Shanahan on the 49ers’ new defense: “(It) starts with the safeties and the corners.”

As we make our mock drafts and try to figure which players the 49ers will take next month, I want to turn your attention to an interview Kyle Shanahan did with Murph and Mac on KNBR in February.

During the interview, Murph asked Shanahan about the defensive coordinator, Robert Saleh, and the type of defense he intends to use.

Here’s what Shanahan said: “(Saleh)e spent about five years in Seattle (editor’s note: it was three years). He got to learn Pete Carroll’s system. He got to work for Gus Bradley and go through that whole process, get to a Super Bowl. And then he left with Gus and went to Jacksonville. That’s where he was a linebacker coach for Gus for four years (editor’s note: it was three years). Got to know that defense inside and out.

“Just me spending my last two years in Atlanta, having to go against that type of scheme every day in practice, and getting to know Dan Quinn very well who Robert Saleh also worked for. And playing against Seattle over the years, knowing how hard that system has been to go against. It’s not necessarily how hard it is, it’s how sound it is. They make you work for everything.

“It’s always an eight-man front. It’s very tough to run the ball against. And they’re very sound in their coverages. You can get some completions and things like that, but they make you work all the way down the field. And when someone makes you work all the way down the field, no matter how talented they are, you have to be on as an offense to score points. Because you can get to the red zone, you can get yards, but in order to get touchdowns you have to execute. It’s a defense that makes you execute.

“And always when they make you one-dimensional — which, when you’re playing and eight-man front, it’s tougher to run the ball — and if you can make an offense one-dimensional, it makes it a lot tougher.

“So, knowing Saleh, knowing the type of person he is, getting to know him in Houston when a QC — Robert is as smart as anyone I’ve been around. He studies everything. He knows a lot of different systems, but he knows the true Seattle-Atlanta-Jacksonville inside and out as much as anybody I’ve been with.

“Went through a hard interview process with him. I wanted to see where he’s come in the last eight years that we haven’t been together. And it was extremely impressive. I’m very confident Saleh helping me put together this defensive staff, and he’s going to build a scheme. We’re going to try to get players to fit that scheme, and we also know we’re going to adjust to the players that we have, too. Regardless of what we have, we’re going to make it work. I think you guys are going to be real happy with what we put out there.”

MURPH: “So, that Seattle, Dan-Quinn stuff. Physical DBs, huh? A lot of man-to-man, physical DBs — is that kind of the deal?”

SHANAHAN: “Yes, and to me it’s physical everybody. You want violent people. You want to run and hit people, make that field smaller for everybody, especially the receivers, and that starts with the safeties and the corners, being able to hit. And it’s not just about hitting. You’ve got to be able to cover. You’ve got to be smart. You’re trying to get everything. We look for certain traits in people. Usually if you have one of those traits, we can make it work. If you have all three of those traits, then you have a special guy. And those are the guys you want to keep a hold of.”

MURPH: “Is Robert Saleh going to play a 4-3? Is that right?”

SHANAHAN: “Yeah, it’s a 4-3. I think all that is such semantics, to tell you the truth. Seattle has a linebacker on the ball every single play. So does Atlanta. That’s five guys on the line of scrimmage. So whether you call it a 4-3 or a 3-4 — for the most part, we call it a 4-3.

“Just to tell you the way I look at it as a coach — can your halfback block that Sam linebacker on the ball. And that just depends how big he is. And if he’s a big guy and he’s Ahmad Brooks, then call it a 3-4. If he’s a smaller guy like K.J. Wright, who’s not that small, but you’re going to put your back on him, then call it a 4-3. There’s really no difference. It’s the same type of fronts. 3-4’s, sometimes they one-gap, sometimes they two-gap. But we plan on having a linebacker on the ball, and that’s five guys on the line of scrimmage. Depending on how our personnel plays out, I’ll have a better answer for you on what you want to call it.”

What stands out to you from this interview? A few things stand out to me:

  1. Shanahan says the defense the 49ers intend to run “starts with the safeties and the corners.” Recently, the Niners signed a safety — Don Jones — but they have not signed a single corner. This makes me think the Niners plan on drafting a corner with an early pick.
  2. Shanahan said the Seahawks’ linebacker who’s “on the ball” (coach-speak for “on the line of scrimmage) is K.J. Wright. But, Wright actually plays off the ball — he lines up directly behind Seattle’s 3-technique defensive tackle. Coaches call Wright the “Jack” or the “Stack backer” because he is “stacked” behind that 3-technique.
  3. Shanahan calls the “on-ball linebacker” the “Sam,” which means that linebacker on the strong side of the defense. But, the “on ball” linebacker actually is on the weak side of the Seattle-Atlanta-Jacksonville defense (on the opposite side of the formation as the opposing tight end). Look at the picture below to see what I mean This picture comes from 2013 when Saleh was on the Seahawks staff. Some Pete-Carroll disciples call the “on-ball linebacker” the “Otto,” presumably to avoid the strong-side-weak-side confusion.
  4. The Seahawks on-ball linebacker in the picture below is Malcolm Smith (No. 53), whom the 49ers recently signed. I think he will play the same position for the 49ers — on the ball. The past two seasons he played “Stack backer” for the Raiders, and was the main reason the they were the worst in the NFL at defending tight ends. Smith couldn’t cover them.  As the on-ball linebacker, he wouldn’t have to cover them.

overfront

  1. Safties? Jamal Adams? Corners? Lattimore?

    Take Adams, We need a tone setting SS. Adams would lessen the burden on Bowman and the on ball LB. I don’t see any weaknesses in Adams’ game.

  2. You were the kid who was the know it all, who all the kids talked about behind your back. It all makes so much sense now.

    1. I can understand why the 9ers passed on hiring Seb–as brilliant an innovative as he is–but it’s a mystery why they didn’t bring in Grant to coordinate all 9er quality control coaching staff. Grant has complete mastery of terminology and schemes, and is unparalleled at breaking down tendencies and how to exploit weaknesses.

  3. Don’t we need a linebacker. I also really like Solomon thomas. Why don’t we sign zack brown also. We should also draft Patrick mahomes in the second round

    1. Need for linebacker? Probably 2, including a Leo. Could use a big fat guy in the middle of the DL as well. But since the Niners don’t have Richard Sherman and Patrick Peterson playing CB, it’s a decent bet they go for Lattimore if they think he’s special. It’ll be Saleh’s pick however you look at it, unless they trade down.
      I’d be really surprised if they go for a QB in the first 4 rounds. They already have their backups on the team. Still way to many other holes to fill.

    2. You’re right. We don’t need ‘a’ linebacker. We might need three.

      Smith wasn’t that good in Seattle and managed to, during his Raider career, accumulate the 2nd most missed tackles in the NFL over that time period. Brooks is getting really long in the tooth. Bowman has one leg. Ray-Ray Armstrong has had attitude problems wherever he’s gone. After that, it’s special teamers.

      1. Smith does’nt sound good. He probably won’t make the 90 or 53 man roster. Kyle is going to bring back the glory days of Harbaugh and Walsh.

  4. Back off. I kinda like the insights he gives, and so what if he knows what he is talking about? I learn something new every day.

    Yes, you are the kind of person to talk behind some one’s back. Here, we let it all hang out, and say it to their face.

    1. You’ve not been here long enough Sebnnoying to tell people we let it all hang out.

      You’re just a rash here. Don’t act like a long timer son. You’ve done noting to earn that!

      1. Prime, with you, your snark does not age gracefully, but starts reeking and has gotten old quick.

        You try to sound tough, but are just a wuss at heart. You try to spew drivel, but lapse into unctuous bluster, then attack when called out. Finally, when posters are laughing at you, you descend into the gutter and start hurling invective.

              1. Prime, you’re obsession with Seb gets really tiresome. Move on. So what if you don’t like his takes. I’m not a fan of them either, but so what.

                Move on.

  5. Grant, are you thinking Malcolm Smith will look much better at the on the ball role than he did at the stack role for the Raiders?

    Do you think it was a good or bad signing by Kyle and John?

    1. Smith will be fine on the ball. He’s an awful stack backer, though. Would be a shame if the Niners signed him to play that position. Armstrong is better at it, and Armstrong is just a guy.

  6. 1. Absolutely. And I wouldn’t be surprised to see more than 1 DB added.
    2, 3 and 4. I wouldn’t get too caught up in the names and semantics. I think in general we should just accept there will be five guys on the LOS most of the time in base, of which 4 will be “down lineman” and one will be standing up. And from what Shanahan said, it sounds like they will strongly consider Brooks for that on the ball LB role, which means Smith was likely brought in to compete with Armstrong for one of the two LBs off the ball. This is an interesting development, as I too had assumed Smith would play on the LOS.

    Also, as far as covering the TE goes, the SS will also be responsible for this quite often, not necessarily a LB.

  7. Ah, yes, ‘execution’… Carroll became coach in 2010. How have we ‘executed’ against the Seahawks since then:

    2010 — 6pts & 40 pts (Smith) – 1-1
    2011 — 33pts & 19pts (Smith) – 2-0
    2012 — 13pts in each game. 1-1 (13 Smith (W), 13 Kaepernick (L))
    2013 — 3pts & 19pts. (Kaepernick) 1-1
    2014 — 3pts & 7pts (Kaepernick) — 0-2
    2015 — 3 pts (Kaepernick) & 13 pts (Gabbert) (0-2)
    2016 — 18 pts (Gabbert) & 23 pts (Kaepernick) (0-2)

    4-1 under Smith against the Carroll-lead Seahawks and 1-8 under the auspices of Kaepernick (1-6 ) & Gabbert (0-2) since the ascension of the Seahawks under Pete Carroll.

    I can only hope we give it back to them in the near future as they’ve given it to us in the recent past.

  8. What stands out to you from this interview? A few things stand out to me:

    Shanahan says the defense the 49ers intend to run “starts with the safeties and the corners.” Recently, the Niners signed a safety — Don Jones — but they have not signed a single corner. This makes me think the Niners plan on drafting a corner with an early pick.

    First, they signed K’Wuan Williams. He is reputed (PFF) to be one of the better nickle backs in football and he was one of PFFs ‘Secret Superstars.’ Of course, so was Chilo Rachel… And whole bunch of other one-hit wonders… So take PFF (like I do) with a grain of salt.

    More important to me is he got 4 contract offers in FA. So at least some NFL teams seem to think he’s got what it takes.

    Second, they have Robinson, Brock, Redmond (rated a low Round 1 pre ACL and Round 3 post ACL) already there. And like it or not, Brock is a good cover guy. It’s just he got snake-bit last year in that when he blew it, he really blew it and he no help from the safeties to prevent the big play when he blew it.

    So maybe they do… But I wouldn’t project it with such certainty.

    1. Yes, they signed Williams, who is a Nickel. But they haven’t signed a corner.

      Brock is too small to play corner in this defense.

      1. What about Donate Johnson? He’s got the size and speed but he’s never really gotten a shot to start, right? Or is it just that he’s not very good and hasn’t impressed 3 different coaching staffs since being drafted?

          1. Andusoron

            Just a hint…don’t feed Grant an either/ or question…he’ll take the negative every time….Dontae Johnson is probably our best cover corner with the size to break up passes…next to him is Cromartie who is 6′ tall and about 195 lbs…and Cory Serrie(sp)at 6′ and 210 lbs…and they’re all good

            1. Vinnie Sunseri …NOT Cory Serrie….Draft Melifanwu (from UConn) Jamal Adams, and re-sign Cromartie and Safety is covered

        1. I think both the 2 past DCs were incompetent, and could not recognize talent if it slapped them in the face.

          Their scheme was horrendous and they played players out of position.

          Hopefully Dontae Johnson will be allowed to play. He has the length to defend against the taller receivers.

      2. Why do you think he’s too small? We didn’t have a starting CB over 185 lbs, except Deion Sanders at 198, for most of the time we ran that defense under Seifert. Which includes Carroll as his DC in ’95 & ’96.

        I think the ‘big corners thing’ has to do with NFL fashions and WRs in the division, not the defense itself.

  9. They also used Brock Coyle at the same position: http://i49.photobucket.com/albums/f257/4evrnyt/coyle.jpg

    Here is another shot of Smith in 2013 with the Seahawks in an Under front. Smith is now on the strong side and he ends up covering the TE on this play: http://i49.photobucket.com/albums/f257/4evrnyt/smithunder.jpg

    The Jags used Myles Jack in this role. Later in 2013 the Seahawks were using Bruce Irvin in the same role. In 2016 they used Kevin Pierre-Louis, Ronald Powell and a few others in the position. I find it interesting that most of the players that play the spot outweigh Malcolm Smith by 20 pounds. Most of the players listed are in the mid 240’s. Irvin is listed in the 250’s. Malcolm Smith is listed at 225.

    1. K.J. Wright is playing Mike in that second picture. Seems like the defense only had time for a small shift as opposed to a total flip.

      Michael Morgan played on-ball linebacker for Seattle last season and he weighs 225.

      1. Tape does show that they used a committee for that role last year as both the other players I listed show up playing there.

        1. As I mentioned they struggled to find anyone to stick in the position. Maybe they needed thicker guys :)

          1. Maybe :) But you don’t have to be a thick LB to have the advantage against a running back one-on-one during a blitz.

      2. You sure it’s KJ as the Mike. Bobby Wagner (54) typically plays the Mike and he’s playing the middle. Not sure who #53 is but he’s the weak-side LB, isn’t he?

          1. The strong side is on the right hand side of the picture where the Tight End is. Thomas is playing 13 to 14 yards back from the line of scrimmage so I don’t believe that is considered playing in the box. I’m more wondering where the strong safety (Chancellor) is playing in this picture.

  10. I wonder if Lynch has been assessing the DBs, and has discovered that players were playing out of position, and they were not coaching up their strengths.

    He did say that he saw talent on the existing squad, but he also acquired more talent with free agency.

    I sure hope they draft an ILB, pass rusher, S and NT before they draft a CB. This draft seems deep in CBs, so they could possibly find a gem in the later rounds.

    Hope they retain Cromartie and Chris Davis. Redmond may be a wild card. Dontae Johnson may surprise folks.

    Wonder if they will transform the 3-4 defense into a 4-3 defense, but maybe they should make a hybrid defense that has elements of both. Maybe it is not wise to make a 3-4 player play in a system not suited to their skill set. However, maybe now Tank can finally shine.

    The most important thing is to abandon the past read and adjust style defense, and go with a react and attack defense.

  11. Agree the 49ers will take a DB early. Perhaps two once the draft is over. Who they select (Adams, Lattimore, Hooker, Melifonwu etc.) will depend on self scouting Ward, Robinson, Reid and Tartt. And also the health of Hooker.

    Does the 4 down, 1 off the ball scheme make room for Thomas? To match the photo right to left…

    – Thomas 5-tech outside the LT, shaded towards the TE
    – Buckner or Armstead 3-tech
    – Mitchell 1-Tech NT
    – Buckner or Armstead 4-tech over the RT

    Is that how it would work?

    It will be interesting to see who plays 3-tech. Armstead has brute bull rush strength suitable for the 4-tech spot, but his ball carrier location was lacking. Maybe he would be better in a disruptive single gap role at the 3-tech. Would Buckner’s read capabilities would work better in a 2-gap 4-tech assignment?

  12. Their focus IMO is a single high safety. Either early first (Hooker or Adams if they see him handling that role) or late first/early second (perhaps Melifonwu?). Once this is in place, the Saleh defense will be able to develop from the back forward.

    1. Hooker would be a good choice if the Niners were stacked with talent and could afford to wait until he is fully healed. However, he may not be available for 6 months, so he would miss the OTAs and TC.

      Niners need immediate help, so Adams, Peppers and Budda Baker may fill the role of an Earl Thomas type in this draft.

      I have mocked Obi Melifonwu several times at 34, but maybe Lynch is satisfied with Tartt as a Kam Chancellor type strong safety.

  13. Jeez Grant, do you work at the NYT or CNN? You really selectively edited that quote to fit your confirmation bias.

    In your review, You quoted Shanny as,

    “starts with the safeties and the corners.”

    The full quote was,

    “starts with the safeties and the corners, being able to hit.”

    You twisted it to make it sound as though the key to the defense is safeties and corners. The real quote was specifically saying Shanahan wants physical DB’s. Seems to me if you ask Shanahan about the key position group in that defense it might be: #1 LB’s and then #2 is a physical safety who can drop into the box as sort of a hybrid safety/LB. I don’t think anything in that quote helps justify anything in your mock drafts.

    1. Grant is so way over his head that it is laughable. His comments remind me of the inevitable fat guy at the end of the bar staring at the TV and making loud pronouncements about the game and what is wrong with the coaching. Empty barrels and etc…

      1. I’ve always called that ‘the Drunk at the End of the Bar.’ You know, the guy who liquored up and drones on-and-on about solutions that’d likely be 100x worse than the c*ck-up you’re dealing with…

  14. One of the key traits Shanahan is looking for is ‘violent’ players. Two of the most violent and physical players in this draft are teammates from Alabama – Reuben Foster and Jonathan Allen. They can’t go wrong with either at #2.

    Regarding Solomon Thomas, I say no more Pac-12 D-linemen.

  15. Why is no one talking about Peppers? Dude would beast in a Seattle 4-3. Slot, outside, single high, in the box, anywhere you need. Immediately upgrade our return game too. Some ppl see a althlete without a position; I see a kid who can do it all. Give me 5 of him and enjoy having the league’s best secondary for the next 10 years.

    Yes, he only had 1 INT. But he played LB (!!) last season, and you can’t suggest he doesn’t have ball skills given his production on offense and special teams… not to mention blowing the doors off his workouts.

    1. Well I will talk about him with you as he is one of about four guys I love in this draft.Yes he is unrefined in some aspects of his game but give him a year with proper NFL coaching and he could develop into a real force in the league -fast ,multi position talented,great character I don’t see at two but at the outside chance of a trade down I would include him in that scenario without hesitation.

  16. I think a lot of people are falling into the lazy habit of attributing Seattle’s defensive success to scheme. It’s not about scheme, it’s about talent. Were the scheme the key you’d see better defenses in Jacksonville and Atlanta. You’d see Seattle not missing a beat when Earl Thomas went down–but when that happened they suffered immensely.

    The key to Seattle is talent and the key to making that particular iteration of the scheme so successful is an incredible, rangy free safety who makes each of the other members of the secondary better.

    Malik Hooker will be the Niners’ pick.

    1. I wouldn’t be mad. That pick would improve CB putting Ward back in the mix too. I just hope Hooker is healthy, durable, and loves the game. The question marks concern me more than does his limited tape.

    2. Only if the 9ers trade down. There hasn’t been a safety picked in the top 10 in the NFL draft in the past 5 years. In 2 of the past 5 years, there wasn’t even a single safety picked in the entire first round. I like Malik but he’s a 1 year starter playing a position that isn’t valued as a top 10 pick. No way in the world I pick a converted basketball player who had 1 good year in college at a non-premium position with the #2 pick.

      1. That’s pre-rookie salary cap logic. If the guy you want is there at 2, you take him at 2. There will be likely be 3 safeties taken in the top 15 this year.

        People love saying “trade down” like this is madden. Who is going to give us good value for #2 this year?

        1. Lots of teams. Every team will be coveting certain players, and will be disappointed when a team ahead of them picks the same player both teams wanted. Spending a later draft pick or 2 will allow a team to leapfrog another team and poach a player.

          There is a history of teams moving up. Just look at last year. Eagles did it twice and the Rams moved up for the first pick.

          Even the Niners did it last year.

          To say there are no players worth trading up for is specious because pundits have been touting this draft as deep in several areas. The Combine showed that there were at least 40 players with elite speed. A 300 lb Guard running 5.10 forty? Wow. 4.5 TEs? great value. There may be 5 DBs taken in the top 20.

          Granted, the QB class is relatively weak, but the Niners really need to fix the defense.

          I do not want the Niners to just trade back, I want them to trade back multiple times. My last mock had them trade back 3 times, and with the accumulated second and third round picks, I filled every weakness on defense while drafting a WR with 4.42 speed, and a decent QB.

        2. I agree with you that trading out of #2 and getting good value is extremely difficult. I didn’t say the 49ers should trade down. I said the only way it’s a good move for the 49ers to select Malik Hooker is if they are able to trade down and get Hooker later in the first round plus some additional picks.

          Also, Safety is not a premier position in the draft. It’s just not. Rookie Salary cap has been in place for several years. Since the inception of the contract slotting for rookies, NFL GM’s just do not draft Safety’s in the top 5 picks:

          2016 – Karly Joseph – Pick 14
          2015 – No Safety Picked in the 1st round
          2014 – Calvin Pryon – Pick 18
          2013 – Kenny Vacarro – Pick 15
          2012 – Mark Barron – Pick 7

          In the last 5 drafts the positions selected with the #2 pick are QB, QB, OT, OT, QB. So guess which positions are considered premium picks in the NFL since the rookie pool was established in the 2011 CBA.

    3. Seahawks defense have been consistently solid for 5 years, and there has been lots of player turnover in that time.

      It may be scheme, but I think it is the coaching, too.

    4. Yeah. And Atlanta showed us that last season and, ultimately, in the Superbowl. They gave their all and slowed the Pats down. But one simple adjustment (going to the shotgun) destroyed them as Brady had the extra half-second to pass he needed.

    5. Wrong…ask Mike Singletary about scheme (or lack thereof). Taking a team from 6-10 to 12-4 absolutely depended on scheme.

  17. FINALLY…..an explanation that is understood……..

    “can your halfback block that Sam linebacker on the ball. And that just depends how big he is. And if he’s a big guy and he’s Ahmad Brooks, then call it a 3-4. If he’s a smaller guy like K.J. Wright, who’s not that small, but you’re going to put your back on him, then call it a 4-3. There’s really no difference. It’s the same type of fronts. 3-4’s, sometimes they one-gap, sometimes they two-gap.”

    …..now all the coaches on the blog can shut up about one-gap, two-gap

  18. If I have to take a guess on who’s drafted #2 based on this article, me thinks it will be Adams or Foster. Between these two, I personally go with Adams based on character, leadership qualities and Foster sounds pretty beat up already. Additional cover corners will be selected later on.

  19. Wrong. It starts with front 7 and ends with the front 7 . If the niners can apply pressure to qb and shut down run, the S and CB will be successful. The reality is the shutdown corner is a white whale. They are only as good as the front 7. In the last 5 years, how many pro bowl corners have signed new contracts with new teams only to be huge disappointments. It is not because their skills magically diminished. It is because the new teams front 7 is not at good as the previous team’s front 7. Look at the niners in the Golden era of Harbaugh. Goldsen, Whitner , carolos rogers et al , were pro-bowlers and highly regarded. But, they were the beneficiaries of one of the best front 7s in football. Upon leaving did they live up to their bloated new contracts.

    Guys, Front 7 , front 7 , front 7. It is all about front 7.

  20. Semantics…still what matters is what happens is what the defensive tackles, defensive ends and linebackers do to apply pressure at the point of attack.

  21. Frustrating to develop my draft crush for pick 2 because so much hinges on medical reports I don’t have access to, and wouldn’t understand if I did.

    – Do we know for sure Hooker will/won’t be ready for the 2018 season? Or if he’s injury prone?
    – Foster’s state of mind might be just right for an aggressive linebacker… or a catastrophe in waiting.
    – Is Lattimore another “fast but fragile” high twitch player prone to hammy issues like his 2015 college season?
    – How many years can Allen play on his arthritic shoulders? It can vary from a whole career, to just one contract. And did his shoulders affect his bench press count?

    In a perfect world, Hooker would be my choice. Lattimore a close 2nd. The others (like Adams) are fantastic players, but any player that allows you to use an 8-man box has a huge impact. Changes the math of the game.

    1. As it stands I’m leaning Thomas, though I’d see the logic in drafting Lattimore, Thomas, Adams and a cast of thousands.

  22. A lot of mocks have the 49ers picking Solomon Thomas. I think Thomas will be a mistake at #2. Either Allen, Foster, or even Derek Barnett (very polished pass rusher) would be better picks.

    1. Derek Barnett is only 259 lbs. Garret and Thomas are 272 and 273. Taco Charlton is 277.

      Do not think Barnett will handle 300 lb linemen very easily.

      Hope the Niners can trade back and select Peppers or Haason Reddick, or trade back even farther and select Taco Charlton, Christiam McCaffrey, John Ross or Zach Cunningham.

    2. Grant had the team picking the speedster from Washington John Ross. I’m more partial to Clemsons’ Mike Williams if it’s WR. Don’t the think Thomas is a good choice at #2 either. Prefer to trade back if possible. Barnett isn’t a bad choice.

  23. Now that Free Agency has had a couple weeks to sort out players, I am looking at the draft board.

    Several players have started to move up.
    Garrett Bolles, Montravius Adams, TreDavius White, Curtis Samuell, Raekwon McMillen, Dalvin Tomlinson, Ethan Pocic, Kevin King, Chidobe Awuzie, Tyus Bowser, Alvin Kamara, JJ Dielman , Gerald Everette and Fabien Moreau.

    Christian McCaffrey may fall to the second round and only one or 2 QBs may be selected in the first round. Zach Cunningham is 25 on the CBS board, while he is 52 at Draftek. Adoree’ Jackson was mocked to the Raiders in the first while at CBS, he is ranked 68.

    It sure is an inexact science.

  24. When you have a pick in the top three you are not picking a pro bowler, you are not picking a occasional all pro, you are choosing a player who you see as a future HOF regardless of position. If Lynch sees a future HOF in this draft he has to choose him. S, CB, RB or OT it doesn’t matter, hopefully we won’t be in this position again for a long time. So next time you are mocking out our # 2 pick think is this a guy I see wearing a yellow coat in his future?

    1. Old Coach, sorry to disagree, but there are no locks on the HOF from the first 3 picks. History has shown way more busts than bronze busts in Canton.

      Jerry Rice was picked 16th. Ronnie Lott was picked 8th. Joe was picked in the third round. Kurt Warner was an UDFA. Terrell Davis was picked in the 6th round.

      I am hoping Lynch can channel ‘Trader Bill’, and recreate another ’86 draft. Niners need bodies, and other than Garrett, there are no projected locks for the Pro bowl in this draft, much less immortality in Canton.

      1. Seb,
        My point wasn’t that the 9ers shouldn’t trade back but if they do they better end up with 2 or 3 extra players who collectively are worth a HOF level player. I didn’t say that HOF players are a lock at #2 but you should be drafting the players you believe are HOF level regardless of position as opposed to drafting for need at #2. imho

        1. Old Coach, maybe I am just strategizing to get the Niners out of their hole the quickest way.

          Maybe the way they will go is slow and steady. They may want an elite player that will fix the defense right away, and getting that Earl Thomas type of player may be the best way to fix the defense.

          If they are looking long term, Malik Hooker may be the best player, since he is not an ACL player and should fully heal before the start of the season.

          If you could help make the selection, who would you like the Niners to pick at 2?

          If they stay at 2, my preference is for King Solomon.

    2. OC,

      Only 14 players who were the top pick in draft have gone to the HoF and none since Orlando Pace in 1997 (Peyton Manning will change that). While first rounders dominate HoF, I don’t think that the top 3 have proved to be that special compared to the rest of the top-10.

      IMO, the only franchise-altering #1 pick so far in this century has been Eli Manning. (Luck could be the second the way Irsay has wasted Luck’s talent is criminal). Other than Eli, the only two other #1 picks this century to even make more than 3 Pro Bowls are Michael Vick and Jake Long. Not exactly franchise-altering players.
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_first_overall_National_Football_League_draft_picks

      This draft (like most others) really has no franchise-altering players (I think Garrett is being over-hyped).

      Except for once-in-a-generation sure bets like Luck, going by historical data, the best approach in any draft is to move back into the late single digits or 10-20 range and draft more players in second round. The problem is suckering some other team to do a trade. I think the Niners should make a tactical sacrifice of a significant amount of draft points and move back for a strategic win.

      I’d think that unless Lynch is Superduperman, there is no way he or any other GM can foresee a HoF player. There are too many factors at play. At least the Niners have a competent front office and specific offensive and defensive systems so that they can draft quality football players, not just a bunch of athletes with dazzling measurables that Baalke used to do.

        1. OC,

          Fournette is the best RB in this draft right out of the gate for sure. But I am not sure of his durability in the league. I have watched only some youtube highlights but he appears to have a punishing running style like AP or Carlos Hyde. I read somewhere that he lacks adequate lateral quickness. Ideally, he would be picked by a team with a power running scheme and with a good run blocking O line. He could be picked at #3 or #13 — this draft is rich in first-round depth.

      1. Except Manning isn’t. He’s a INT machine that got hot, twice, in the playoffs. His QB rating is worse than Smith’s in regular season and the playoffs.

        He is the new face of Trent Dilfer.

        1. Eli has won 2 Super Bowls and been MVP for both, and 4 Pro Bowls. He’s a franchise QB. Who cares what his QB rating?! It’s missing the forest for the trees.

    3. Except it frequently doesn’t work that way. Take the 2013 draft, of the first 16-picks only two have gone to a pro-bowl. Of the picks 17-32, EIGHT have gone to the pro-bowl, including Reid. And only two of the 10 pro-bowlers for the entire round have gone more than once. Even worse, some of them are marginal but got there because of the ‘winning teams get pro-bowlers who don’t deserve it’ thing.

      The best two players of that whole draft are probably Le’Veon Bell (Round 2) and Travis Kelce (Round 3). And looking at early returns for elite stardom out of 2013… Beyond Bell & Kelce, I see maybe one more player who might challenge for a HOF slot someday — Fredrick the OC for the Cowboys.

      OTOH, four of the Top-5 in the 1989 draft are HOFers — Aikman, Barry Sanders, Deion Sanders, and Derrick Thomas. And the whole draft produced 24 pro-bowlers and All-pros, even down into the low rounds.

      And there are still some from that draft class that should be HOFers like Steve Atwater (8 pro-bowls, 3 All Pros), Wesley Walls (5 pro bowls, 4 all-pros) and Steve Wisniewski ((8 pro-bowls, 8 All pros, 90’s all-decade team) (and it’s ****ing crime he’s not in, ****ing selectors)).

      It’s just the reality of the draft. Some drafts are great at just the top. Others are broad, but not elite, others are weak.

      1. Moses,
        I don’t believe you are rating the draft classes as much as you are rating who is doing the drafts. I believe that many of the swing and misses at the top of the draft have to do with teams filling holes and not drafting the BPA (especially at the QB position)

        1. Nope. It’s the way it is. It’s the way it’s always been. Players are not fungible goods to easily measured by the best of pros and they’re certainly uniformly distributed in talent and ages.

          So, it’s easy to compute:

          For any Hall of Fame player drafted in a particular class: Four points. For any non-Hall of Fame player who was elected to multiple Pro Bowls in a particular class: Two points. For any player named to a single Pro Bowl in a particular class: One point.

          1983 picks up 88 points. For comparison’s sake, 1979, not a bad class and almost makes the Top-10, comes in at 46 points. But the difference is 42 points illustrating to us the vast gulf of recognized talent differences between an Honorable mention (#12 draft class) and the #1 class.

          Other great years include 1981. 1996. 1993. 1967. They also handily exceed 1979 which, as I mentioned, was a good draft class.

          Some of those years had only a small number of HOFers, but incredible depth of quality players. Others had less depth but 6 or 7 HOFers, like 1967 that had 7 HOFers.

          And we have the truly horrible. 1992 was down right horrific and not one player is in the HOF or on the HOF track.

          2013, even though a recent class, is considered so bad that none of the players is likely to be HOF worthy by many, though I think there three that have an outside chance IF they keep working hard and nothing bad happens.

          1999. The talent was so poor that Ditka traded most of his draft to get Ricky Williams. The only player on the HOF track is the over-rated Champ Bailey. And what that draft didn’t have in star power, it made up by having no depth and an incredible failure rate in Round 1.

          So, yeah, those of us who’ve been following the draft for decades (since the 1970s for me) kind of recognize this. And, like I said, it’s an easy exercise.

  25. You do need big physical CB’s and a FS who can cover a lot of ground to run this defense effectively so it makes sense for those areas to be singled out. I understand the interest in Thomas and would have no problem with him being the choice, but I’d still take others ahead of him if it were up to me. Here’s how I would rank my choices for the Niners right now:

    Hooker
    Allen
    Thomas
    Lattimore
    Adams

    The more I watch Hooker the more I see an Ed Reed caliber of Safety who would be perfect in this defense. The injury concerns are valid, but he played with the sports hernia, so he’s a tough kid as well as being incredibly talented. As far as natural blue chip ability I’d rank him right there with Garrett.

    1. rocket – “As far as natural blue chip ability I’d rank him right there with Garrett.”

      He’s the best single high safety (prospect) to come around in years. The only thing that stops me from wanting Hooker are injury/durability concerns. Otherwise he’s the ideal need+BPA+position importance choice. Ward has not yet been given the FS job and he has durability issues also.

      Lattimore had(has?) hammy issues. Allen shoulder issues. I think medical reports will go al long way determining the #2 pick.

      1. B2W,

        Seems like there are injury issues with most of the candidates but I don’t think you can take a player off the board or avoid him because of offseason surgery or injury. When selecting a player this high you have to look at the talent and effect the player will have on your team imo. The most impressive player I have watched during my hack analysis has been Hooker and that includes Garrett. Doesn’t mean I’d take him over Garrett; just means his impact on games was even more impressive to me this season than Garrett.

        1. Rocket – “The most impressive player I have watched during my hack analysis has been Hooker and that includes Garrett”

          Hooker’s ability to close is mind blowing. Scouts say he has the best ball skills of any free safety prospect they have ever scouted.

          And the position importance of the SHS (Single High Safety) has grown leaps and bounds. SHS should have a separate position name from SS and FS. Any player that allows a team to play 8-in-the-box has massive value.

          1. Yeah, I posted last week that there’s a good chance the team would follow Pete Carroll’s lead in Seattle. Pete’s first big pick was Thomas over improvements via drafting to the DL or LB. If this seems a reasonable proposition, then Hooker should be the pick. But his injury history and only one year of play do not make him a no-brainer pick.

        2. Garrett is a better player than Hooker and his impact on games has been much greater than Hookers. It’s not close. The lengths teams went to game plan against Garrett were absolutely crazy. To the point of taking up 2-3 players on every play in games and shutting down entire sections of the playbook. Without a shadow of a doubt, Garrett’s impact on games is unparalleled by any player in this draft. Add to it that Garrett is a high character guy who has the motor of JJ Watt and that is why he will be the #1 pick. Malik Hooker has been impressive but he’s a converted basketball player with 1 year of starting experience on a team full of defensive talent that didn’t play in the SEC. Lance Zierlein for whom I have a ton of respect said basically the same thing about Hooker that was said about Alex Smith coming out of college. Eventually he will be very good but he will struggle early due to his inexperience. I like MH but not at #2.

          1. You are entitled to your opinion but I disagree. Garrett played most of the season with a bad ankle and didn’t have the same impact he did the previous year. It was not a great season for him but his talent being as overwhelming as it is will be enough to get him taken first overall. I would take him first too, but for me Hooker was the better player this season. You don’t draft a player based on how good you think he will be his rookie year. You take him based on how good you think he’ll be over the course of his career. I don’t see Hooker struggling as his natural instincts are fantastic, but even if he did, it wouldn’t matter to me. It’s all about long term production.

            1. If I had the first 22picks in the first round to draft sure fire 10 year starter/All Pro at every position on offense & defense when I’m running Shannys version of the WCO and the Seahawks 4/3 defense, I’m picking the Safety at around 14-17. Obviously every position is important but in terms of ability to impact a game a Safety falls below a ton of positions. It’s like the value chart in Chess. A Rook is more valuable than a pawn. That’s just how it is.

              1. Houston I (along with most here) prefer Garrett over Hooker because of position importance. I think edge and (true) shut down corners are key to building a defense.

                But SHS is growing into a close third in position importance. And Hooker is outstanding. Who wins the position relative dominance discussion I don’t care. It’s clear Hooker is great at a spot that should be listed separately from FS and SS.

              2. Injuries are the one thing holding me back. I haven’t seen the medical reports, and wouldn’t know how to understand them if I did. That’s what’s keeping me from committing to him.

              3. Hooker has less football wear than most draft-eligible players, having played only two seasons of high school football and only 13 games as a college starter. Yet, he’s already had to have a double hernia procedure, and bone shaved from his hip to repair a torn labrum in him shoulder. It’s not know whether it was an anterior(prevalent) or posterior(portends future problem in opposite shoulder).

              4. The SHS in this defense has a tremendous impact on a game. Just look at the Seahawks without Thomas for an indication of how important it is. Having said that, how you rate the importance of the position shouldn’t factor into who the Niners take anyway. Drafting based on positional priority or need is a sure fire way to pass up better talent elsewhere.

              5. Meh, I’m just not into Hooker I guess. If I’m going defense with the 1st round pick I’m going Lattimore or Foster before Hooker. I’d even go Jamal Adams before Hooker. My reasoning is Hooker was a 1 year wonder who seemed to come out of nowhere. Those guys scare me. I totally get why people are enamored with the guy but I wouldn’t take him in the top 10. I think the 49ers have serviceable guys in the defensive backfield. The LB crew is abysmal and they need serious help at WR even with the FA adds. Thats not even mentioning QB because I’m assuming the 49ers don’t like any QB in this draft at #2. If Lynch takes Hooker at #2 I won’t be upset because they deserve the benefit of the doubt right now. If they take Hooker and he turns into an All-Pro then remind me of this post and I’ll buy you a beer. If he turns out to be a bust, you pay for game tickets for me. I’m really hoping the 49ers somehow figure out a way to come out of this draft with a great WR like Ross or Williams. That would be awesome.

              6. Since you mentioned Thomas, my middle son is a Jr in high school. He’s trying to play college ball so I connected him with a pretty serious workout group where he was working out with guys who are FA in the NFL or college guys getting ready for the combine. Thomas’s family lives in the area so he came in with his nephews for their workout. I CAN NOT stand the guy on the field but he was a really great guy in person. Really down to earth and just a nice person – even after I told him I was a 9er fan.

              7. A beer vs game tickets…sounds fair.

                You make some solid points Houston and there is always going to be disagreement in regards to prospects. Hooker just looks like an elite talent with natural instincts to me.

                Cool story about Thomas. There are some really good people around the league who you want to hate but can’t. I’m that way in regards to Pete Carroll. Hate that he coaches the Seahawks but admired him when he was at SC.

              8. @rocket

                “Having said that, how you rate the importance of the position shouldn’t factor into who the Niners take anyway. Drafting based on positional priority or need is a sure fire way to pass up better talent elsewhere.”

                Really? Do you think the Packers or Falcons would spend a top 10 pick on a QB? Do you think the Steelers would spend a top 10 pick on a WR or RB? Every team factors in position importance, position priority, and need into their picks in the high 1st round. You’re statement is true when picks are less sure outside the 1st round. With top 10 picks position importance/Need are always factored in. If they weren’t, then the last 5 drafts wouldn’t have had only QB or OT selected with the 2nd pick.

              9. Just remember I have to buy a plane ticket to make good on that bet so, yeah, it seems fair to me.

              10. Houston,

                Those are extreme examples of teams that have probowlers at a position. That is not the situation the Niners find themselves in. When you have as many holes as they do, position importance is not a priority. Getting the best player available is imo.

    2. Rocket, I agree re Hooker being one of the most talented in this draft. As I have said before, the Seahawks style D is highly reliant on a FS with excellent range, and that’s Hooker.

      However, a couple of things give me pause. The injuries are one. Never a good thing to be needing fairly serious surgery after just one year as a starter. But that’s certainly not a deal breaker for me, and to be honest his injury history scares me less than Lattimore’s. The main thing giving me pause is Ward. I think he can be very good at FS. He is one of the more talented players on the team and I would like to see him given a shot at what I think is his most natural position. With so many holes on the team I think they should focus on other areas.

        1. As I said, injuries are a concern but not a deal breaker. Yes Ward has had injuries, but he’s one of their most talented players and FS seems his best fit in this D. I would like to see him given a shot at it. If they draft Hooker won’t be.

          1. Ward has an injury history and only weighs 193 pounds. The hits he would have to give as a safety probably would take more of a toll on his body than the people he’d hit.

            1. Good point Grant. That’s a concern about Hooker too. Hooker as the last line of defense against the run could look like Merton Hanks in his final season.

              Hooker is not a complete player like Earl Thomas. Add that to the medical red flags and I wouldn’t touch him at #2.

            2. He isn’t a hitter. Expecting him to be a hitter is unrealistic.

              He was a starting safety for three years in college without any serious injuries. As a pro he has only had one injury that was due to contact.

              1. Hooker isn’t a hitter either. That’s why the comparisons to Earl Thomas and Ed Reed are inaccurate.

              2. Its a good point #80. An under appreciated aspect of both Thomas and Reed is/ was their ability to make big hits when they weren’t in position to make a play on the ball. However, it is worth noting that many of those big hits come when receivers are pretty much defenseless. Ward put some “big hits” on in college in the same situations, but he isn’t a big hitter in general. I’m sure Hooker can as well. More to the point though they are both rangy defenders that are very good at getting into position to make a play on the ball.

                One area I think Ward is far better than Hooker is in his tackling. Ward is an excellent form tackler. He misses very few tackles.

              3. #80,

                Ed Reed isn’t a HOF lock for his hitting ability. It is for his coverage and playmaking ability. Hooker can tackle, but his talent is playing the ball and that is what we need most from the FS in this defense.

              4. rocket,

                I agree with your points. I’m just pointing out that Ed Reed was a much better prospect than Hooker.

                Hopefully our D won’t have to rely on the FS to tackle much against the run. But Hooker could also struggle at bringing down larger TEs.

      1. Scooter,

        As I said above, I agree the injuries are a valid concern, but I don’t think they should stop the Niners from taking him if he is the best player on their board. I don’t know if that’s the case or not, but imo you draft the talent and fit regardless of the injury the player may be rehabbing from.

        Good point about Ward, but I think Hooker would be a big step up from anything Ward can provide at the position. This kid is incredibly gifted and one of the best coverage safeties I’ve ever seen.

        Ultimately I don’t want the focus to be anywhere other than who the best player available is. This roster needs talent pretty much everywhere. Whether it’s Thomas, Hooker or somebody else, there has to be a big time impact from whoever winds up getting his name called.

        1. I think we are on the same page re Hooker. In fact I mentioned this to you about him previously when you were all over needing to draft Allen. :-)

          But I also think Ward could surprise you. He isn’t the same athlete (though still very good in his own right), but he has better football smarts. I think he can be an excellent FS in this system. And he showed in college he can be a ball hawk when playing with the game in front of him.

          1. I’m still all for drafting Allen too ;)

            It’s to the point where I’m watching a lot of players over and over again because there are 4-6 that I could see the Niners using their pick on. Of that group Hooker just jumps off the screen the more I watch him. He is an elite talent that could wind up being a perennial pro bowler. Not sure I can say that about some of the others.

            1. That’s what I like about you guys, you never fail to hedge a bet or selection :) How’s the back doing, by the way?

              1. Cubus,

                The back is doing a lot better, thanks for asking. Rehabbing like a madman and getting stronger every day.

            2. Yeah, I think every one of Hooker, Allen, Thomas, Adams and Foster jump off the screen with their play making ability, though each in different ways. Of those guys, I think the safest picks are Allen and Adams. Highest upside are Hooker and Thomas.

              1. I agree Scooter. I forget to put Foster on the list earlier but he’s another player with great tape obviously.

  26. PFT article mulling Browns’ chances of trading for Jimmy G. Michael Smith thinks it can happen if the Browns offer:
    #1
    #12
    #33
    OLT Joe Thomas
    &
    QB Cody Kessler
    (What? Better kick in 3 Ferrari Enzo’s, 2 turtle doves, and a partridge in a pear tree)

    smh

      1. Matt Cassel 2.0? Based on what? Because he backed up Brady? Young backed up Montana and went on to be a MVP. Aaron Rodgers is one of the best QBs in the league after backing up Favre.

        Why didn’t Young and Rodgers end up like Bono and Flynn? Because they are different players. I’m not saying Garoppolo will be Young or Rodgers, but saying he is Cassell 2.0 is based on absolutely nothing.

  27. Silly season.
    Prospects are NOT moving up and down the boards. Gibberishly self-promoting media types (that’s not a shot at Grant) and a bunch of amateurs are hedging and changing their bets on who will get drafted where. The team professionals already know what they think and how they (the individual team) ranks players overall and as system- and attitudinal fits.
    Different draft ‘scouting services’ have different rankings? No kidding. So do different GMs, but their boards are firmed up by now on the top 5 rounds. Teams are considering Rds 6&7 and udfa prospects these days.
    Oh, and it’s Pants On Fire Season as well.

    1. BT – Great point. The “move up and down the boards” is an illusion created by the fact scouts grade their top prospects well before the media does.

      A player recently on a draft pundits radar has already been on the radar of scouting departments for months.

      The biggest (real) move up/down draft boards this late in the game are from medical reports, off field incidents or terrible one-on-one interviews.

      But most of the talent/fit assessment’s already happened. Player rankings can change a bit, but not dramatically.

    2. Good points BT. The game tape is the most important scouting tool followed by the personal meetings and background researches. The combine plays a very small part in how teams stack their draft boards, but seriously affects how fans and draftniks view prospects. Some of the dialed in guys like Mayock, Kiper, DJ and Brooks are also influenced by what team sources and scouts tell them which is why their rankings change so drastically over time. Mayock does his later so not as much change in his but the others change dramatically.

  28. You know, the Rams owner had to essentially finance his own stadium. San Diego wouldn’t approve any taxpayer assistance to build a new stadium. Oakland’s Ronnie Lott deal was a bit too little, and way too late.
    So those wacky, ultra-Liberal coastal California voters won’t approve a taxpayer subsidized stadium deal (Santa Clara’s municipal experience a cautionary note)? No kidding, eh? We’re the fiscally conservative ones? Really?
    See ya Mark Davis; you’ll be fine; the league is still the Golden Goose. The voters and Mayor of Oakland did fine imo.

  29. Why Raiders and other sport franchises will fail in Las Vegas. Average time of occupancy is less then 12 years, meaning the average household lives in Vegas for less then 12 years. Local population has either moved there with their own home team established or will leave before adipting the Raiders as their team. Id also be curious to see what % of their fan demographic works on Sunday in that town

    1. I think it will be successful. Vegas is already a prime vacation destination that many of the California fans love. There will be a huge LA/Bay area contingent that will follow them there and buy season tickets. That doesn’t even take into account the local fans who will buy and the Casino’s who will buy to give away to clients and high rollers. I don’t see any way this doesn’t work out favorably for the Raiders or the league.

      1. Rocket: I agree with the points you’ve made, but think that Brandon Marshall made a good point about young players and Sin City.

        “Marshall said that he thinks Las Vegas is a great city, but that the things that gave it the nickname of Sin City could prove problematic for young players.

        “It can be a tough place for a player coming out of college,” Marshall said, via the Palm Beach Post. “It can be overwhelming for a young player.”

        http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2017/03/27/brandon-marshall-vegas-could-overwhelm-young-players/

        1. He’s right but young players are impressionable and will have a tough time acclimating to most cities they go to. The Raiders will need to have a good player resource staff in place no doubt.

          1. It took the Saints many years to learn to adjust to the nocturnal seduction of New Orleans, an infamous all-night party town. Back in the early 80’s I tended bar in the French Quarter and those young players would hang out until 4 and 5 am, drinking and whoring themselves in that adult fantasy land. The team had disastrous seasons, getting it together only to fall apart again. Some of those players, who I knew personally, incurred injuries that ended their careers quite suddenly and it was all tied to the deep-night snortin’ and drinkin’. Only with the arrival of Payton and Brees did that culture really begin to change.

        2. You can get yourself in trouble anywhere. And there are a lot of places with more exposure than the sanitized, corporate sin of Las Vegas. Which includes most of the big cities in the North East.

          But people like Haynesworth and PacMan Jones couldn’t keep out of trouble in Nashville. And Nashville is (I lived there for 20 years) a big ‘small town’ kind of place. Yet they did it.

      2. That’s been my sense all along. Cali fans may not be that big on season tix if they only attend 2 home games per season, but tix will be bought by local entities for re-sale. Many visiting fans will choose the Vegas Game for their away foray. The tv-only fan base won’t care; NorCal, SoCal, NorNev, around the country and Mexico. Ultimate payoffs are based on tv revenue.
        Even in Oakland they had fans flying in regularly from Redding, Reno, LA, Fresno. LV not that much different.

      3. Ever been trapped in the glut of traffic on Fridays and Sundays between Las Vegas and the greater SoCal Region? I think the SoCal Raider fan base will be a significant element in bringing some stability to a Raider presence in Vegas. While not large, there’s an NFL fan base in St. George, UT–and the city and the number of fans continues to grow. Check a map…St. George is not far from Vegas. Check St. George growth rates and demographics too. I went to many Raider games in the 70s. Leaving for a second time will be tough.

        1. Yep I’ve spent way more time in Barstow than should be reasonably acceptable ;)

          Good point about the proximity to UT as well.

          1. My in laws used to live in the Hysperia, Apple Valley area, I feel your pain Rocket! I think that is why I took to the kids to Disneyland so much and why I do not have money now!

        2. St George is only about two to and half hours away from Las Vegas. Boring Drive but Zion National park is Past St . George and very beautiful! Good Walks and Hikes!

    2. The Raiders will essentially be playing “road” games every week as fans from opposing teams flock in for the weekend.

      1. And the Rams, in LA, have done that since the 1950s. There are more 49er, Raider and Cowboy fans in LA than Rams fans. That’s why even when they were winning, they couldn’t draw a crowd.

        In fact, they drew 10K more/season, despite being a far, far, far worse team in St. Louis than they did in LA/Anaheim when they were a playoff team.

  30. Every time the Raiders get it right, they blow themselves up with something like this.
    This franchise seems to be doomed.
    Sad day for Oakland.

  31. San Francisco 49ers work out Clemson QB Deshaun Watson

    By Dan Parr
    College Football 24/7 Editor
    Published: March 27, 2017 at 04:18 p.m.

    Lynch also raved about Kizer at the NFL Scouting Combine.

    The news of the Watson workout might be the latest signal that Lynch is serious enough in his interest in the QBs that he’s still evaluating whether any of them are worthy of the 49ers’ selection at No. 2 overall.
    http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap3000000795507/article/san-francisco-49ers-work-out-clemson-qb-deshaun-watson

    1. *With needs across the board, it behooves the 49ers to at least keep up the appearance that they’re open to any and all options at No. 2 — doing so will only help their leverage in any potential trade talks leading up to the draft.

      Above Source: NFL.Com

    2. Or worthy of the 38th overall. Also helps to pump up the QBs to make 2 more attractive for trade up teams.

  32. NFL.com’s draft expert Lance Zierlien posted his latest mock draft

    TE

    Alabama

    (Projected trade with Panthers) Of course the 49ers have other pressing needs, but Howard has tremendous upside and would be a perfect fit for Kyle Shanahan’s play-action passing attack.

      1. Yes, Moses.

        49ers doing their due diligence with visits of QBs, TEs and DEs making the press…Great publicity for a trade down.

  33. 49ers met with Western Michigan pass rusher Keion Adams

    The 49ers need some help on defense, and they recently met with a project option.

  34. Despite all the hype around Solomon Thomas, if the Niner braintrust wants to beef up the secondary, this is a very good draft to do it. Assuming Lynch doesn’t trade down, I’d say Hooker would be the guy to pick at #2. That’s really high for a S, but Malik looks to be the best candidate to play the deep FS position. Another later pick that wouldn’t surprise me is the big kid from U-Conn, Melifonwu. He’s got the size, athleticism and versatility Saleh would welcome to make his secondary bigger, faster and tougher. Melifonwu played everywhere in U-Conn’s secondary. WRT the DL, I think Lynch will draft a stud DT…there are enough guys to play DE already, IMHO.

  35. One of the things that Shan didn’t address here is which flavor of this 4-3 under, (5-2), the Niners are going to play. Saleh has had equal experience with both the heavy version, (Bradley), and the quick version, (Carrol & Quinn). Kyle was just at a place where they almost won a SB using the quick. Saleh’s last job was with Bradley…. Signing Smith to play “on the ball” would indicate that they’re going quick. But if they have him as the stack/WILL guy, that looks more like the heavy.
    As far as CBs are concerned, it would be quite a leap to say that Kyle’s saying that it’s all about CBs means that they’re going to draft a CB. He didn’t express any dissatisfaction with the guys we have. Robinson’s size is as good as any of the CBs that Grant’s proposed, and all you have to do is be able to cover to be the primary cover CB. Butler is only 5’11” … Ward’s size. Dontae has size and I don’t get why he fell off the grid…

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