley goes somewhere between 11-14.
      4) Major trade bait like Parker or Waynes drops to 15.

      Baalke now has the luxury of entertaining reasonable trade back offers, or picking the player.

      A modest trade back 4-5 spots would garner at extra 3rd. 10 spots or more a 2nd. With the extra 3rd, they could package 46+79 to move back into the late first if they wanted. Or package the 3rds up for an extra second. The possibilities are endless.

      1. Baalke needs to draft a difference maker. Yes the team has needs at multiple spots. But rather than simply plugging holes with adequate players that will just do an okay job while the team hovers around the mediocrity (8-8) range, I want to see Baalke take a chance on a difference maker. ODB last year was a difference maker. Aldon Smith has been a difference maker. JJ Watt is a definite difference maker. DGB this year has the raw potential to be a difference maker for the 49ers. It’s been a very long time since the 49ers had a difference maker at wide receiver. It’s a high-risk, high-reward venture, but who wants their team to linger in mediocrity? A target like Dez Bryant, AJ Green or Demaryius Thomas in the end zone in the 49ers final games of the 2012 and 2013 seasons could’ve very well made the difference between two more Lombardi’s and well, what happened instead.

        1. Bar None, that would be ideal. Thinking out loud, given this roster, what would make a difference?
          — The biggest difference would be, obviously, at QB. There’s no QB they can draft who would provide that, but perhaps CK will see big improvement this year. A better offensive playbook would help too.
          — A shut-down CB would make a difference. But is there one in the draft? Some folks here think Peters. Would be great if he is.
          — A dynamic slot receiver would make a difference. But we may already have that in Ellington. Would Philip Dorsett or Devin Smith be better? Maybe. But the thinking is they can draft they guys in the second or third round.

          Can you think of anything else? Aside from that, I think this would be good draft for us if we got starter quality backups at OT, RB, OLB, and ILB, plus a successor to Boldin.

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