The specs on what 49ers want to see at NFL Scouting Combine

San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan wears Salute to Service clothing before an NFL football game between the 49ers and the New York Giants in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday, Nov. 12, 2017. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Don’t merely watch the NFL Scouting Combine. Watch it how John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan will watch it.

When they’re in Indianapolis next week, they’ll search for specific players who play specific positions and have specific physical traits the 49ers desire. These are the positions and traits you should watch for, too.

Click here to read the rest of my column.

This article has 247 Comments

  1. Good decisions are based on knowledge, not on numbers, and perfect numbers, like perfect players are very rare. It’s a nice framework with which to help decide between evenly graded players, but I can’t believe it’s the be all and end all. With maybe one exception, the cornerback position….

  2. Niners need first, OL players and second, corners. After that it’s a running back or a line backer or two, maybe a safety. Everything else is gravy…

  3. “Shanahan typically drafts medium-sized quarterbacks — between 6-2 and 6-4, and between 215 and 225 pounds. And they’re usually mobile. They run the 40-yard dash in faster than 5 seconds, and the 3-cone drill in faster than 7.1 seconds.”

    Garoppolo: 6-2, 225 pounds, 4.97 40-yard dash, 7.04 3-cone drill.

    1. Interesting observation.
      I’ve often thought that was the sweet spot. To tall and they are not mobile enough.
      Even Kaep, while a freak athlete wasn’t especially elusive in condensed areas like the pocket. Wilson is shorter, but is the most elusive QB I have ever seen in the pocket.

      1. I would also suggest that tall (6-4 & up) QB’s often have a slower throw windup time + taking longer to reach “get-away speed” (think of it as a 0-60 accel. time type thing) — this was an issue with Kap, imo…

  4. Won’t get into game breakdowns until free agency is well underway. This is going on mostly what I hear and read about the players.

    Linebacker – Tremaine Edmunds or Roquan Smith

    Roquan Smith is said to be the more plug-n-play linebacker. More polished and instinctive. Athletic in his own right.

    Tremaine Edmunds is a 19 year old physical phenom. He offers flexibility in that he can play Sam if Foster and Malcolm Smith are good to go. He also has potential as an edge rusher. Failing that, his natural off ball linebacker skills raise the floor of choosing him.

    As of now I’d take Edmunds. If Foster’s booted off the team I could lean R. Smith

    I liked what I saw in Kyle Lauletta. 6′ 2.5″, 217 lbs
    Gets rid of the ball quickly. I could see the Patriots picking him in the late 2nd. But if he somehow falls I could see Shanahan keeping three quarterbacks on the roster.

    Running Back
    Wondering how Shanahan feels about Matt Breida and Joe Williams. Will Williams come into April’s offseason workouts in shape?

    This draft is rumored to be ho-hum at the top for receivers. But its also rumored to have nice depth for capable big guys.

    These “this draft is weak on… but strong on…” often turn out to be wrong. I’ll be checking out some of Waldman’s RSP breakdowns on big receivers before the draft.

    Guard and Corner
    Free agency will tell us alot about the 49ers draft plans at these two spots. If its a guard not named Nelson I’m hoping its in a trade-back scenario like the one in Grant’s mock.

    1. Agree on Lauletta, Brodie. If he drops, I think the 49ers should take him. He’s compared to Jimmy G and it wouldn’t hurt to have a similar type of QB who could learn behind Jimmy G. You never know what might happen, so this could be a good QB contingency plan IF Lauletta drops far enough.

      1. Looking (way) down the road… if the 49ers are successful, they won’t be having any top ten draft picks for a long time. They’ll have to manufacturer draft capital. If Shanahan showcases a backup quarterback during junk time or injury sub, they could fetch some high picks.

    2. Well stated Brodie,
      I agree with your take on Smith and Edmunds. Smith us better at this point but hes had more years to hone his skills. And while, I haven’t seen the pass rush skills yet from Edmunds, for a 19 year old he is extremely impressive. Good in pass pro, and while his instincts need to be honed he’s always around the ball, has a great closing burst and isn’t afraid to mix it up.
      As to interior linemen this is one of the best classes I have seen. Wynn, Price, and Hernandez all look to be impressive prospects that could be had in the late first to early second.
      The edge class is also intriguing but few are polished. Armstrong, Davenport and Key will all compete to show off who is the friekiest athlete. Hercules needs to show he has the hands, agility and bend to play outside. And Landry meanwhile needs a med eval to show he’s finally fully healthy.

      1. Shoup, I like Key but his off field and injury history scare me.

        Edmunds wasn’t used as an edge much, but his length, explosion and closing speed practically beg “try me as an edge rusher.” Only seen a few edge rushes of him. One had a quick first step dip move under the OT. But that’s an extremely small sample.

        Niners have picks 59, 70 and 73 for day two. 59+73 will move to the early 2nd (pending trade partner).
        That’s why I like Grant’s trade back mock.

        1. Agreed on both counts Brodie.
          As to the trade back, I’ve been wanting to do that for a while (unless Chubb fell by some miracle) as I would like the team to obtain some combination of 3 players (at Edge, Cb, OG and now LB because of Fosters issues) in the first 2 rounds.

  5. Yeah, it would be totally rad if we found a slow , high jumping flanker like Jerry Rice. It is my understanding that he was pretty good back in the day.

    1. Slow. Small school (Mississippi Valley State?). Spent summers with helping his his brick laying dad in the hot sun instead of going to a fancy receivers camp.

      1. B2W
        * Small school sleepers:
        * Daurice Fountain: A small school WR (N. Iowa). 6′ 2″ X 210, under 5.0s X 40 . MVP at the shrine game, not invited to the combine. A projected 3rd day pick
        * Greg Senat: A small school OT (Wagner). 6′ 6″ X 290, under 5.0s X 40. Played well in the Shrine game, Invited to the combine. A raw 7th Rd. special team prospect, will need to add weight, strength and good coaching.

  6. From Niner Nation

    I really had fun reading Grant Cohn ‘s article with all of those size and speed requirements, I began to think he might double as Baalke. Who cares if the guy can play football as long as he has perfect measurables.

    Grants getting some notoriety among his peers.

    1. I’m pretty sure the physical attributes Grant listed are assuming they are good football players first. Shanahan does have a physical type for each and every position, provided the prospects are football players first and foremost.

  7. Liked this article better grant . Right up to the point you slammed cjb , a rookie , and said we in the market for a quarter back. After JG signed ,and cjb .

    Don’t think it’s high on the priority list ,and stop being mean , if an athlete is subpar ,you can say you think they need the up grade ,but saying he did nothing , well like you said he survived , I say to learn from another season , and take on some JG training.

    I won’t scrap him for last season , Everyone was still learning the offense . Yes even him ( as a rookie )
    Do you think we saw cjb at his best , or how bout this , with more than 3 seconds to throw .

    Shanny far from done with him .

    As for the other positions I think you got most right . But what about offensive tackle? Joe’s getting up there, right tackle only for another year ?

    1. 49since78

      I also like CJB…but as we all know, “it’s a business” …CJB may not make it with the niners, but he may make it with another team because of the improvements, and the character that he showed as a niner. That the niners stumbled upon Jimmy G , was a stroke of luck…Also, I have concerns about the longevity of one of my favorites…Joe Staley; He’s a large part of our soul….

  8. Just a thought to throw out there.

    New system ,for offense . Everyone learning a new system .the team ,per say .
    How long does it take to learn this new system ,for the team ? 6-8 weeks ?
    A little longer ? ( Before they jell ,so to speak)
    So when JG arrives ,most if not the majority, know there assignments,but have physical failings ( ie offensive guard)

    Grant don’t understand why your so critical of certain players . ?

    So I ask again ,grant .
    How would you fix / or do Jon Lynches job better . ( RF)

  9. Wow Grant, Well done. This is a really really good breakdown. One component of the draft that goes somewhat unnoticed are the medical checks. Guys have MRI’s and X Rays and are rigorously checked against their injury histories. I think Shanny and Lynch may also have a profile on the acceptable types of injuries they would overlook. Again, nice job. This is an excellent piece of work.

    1. look at CJ’s performance in the 4th qtr of 2nd SEA game last season– he was lighting it up in garbage time, till he got put out of game and the JimmyGExperience took hold of us…

      1. Yep – Conveniently forgotten. I think our QB room is much better than what it was with Alex and Kap.
        CJ will only get better behind Jimmy G and learning from Shanahan.

  10. I propose a trade with the Colts (3rd pick), swap first round picks, one of our third round picks and Garnett and Armstead. We get Chubby.

  11. Curious where all these qualifying numbers came from. No interview quotes mentioned, no reference to “info on background “.
    Just looking at past guys he’s worked with? A bit circumstantial since Shanny wasn’t the guy pulling the trigger on all those draft picks, although he surely did have input. What other factors went into the picks at Cleveland, Washington and Atlanta? Might be relevant.
    Certainly I believe that all GMs & HCs have their size & skillsets by position in mind. Baalke did, but……..
    Grant might be 100% correct, but he makes some firm assertions that are unattributed.
    Are these supposed requirements tethered to something, or just spinning off from his kitchen table to mine? The parameters seem reasonable, but are they rigid requirements in JL and KS minds? Maybe. That could be their template, and it’s ok to watch with that in mind.

  12. I’ve gone back and forth on the 49ers bringing Hyde back. Here are my top 5 potential RB’s the 49ers can add during the draft (*subject to change):

    1) Saquon Barkley, Penn State, but that’s a pipe dream
    2) Ronald Jones II – USC
    3) Sony Michel – Georgia
    4) Mark Walton – Miami
    5) John Kelly – Tennessee

    Honorable mention:

    6) Royce Freeman – Oregon
    7) Nick Chubb – Georgia
    8) Rashaad Penny – San Diego State

    1. 49reasons,
      Some people have been touting Mark Walton and with good reason because he is very good.
      I’m not convinced that he would be a good fit and this is my reason.
      1. I believe that Breida is the same type of runner. Some talkingheads have compared Walton to Frank Gore but I don’t see it. Gore was a slashing runner that had a penchant for getting small in traffic and using his powerful legs to squeeze through. Gore also had the ability to make one cut and attack the defense.

      Walton has nice abilities but he is more of a step and pop running back which means he takes a step toward the LOS and then pops it out to find a running lane. Defensive cords in the NFL will close those gaps that Walton is used to popping out to which means he will find himself dancing behind the LOS more often than not.

      2. I’m interested in Walton’ 40 and cone agility excersises. His college speed looked good but the pros have LB’s that will be able to stay with him. Breida looks more explosive and has very good speed.
      I believe that Shanahan will look for a bigger RB that compliments Breida. If Joe Williams can be that player then we can give defenses a change of pace to plan for.
      Bigger RB’s like Chubb, Penny, Freeman and Ballage could provide the one two punch that the defense would need to account for.
      We all will have a much better view by next week on how much of this shakes out.

      1. AES, perhaps you are right on Walton. I agree with the idea of drafting a RB with a little more size, adding some size to their stable of backs, but I like Walton because he plays bigger than he measures. He’s extremely physical for a 205 lb halfback.

        1. 49reasons,
          I agree, Walton looks like a little dynamo, but if you look at Breida’ college game film you’ll see that he broke many tackles as well. I see Breida giving us the same thing Walton can give us. Also, inserting a player like Isaiah Wynn (if we draft him) will make our current RB’s look pretty darn good (ala Michel and Chubb).
          I still believe Shanahan will look for a “banger” type RB that can get the tough yards by attacking the LOS.
          I hope Shanahan can implement some more plays for Jyusce because he can provide the “bang” effect imo.
          As my ol’ friend Hofer 67 used to say, “all arrows up!”

          I can’t wait to see what our starting lineup will look like in September.

          1. Nick Chubb would be in my top 3, tied with Jones II, if it weren’t for his knee injury which knocks him down considerably for me.

            1. Yep, I forgot to mention Jones. He definitely fits Shanahan’ sweep and cut upfield style. But I doubt Jones will still be on board for us.

              1. Also, I forgot Guice. How many RB’s do you think get drafted in round 1, AES?

                I think it’s possible 3 go in round 1. Barkely, Guice, Jones II, in that order. However, it’s a deep class, so it’s possible Barkley is the only one drafted in the 1st.

              2. 49reason,
                I see the same 3 RB’s you listed as first rd picks. Barkley and Guice are locks and R.Jones ll
                and Sony Michel be drafted late in the 1st.

                My thoughts with the Nick Chubb possibility is that he could be available in the 3-4 rd because teams will shy away due to his bad knee injury a few years ago.
                I can understand the trepidation many here would have with Chubb being not far removed from the experience with Marcus Lattimore, but N.Chubb proved that he has completely recovered from the ugly injury. In Chubb’ very first start after his rehab from his surgically repaired knee he rushed for over 200 yards.

                Although Chubb shared the RB duties with Michel in 2017, he still managed over 1300 yds for the season – not bad for a player coming back from the type of injury he suffered.
                The other thing I like about NC (if it’s not obvious by now, lol), is his great character, maturity and team devotion.
                Imo, we could possibly get a good RB in the 3-4 rd, but in Chubb we could have a strong locker room presence (in time) and of course a player that will work hard and play every game as if it’s his last.

              3. That’s true AES. When a player suffers that kind of injury, he’s either forever a bit timid, or in Chubb’s case, a guy who gives it all on every play knowing it could be his last. I really do like the idea of Nick Chubb in the 4th.

                But how high would you draft N. Chubb, AES? is #70, round 3 too soon?

    1. I saw that. Rapoport tweeted 49ers and Browns also expressed interest in a trade. I wonder what the Rams are giving up?

      49ers (and many fans) knew Peters was talented, but we’re (and are) raw about Aldon Smith and Ray McDonald.

      1. Update from Terez Paylor

        The Chiefs have spent the last three weeks on this deal, and only the Rams and 49ers were interested, a source tells me. Multiple sources also tell me the Browns were NOT interested

        Sounds like 49ers almost got Peters. Shows Lynch isn’t messing around trying to find a cornerback. Hope 49er interest jacked up the price for Peters.

    2. the Peters thing looks like the lambs are getting a booster shot of “anti Shanny” + “anti JimmyGExperience” immune response therapy…
      it’ll be interesting to see what JG, Garcon, & the crew can do to the lambs DB corps…

  13. The interest in Peters and Davis indicates that we are desperate for CB help. Davis isn’t the best fit and Peters has baggage. Are we willing to sign the first CB that we can? Is this a sign that they don’t want to use a high draft pick on a corner.

    1. This should be a shock to nobody. But the real takeaway is they are trying to find an experienced solution. CB will very much be a FA (or trade) target.

      I am sure they will also draft one, but probably not 1st round.

      1. Virtually guarantees Johnson will hit FA. He has the size and length, if I’m not mistaken, to interest the 49ers.

        Should the team go after him hard? What if Watkins hits FA as well? Do we take both if possible or prefer one to the other? I think Watkins would be a good pickup as he is still young – only issue is he needs to stay healthy. I don’t pretend to know his injury history, but if it was due at least in part to QBs throwing to him where he had a higher probability of getting hurt, perhaps Jimmy G could help in that area.

        1. Johnson first. They really do need a CB. Or two, for depth.

          Watkins would be a luxury signing for me. Nice addition. Not really needed though – can get a guy like John Brown for less. Though if the 49ers get a healthy Watkins that could mean good things.

      2. Agreed Scooter. I don’t see them drafting a CB before the 3rd. Oh well, we won’t get one of my draft crushes (Jackson).


        Yes on Johnson. My plan B would be Talib.

        WRT Watkins, yesterday I read that he struggled to get seperation last year, but he was drawing double coverage which opened things up for his teammates. Goff had a 90+ rating when throwing contested balls his way. As BT mentioned, Watkins was playing hurt, but he was playing hurt again. Will he ever be healthy? There’s a lot to like about Watkins and a lot of question marks. I’m glad I’m not the one making the decision. And while we’re showing interest in pro CBs, most of the draft talk has been about WRs. I’m starting to think we won’t sign any FA WRs and will draft a WR in Rd 2 or 3. Ateman maybe?

        1. Sounds like a WR will be drafted, but that won’t preclude a FA addition as well. They could do with upgrading any of the WR spots after the first three guys.

          1. MWD

            Au Contraire…If you play a game for millions of dollars, and you play it against fellow players who are 300+ lb players Just like you…it’s expected that you don’t get any special favors, and you take your ball and go home…THAT’S not funny at all dude…take up ballet…

              1. Mid.,
                While I do not condone poking fun at someone who shows signs of being mentally unstable, what Martin did in the wake of the horrible tragedy of two weeks ago is off the rails.
                As a person who has been bullied himself, Martin should have used the opportunity to be a voice of positivity rather than take the action he took. Hope he receives the help he needs.

              2. I wholeheartedly agree AES, but the problem is that is what someone who battles depression and anxiety is capable of doing.

    1. That is scary. One of my friends has a kid at Harvard-Westlake, and another friend has a nephew there (his nephew has a lot to live up to; my friend starred on their football team before becoming a running back at Cal).

  14. Wish the Niners could have gotten Peters. Best ball hawk in the game now playing for a division rival. Will be interesting to see what the Rams gave up.

      1. I hear they initially wanted Quinn as part of the deal. If they wanted a player of that calibre in return then the draft picks they got instead are probably decent.

        1. Could be but there was also a belief that the Rams might cut Quinn for salary cap relief so the Chiefs may have asked about him based on that assumption.

    1. Barrows put into words what I’m thinking with regards to Peters (even though I admit to wanting him in the 2015 draft):

      “However, you have to ask why the Chiefs would want to part ways with a young and talented player so early. Would the 49ers, a team that is still rebuilding, want to give up a draft pick for another team’s headache? He also has only one year remaining on his current contract.”

      Would the 49ers have the locker room “maturity” to channel Peters correctly?

      1. Agree with Barrows main points. Peters has 2018 with 2019 as an option year on his contract.

        He’s cheap this season at $1.7m. 2019 option year garners $9.5m. $5.6m average over two seasons.

        1. If he is traded, is his new team allowed to exercise the 5th year option? Or does the trading team have to do it first as a way of making the trade more palatable.

          1. I thought the 5th year option carried over for trades, but that was an assumption. I don’t see why not.

            If the 5th year option isn’t transferrable, it increases the likelihood the Rams did a sign-n-trade.

            Hopefully trade details will emerge soon.

  15. He has maturity issues but he hasn’t gotten into trouble off the field and he is one of the best cbs in the game. I’d trade for that. He is signed for 2 more years once they exercise the 5th year option.

    1. True, but this past season Peters was flagged three times for unsportsmanlike conduct and twice for unnecessary roughness. He also had run-ins with the coaching staff and ejected his own self after throwing a ref’s flag.

    2. He is a problem. Why else would KC give up on him? Money? Attitude? Probably both. It just makes no sense why KC woukd give up on a young corner back when they are so important in the NFL.

      1. KC got a cb in the Alex trade so that they could move on from Peters. It seems that they were determined to do so. Draw your own conclusions. High maintenance guy on a one year deal. KC wasn’t going to offer him big bucks next year, so they got some return for him this year.
        But his teammates did seem to like him.

  16. Driving up the price on a division rival?

    “There’s been a report that the 49ers were the other team in on this,” Garafolo said on the NFL Network show Up to the Minute. “I don’t get the sense that their interest in this was that strong, that it was basically like a showdown between them and the Rams. I mean, I’m sure the Chiefs loved the fact that, at the very least, the Rams were aware that the 49ers were in on this one but I don’t think that the 49ers really pushed this one too far down the road.

    “There was just a little bit of interest in him, kind of lukewarm at best from what I am told, and not willing to go high on the compensation. And that’s why he wound up with the Rams.”

  17. Shanahan/Lynch accomplished what’s known as the most difficult task in all of the major sports.
    They acquired a franchise QB, year one, w/o the benefit of a full offseason to establish a front office whose job it is to find a QB in the 1st place.

    This season’s outlook is galatically easier w/o having to also clean your house of 87% of the other GM’s losers and a front office ready to roll for an entire offseason.

    Anyone think Shanny can’t plug most of the major needs with the NFL’s highest bankroll ready to unload on free agents, 5 of your 1st 4 picks within the 1st 4 rds, including a top 10 ?

        1. I’d be interested to see the breakdown of 40+ catches Goodwin had amongst the 3 QB’s that threw those passes…did JG, Hoyer, or CJ have more of these 40+ Goodwin plays– or were they roughly equal?

          1. Me too. I do know that Marquise was a much more complete receiver after Jimmy took over. He was more of a one trick pony, primarily as a deep threat, prior to Jimmy G’s debut. Marquise did average more yards per reception with Hoyer/CJB, but was far less productive in terms of the number of receptions, as well as first down receptions. He averaged only 2.5 receptions per game with Hoyer/CJB, and that number jumped to nearly 6 per game with JG at the helm. Of course, we also have to factor in Pierre Garcon’s production, and his number of receptions prior to his season ending neck injury. However, even without Garcon, Goodwin’s numbers weren’t that much different prior to Jimmy G taking over as the starter, as Marquise still averaged only 2.33 reception per game in those 3 games after Pierre’s injury and prior to Jimmy G’s first start.

            It’s safe to say that Jimmy makes the 49ers engine roar!

    1. Hell yes we’ll trade Armstead for a 2nd. That would be highway robbery.

      Now if we can get ride of Jimmy ward also that would be something.

    1. That’s a short term extension – no real commitment by the Jags to Bortles, just another prove it deal. $18M average over 3 years, $26.5M in guarantees (not sure how much fully guaranteed). My guess is they can get out of it pretty easily as soon as 2019.

      Basically Bortles was good enough last season they want to give him another year but they do not then want to be in a position where they need to commit big money to keep him after the year if he plays well.

  18. On Rotoworld:

    “NBC Bay Area’s Matt Maiocco expects the 49ers to extend free agent DL Tank Carradine.

    With Carlos Hyde and Eric Reid likely to test free agency, Carradine and Brock Coyle are the 49ers’ top candidates for new deals. Carradine had a slow start to his career, but graded out positively over eight games (214 snaps) last year and can play multiple spots. An early-down run stopper, Carradine shouldn’t be a difficult re-sign.”

          1. For only a 3rd I’d keep him.
            The problem he has, is staying healthy but when healthy he’s the best interior pass rusher on the team. That’s saying a lot when your teammate is Buckner.
            According to PFF he might even be considered one of the best interior pass rushers in the league when healthy. Then last year we had the bright idea to move him out to DE which made little sense.
            Honestly, when he goes elsewhere I could easily see him being one of the better pass rushing Dt’s in football so I would need at least a second to give up on him.
            For ref

            1. It would be saying something… if it were true. Buckner is the best interior pass rusher on the team though, and by some way. Combined with being much better against the run this past season it was easy to see why PFF gave him a grade of 90.4 on the season, a much higher grade than Armstead ever achieved as an interior DL.

              Armstead is a better player than many fans give him credit for though. Which is why it wouldn’t shock me if the 49ers could get a 2nd for him. His biggest issue as a 49er right now is that hos best positions on the DL happen to be the same ones as the the 49ers past two 1st round picks. He won’t be replacing Buckner, and this FO is invested in Thomas.

              1. Last year it wasn’t true because they moved him to a new position, but it was true the 2 years prior to that.
                However, In 2016 he led all 3-4 DE’s in the NFL in PRP rating. That’s why I would keep him and use him as an interior pass rusher.
                Don’t get me wrong, I don’t believe he’s as good DeFo. He lacks dicipline and freelances to much as a run defender, but as an interior pass rusher… I think he is potentially special.

              2. Last year even if Armstead had been kept on the inside it wouldn’t have been true. Buckner was a beast. He is the 49ers best DL.

                I am fine with keeping Armstead, but as I said above, given the other guys on the team and system, he is either going to be a DE again or a rotation player. Getting a 2nd or 3rd in exchange for a player that fits what the team needs better might well be worth it.

              3. Scooter,
                Buckner was a beast. And he may still have been the best pass rusher on the team.
                But even as a rotational player rotational player, given that the niners are in a Nickle or Dime package roughly 60 percent of the time he should be on the field more than you think. Given his pass rush skills from the interior he should be lining up along side Buckner in those packages.
                That said, I could see the team scuttling him in favour of Thomas who is the inferior pass rusher. (My big issue with his selection ,was position redundancy which seems to be true at this point.)
                As to not giving up on him for a third, this team desperately needs a pass rush… and I believe it’s worth seeing what he can do if he stays healthy.
                *note* I would listen to a second round offer and most likely take it.

              4. The problem we have is the team has essentially taken the same player three years in a row. They aren’t exactly alike, but each excels at the same spot (3T) from a pass rush standpoint. Buckner is the best of the 3 imo and Thomas is better than Armstead playing the run from the DE position, which is why Armstead is the one I think they look to move if the opportunity arises. Not sure what we could get for him due to the injuries, but if a team offered a second I’d be all over it.

            2. I don’t see a role for Armstead assuming we address the LEO position. Buck is the main 3T and Thomas is the second. We won’t get a 1st for him. With his injury history, I doubt we would get a 2nd. Take what you can get now. His trade value will go down if we keep him due to him being a part timer and not playing in his natural position. And given his past, a trip to the IR is likely.

              And there’s this.


              His fifth year option is higher as an edge rusher.

        1. Very funny….

          That’s probably why you aren’t the GM yet…Me either, but I believe that we (niners) will extend both Armstead and Carradine, and trade or cut Solomon Thomas…if pride in our ‘investment’ outranks the fact that there are three (3) players who are longer, leaner, and better than him fighting for his job…Armstead, Blair, and Carradine, then let pride goeth before the fall….’don’t need luxury players in the middle of the Defensive line….

    1. And here’s the thing about Carradine …… coming out of Florida State, he was closer to the kind of player the 49ers would like Solomon Thomas to be, at least prior to tearing his ACL.

      Cornellius “Tank” Carradine looked “agile and explosive” at 273 lbs, and according to multiple scouts in attendance for Tank’s private pro day workout in 2013. Turning heads as he clocked a 4.75 40 with a 1.63 10 yard split, at his private pro day workout, a mere 135-days post ACL repair. Regional and Pro personnel scouts representing at least 11 NFL teams were on hand for Tank’s workout, including the Niners. Carradine had suffered a torn ACL he in late November and, despite the injury, Carradine was still considered a possible first round prospect (’s Daniel Jeremiah listed Carradine as his No. 31 draft prospect) for many in the scouting community, as he was widely considered a top 10, possible top 5 prospect prior to tearing his knee up in late 2013. Carradine recorded 11 sacks and 80 tackles in only 11 games during his junior season, and he did so playing right defensive end over the left tackle. In fact, Carradine was rated as SBNation’s second-best defensive end in the draft this year, following Ezekiel Ansah of BYU.

      Tank Carradine – 6’4″ 270 lbs
      Solomon Thomas – 6’2.75″ 273 lbs

      Prior to his injury last season, Tank lined up at a number of spots, officially second on the 49ers depth chart at the LEO or Left Defensive End, opposite the TE (in the Niner’s primarily one-gap-and-hold scheme) behind Dumervil. He logged 19 tackles and 1.5 sacks in a little over 7 games played. Solomon Thomas played in a number of spots, officially he ended the season at first string on the Strong Side at RDE, recording 41 tackles and 3.0 sacks in 14 games. Thomas is still a work in progress, but he’s a good situation in a stable environment, and he’s making strides. Unfortunately for Tank, Trent Baalke was in charge of messing up his early development as an NFL defensive lineman. Baalke drafted a guy who’s natural position was 4-3 DE, and tried to turn him into the next Justin Smith. Tank was forced to carry 20-25 more pounds than he did at his natural weight entering the NFL, and an unfortunately that wasn’t his only problem. Tank experienced complications from his ACL repair, developing excessive scar tissue in his knee, severely limiting his ROM and flexibility. As a result, Tank wallowed in his development, never coming close to reaching his potential until last season. IMO, and the opinion of the 49ers coaching staff, Tank made more progress in his development in the 8 games he played in 2017, than he had made during his previous 36 games. I think the 49ers would be wise to sign Tank to a reasonable deal, perhaps another front loaded deal. I think they’ve invested a lot of time into this kid and he’s finally coning into his own. He adds quality depth on either end, and the 49ers will still be looking for their pass rushing specialist, whoever he is.

  19. A good way off topic:
    We’ve reached the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Hue & The Citadel. Tet’68.
    It was a bad week-10 days. I ain’t lying.

      1. 49 reasons
        Yeah, I was a gunner in gunships flying support. We were only 11km away, so the re-arm turn-arounds were continuous 5am to midnight. But the mud marines had to dig them out room by room; ghastly. The Washington Post ran a retro yesterday with pics from a combat photographer. Sobering still. Civvies in the crossfire suffered.
        Long time gone.

        1. I have always thought that if JFK had not been murdered, there would have been no Vietnam war. Any thoughts of your own, BT?

          1. Whoa, dude! That pushes all kinds of buttons with me! Not you, the issue.
            I studied all I could to make sense of VN war. Didn’t.
            Quick take to your question: JFK could’ve walked back involvement, and intended to. LBJ taking the reigns didn’t want to look like a defeatist or weak on communism, so he doubled down while even knowing and privately acknowledging it was a mistake.
            A truce agreement was in the works. Nixon back channel poisoned it while a candidate so he could gain credit. Ho & Giap said 🖕 The war raged on.
            Including everybody; 13 Million lives lost.

            1. Staggering, 14 million lives lost, so many complications with war, and the aftermath, then new conflicts and wars started by people that obviously do not understand or care the damage it does to others. I do not have any answers but it is a privilege to hear your experiences, advice, on these matters and sense of humor. Also resiliency, life can make want to lay there after being knocked flat,but you and others that have seen the worst keep getting back up!

              On a side note, hope you and the wife have no side effects from the fender bender I believe a couple months back, mywife has back and shoulder issues from living life.

              1. Thanks Reb. The photo essay brought things back that usually stay tucked away, but it’s all ok. Some of my Vet friends and I like to say “Every day is gravy!” since we came back. It’s all relative.
                I’m reminded of a line from All In The Family. Some cop or guvmint guy is at the door and Edith says ‘Oh Archie isn’t a criminal, although he does talk back to Walter Cronkite sometimes.’
                Thanks for asking. Luckily we had no injuries and doing fine. I get my car back next week.

              2. BT,

                I can’t imagine the emotional scars being there left but we all owe you and other vets a debt of gratitude. No matter what the reasons were for fighting an unwinnable war, you and countless others had to pay the price for it.

                I watched Ken Burns doc on the war a couple of months ago and found out that I really didn’t know as much about the back channels and political maneuvering that fueled it as I thought I did. It really was a case of paranoia, bad analysis and little regard for the young men being used as collateral damage on the part of the politicians in control at the time. Glad you made it back.

    1. Me too AES , they all sacrificed way too much, just glad they are alive, when we say life is difficult or something sucks, they can point out we really do not know the depths of how bad things can be. I have studied and heard stories watched movies, but is nothing compared to someone who has survived or experienced it! Mad love for those who have served and survived on this blog!

  20. +1 TJF on CJB ,

    Looked real good in that Seattle game ?

    Stats on Goodwin , would say alot .

    Judging most players on the 1st half of there season .( While everyone learning the offense, imo ) based that most of the strides made , learning the offense we’re done when JG took the reigns . Shoot JG said , having a center that was healthy, and knowledgeable was a key to his success .

    Grant we should look at the hole picture ,might help .

    Don’t think I’m the only one here that feels this way .

    It was you who said that the interior offensive line was on roller skates .

    That might of been why CJB got hurt ?

    1. — never accused the OL of wearing skates…

      — only that the 2017 OL was incompetent at run blocking and mediocre (at best) at pass protection…

      — that is to say pass protection was mediocre during JG’s starts– since the line only had to keep him clean for 3-4 secs due to JG’s quick short pass game…with Hoyer and CJ, 3-4 secs. was nowhere near enough time…

      — add in the fact that oppo D’s never had to worry about a run game, taking play action threat away from Hoyer and CJ, so most D’s (incl SEA) could focus on collapsing any pocket’s that Hoyer or CJ tried to work in….

      — in CJ’s stellar 4th qtr. in that 2nd SEA game, where only 2 offensive snaps were runs, all other snaps were throws or scrambles…even tho’ it was garbage time…he was targeted and put out of game b4 he could throw a TD– Jimmy took care of that on his 1st set of downs as a 9er…

    1. I think they are better off getting Goodwin’s backup via FA. I don’t see Weah being anything other than Goodwin’s backup for the 49ers. Very limited player. Don’t think he is a great system fit.

      1. Tavares Martin, WR, WSU comes with character concerns, but has some skill. What do you think about him as a 7th round flyer?

        1. Honestly, I thought both Gabe Marks and River Cracraft were better prospects last year, and those guys are nothing in the NFL. Marks is now out of the NFL and I believe Cracraft is on the Broncos PS. And neither guy came with the off field baggage of Martin.

            1. Razor / Scooter
              * Do you have an opinion on N. Iowa WR Daurice Fountain? 6′ 2″ X 210, claims to run a sub 4.5 X 40, broad jumped 11′ 1″ and a 40″ Vertical. He was MVP at the E / W Shrine game. He’s likely a day three prospect.

              1. He’s got something in common with Jimmy G. They both were named Offensive MVP’s of their respective Shrine Games…;>)

              2. Yeah, Fountain is a guy I can see the 49ers liking. He isn’t just a great athlete. Despite coming from a small school you can see he has a lot of good WR traits. Very good out of his breaks. Stays under control.

  21. A quarterback with a quick release hides a multitude of pass protection sins. Also makes receivers better, especially with RAC and move the chains completions.

    But I still believe in improving both units in this draft. I’d treat offensive line and receiver just as urgently as if Beathard was our signal caller. Just because we have a quarterback that can zip a pass with a defensive tackle two inches from his face doesn’t make it an ideal way to operate.

    Hoping to improve defense with pick 9.5 (unless Nelson falls) but finding offense rounds 2-7 leverages Garoppolo’s abilities. O-line in a trade-back situation late first works too.

      1. An upgrade on the offensive line would definitely help establishing a running game, as well as improve pass protection. Especially early downs and play action.

        Begs the question. In the very unlikely event Saquon Barkley fell to 9.5, and there were no trade up offers, would you take him?

        I would.

            1. In that case, I’ll go with Ward. Barkley is my 3rd rated back behind Guice and Michel. I’ll target Hines in the 4th round.

              Against OU and PSU, Ward put some outstanding work on film. Barkley’s tape against Georgia St., not so much. Against Indiana, not so much. Rutgers, MIA. Ohio St., more of the same….

              1. If Fitzpatrick is off the board too, I could see Saleh lobbying for the Earl Thomas/Cam Chancellor clone, Derwin James. He could play him at single high, covering the slot, in the box. He could have a lot of fun with him….

        1. B2W,

          I’d take one of the OT’s. Barkley is a good player who is being severely overrated imo. He will be a good RB in the NFL but this view of him as the best RB in a decade and a generational talent is hyperbole. He isn’t even the best RB in the past couple of years. That would be Elliott imo. I can’t see Shanny taking any RB in the first round with the success he and his Father have had over the years with day 3 RB’s.

            1. The only safety I think the 49ers would take top 10 is Fitzpatrick. James is best as a SS for mine, and I suspect the 49ers will be happy to go with Tartt.

              1. Disagree. He’s not as good as Thomas or Chancellor, but he’s more of a clone of the two. Could be a valuable chess piece for Saleh. Not to mention that Alpha dog personality James is said to possess. Could use that on the backend….

              2. If he is, then sure, could see them taking him. Great locker room asset from all reports. Much like Adams last year.

              3. A 1st round cb, should they go that way, or an accomplished FA cb, could make our Safeties look better, and is a bigger need. Can’t fix everything this year.

            2. I’d be surprised if we took a S. Tartt has proved he can handle the box and Ward/Colbert can handle single high. Unlike last year when we didn’t know if Reid/Ward and Tartt could handle playing new positions.

        2. I would take Barkley if we don’t bring back Hyde and don’t sign Crowell. I’ve seen people compare Barkley to Bush because of his freakish athleticism. But Barkley has a good 20 LBs on Bush. Barkley won’t be as injury prone.

          Keep this in mind. Bush had 88 receptions in his rookie year under Payton’s version of the WCO (Kamara just had 81). Hyde jumped from 27 in 2016 to 59 under Shanny.

          Lastly, Shanny is not so rigid that he would never take a HB in the 1st. He was fine with taking McCaffrey last year. Caff, another HB that would excel in the WCO passing game.

              1. Barkley was completely shut down multiple times last year. That doesn’t happen to a generational player. He could put up some good numbers in this system; so could a lot of other RB’s that will be available later on.

              2. He only had 3 games where he averaged less than 4 YPC. One of those was against Ohio State’s 9th ranked defense. Barkley also had a 97 kickoff return in that game and a 36 YD TD run. Against Indiana, he had a 98 YD kickoff return and threw a 16 YD TD pass. He had a 1 YD and a 4 YD TD run against Rutgers, that’s tough yardage and shows he can finish in the RZ (we struggled in the RZ last year).

                Georgia St.? He averaged 4.7 YPC. He only got 10 carries. He also had 142 receiving YDs and a TD. He also missed part of the 2nd quarter with a stomach bug and Penn State rested most of their starters in the 2nd half (it was 35-0 at halftime).

              3. #80, Barkley has a lot of special to him, but for me, he lacks patience, decisiveness, loses too much yardage, doesn’t hit the crease at full throttle and fight for yards, an irritating habit of turning his back to the line of scrimmage against initial penetration. He seems claustrophobic between the tackles. I expect 230 pound backs to run with power and determination. Not Barkley. He’s not the perfect, “generational” running back he’s being touted to be. Guice and Michel are decisive, patient runners that can manipulate the second level of defenders at the line of scrimmage. They make the most out of their runs, and don’t put their offense in bad situations. Yes, Barkley has the most upside, versatility and athleticism but to me, he’s just not worth a top 10 pick in this offense….

              4. I hear ya Razor. Your concerns are valid, but I think you’re putting a bit too much weight on those concerns. Other than the power running, a lot of your concerns could have been applied to Leveon Bell. Barkley could be better than Bell IMO. SB is more explosive. SB doesn’t have a ton of power runs/broke tackles, but they do exist.


                The highlights start at the 1:25 mark. This video is called The Tackle Breaker and it does have some, but I noticed he looked very decisive and quickly hit his holes.

  22. Another change-up:
    I was a little surprised that Grant isn’t going to The Combine. I don’t offer that as a criticism. His reasons are his own and he owes me no explanation.
    I just think that for me to be able to mingle somewhat with league professionals with the benefit of a Press Pass would be a great opportunity. These folks are all interacting, but like poker players, not giving up much except maybe in private 1-on-1s. So you wouldn’t get much on what they’re going to do, but rather on how they think. I’d expect it could be instructive just hanging around and listening to it all.
    For fans (w/o Press Pass) I’d assume little access, and more of a Disneyland experience

      1. It’s not exactly face time, but there’s still an advantage to being in the same room. You get a feel for them, pick up clues. In business I always did better with people after face time.

    1. Wondering what the Press Democrat’s travel budget is for things like the combine. It’s underwear Olympics+pressers. I imagine the networking opportunities are good.

  23. TJF , one of Grant’s articles ,had that saying , agreed with you on CJB.

    But don’t think any of us , saw CJB at his best .

    And I hope that the interior offensive line is improved over last year .

    But i m o CJB was just getting a feel for the offense , when he got hurt , and JG took over .

    Just think we got a good QB there.

          1. I’m intrigued by Rashaan Melvin. 6’2″, coming off a really good year, still 28, probably won’t cost as much as a Trumaine Johnson…maybe 4 years, $32 million?

    1. The best ones for us have been re-signed or will be franchised, but there are still some good options there. I think they’ll come away with a CB and a WR for sure.

  24. There is a kid in this draft class who is tailor made to play the LEO role in the 49ers scheme, and nobody’s talking about him. One NFC director of scouting : “Don’t read too much into that sack total this year. They didn’t really cut him loose this year. I like the talent and he will help himself at the combine.”

    The Kansas Jayhawks’ Dorance Armstrong is a guy to watch at the combine. Armstrong could fit as a 4-3 end or 3-4 rush linebacker in the pros, but a team would probably be best served by lining him up wide to take better advantage of his explosive traits as a rusher (as in the LEO).

    Matt Miller: The best prospect you’ve never heard of? Kansas EDGE Dorance Armstrong has elite potential and athleticism.

    At 6’4″, 250 lbs, Dorance Armstrong has a long, athletic frame with room to pack on added mass. Armstrong is one of the most athletic players in this draft class. His arms drop down to his knees, and when he strikes, he’s like a python, wrapping up it’s prey. He has the speed, quickness, agility, and acceleration to cause problems at the next level. As a speed rusher, he may be the best in class. Armstrong routinely beats tackles off of the edge and uses his excellent bend to turn the corner and sack the quarterback. He dominated the field in 2016, with 10 sacks and 20 tackles for loss. His lower body strength is very good. The true junior is known as a pure pass rusher but improved his run stopping ability dramatically in 2017. He has experience playing against high powered, pro-style offenses, being in the Big 12.

    Watch out for this kid in Indy. Armstrong will likely have an excellent combine, which could see him shooting up draft boards in April.

    1. Dangity -Dang. Was hoping KC put the squeeze on LA. Even if they don’t extend Peters, the Rams have him for 2018 and 2019 (option year). Average pay about $5.6 million .

    2. That’s peanuts for the quality of player they are getting. The Niners should have been in on this for that type of compensation. Major lost opportunity imo.

      1. Yup. $5.6m a year is practically free for a top corner.

        After the All-done Smith meltdown I heard Denise York gave marching orders to clean up the team. The was before the 2015 draft when the 49ers passed on Peters. I was OK with passing on Peters. Loved his abilities, but I heard on a podcast he quit on his team in the mid-game. Let receivers run by him.

        I wasn’t happy with the mid-first talent and was hoping for more trade backs to move lower in the first. Didn’t hate the Armstead pick because I liked his “traits.”

        1. I didn’t like the Armstead pick at the time and still don’t. Peters was a known hot head, but the talent was elite level. He has become one of the best defensive players in the league never mind a top corner. That should have been the pick. Players mature at different stages and some you need to deal with differently, but if the pay off is 21 picks and numerous forced fumbles in the first 3 years, it’s worth it.

      2. Seems as though that quality was viewed by 31 other teams as too high maintenance if that’s all the Chiefs could get for him, and they were willing to part ways. He has a history of wearing out his welcome. We’ll see how it works out….

        1. I don’t care how other teams viewed it. The Niners had a major need and were interested but dropped out letting the Rams pick up a top 5 CB for small compensation and two years of control at about a 3rd of what they were paying Trumaine Johnson. He is an emotional player with maturity issues. He hasn’t had any off the field problems. For what the Rams gave up it’s a no lose proposition with extremely high pay off potential. Big time missed opportunity for the Niners imo.

          1. Obviously 31 other teams didn’t care either, and it was reported the 49ers weren’t that interested. On paper it looks good, but like I said, time will tell….

            1. All we know is the Rams got an elite CB for little compensation with 2 years of control at below market contract numbers. I don’t know how interested the Niners were but they should have had high interest and ultimately made the deal themselves imo considering they had more to offer both in terms of picks this year and where they lined up in the draft.

              The culture view point doesn’t fly with me considering the team drafted Foster and took a chance on Williams as well. Culture improves with success and Peters would have helped them in that regard a great deal. Peters is a hot head who gets emotional on the field. He also is well liked in the locker room and helps his team win games. The Niners need talent and guys who make plays. Peters was a big miss for them imo, but as you said time will tell.

          2. rocket – this hurts for sure. Passing on Peters hurt in 2015 too. If the Rams get two years out of Peters before he blows up its a steal.

            I can’t say with complete certainly what’s the best thing to do. I’m not in Peters’ head or a fly on KC’s locker room wall. But my feeling about the 49ers ownership is they are still deeply stung by Aldon Smith and Ray McDonald’s off field stuff. The 49ers first picks (Ward, Reid, Armstead, Thomas) have been virtual boy scouts. Gamble on behavior risks later.

            1. B2W,

              I agree and you could be right about the ownership playing a part in it. I just view it as a missed opportunity to improve at a position of need for little in return and the possibility of a huge pay off in the effect on defense. History has shown you don’t win in this league with choir boys only. There are always going to be high maintenance players to deal with. The Niners better understand that moving forward no matter how things turn out with Foster.

              1. rocket – I think the best thing to do is avoid over simplified dogma like…
                – Never draft players with an off field past
                – Grab talent. Ask about off field issues later

                I’m guessing its more of a skill issue than a policy issue.
                – Does my scouting staff have the skills to differentiate between youthful bad decisions and truly bad character?
                – Does my scouting staff have the skills to thoroughly research a players private life
                – Do my position coaches have the people skills to mold troubled young men into football players?
                – Does my GM have the skill to determine exactly what draft slot is worth the gamble on player X?

                It’s not easy. Look at edge rushers. The best always seem to be unhinged.

              2. Excellent points B2W. It’s definitely not easy which is why we see so much upheaval in NFL front offices these days.

      3. Rocket,

        Supposed the Niners had gotten Peters, and he proved to be troublesome during the course of the season. Would you want the Niners to cut him at the end of the season after suffering thru him during the season?

        Over the years I have noticed that many fans who lobby on behalf of questionable signings are also the first ones off the bandwagon asking for the same players to be cut when things go awry. That does not seem to be a good way of running franchise. Hence my question.

        Personally, I think this guy won’t make it past 2 seasons with the Rams. The better he plays, the more he seems to have need to go off the deep end, and vice-versa. His behavioral problems appear to me not to be mere immaturity — unlike that of Foster. Peters will potentially be a huge problem for Steve “Hannibal-Lechter-has-an-eating-disorder’ Keim.

        1. 49ers are clearly trying to establish a new culture, so it isn’t surprising they passed on Peters. In hindsight I bet they are wishing they had passed on Foster right now too.

        2. Supposed the Niners had gotten Peters, and he proved to be troublesome during the course of the season. Would you want the Niners to cut him at the end of the season after suffering thru him during the season?

          No. There are always going to be head aches with different personalities in a locker room and you have to find a way to make it work. If the response from KC players is any indication, Peters was well liked and team performance certainly wasn’t an issue.

          Over the years I have noticed that many fans who lobby on behalf of questionable signings are also the first ones off the bandwagon asking for the same players to be cut when things go awry. That does not seem to be a good way of running franchise. Hence my question.

          I’m not a bandwagon guy either pro or against and to me the way you get better is to add as much talent as you can. Peters was available at a bargain rate and the Niners let a division rival outbid them with a minimal offer.

          Personally, I think this guy won’t make it past 2 seasons with the Rams. The better he plays, the more he seems to have need to go off the deep end, and vice-versa. His behavioral problems appear to me not to be mere immaturity — unlike that of Foster. Peters will potentially be a huge problem for Steve “Hannibal-Lechter-has-an-eating-disorder’ Keim.

          Wrong team. Keim works for AZ. Les Snead made this deal and made some similar ones last year that worked out very well for the Rams. I doubt you would have made this type of prediction if the Niners had landed him, but even if it does happen, the Rams haven’t given up a whole lot to find out.

            1. Watson didn’t put up huge individual numbers but he played a big role in the success of that offense with his ability to take the top off the defense. Robert Woods especially benefitted from all the attention paid to Watson.

              1. You see, I look at it differently. If that’s all McVay could get out of Watson, then it’s no wonder they’re willing to cut their losses. He looks like he lost his speed too, and that was his calling card….

              2. You have to take all factors into account Razor. I’m not sure what the cutting their losses comment means as we don’t know if they will re-sign, franchise or let him hit FA at this point. He was acquired about 3 weeks before the start of the season which doesn’t leave much time to get acclimated to the system or work on timing with the QB. He also was playing with a foot injury. Bottom line is he helped the Rams produce one of the best offenses in the league so giving up a CB who also is a FA and what turned out to be a late second round pick was not a high price for what he brought to the offense imo. He may have lost some speed, I don’t know for sure, but he was on the receiving end of some big plays so he can still make them.

              3. By all reports, the Rams do not plan on franchising Watson. A wide receiver with bad wheels is bad news.

          1. Rocket,

            Sorry for that Keim/Snead gaffe. Serves me right for trying to sneak in a quick comment between meetings at work :)

            I did not imply that you are one of the bandwagon guys. I have just been amazed by how many fans who raved about Foster have been prepared to have cut him already.

            I still think that the days of Peters in the NFL are numbered. I don’t know how he could have had supporters in the Kansas City team when he quit in the middle of a game. I guess it may be saying something about the team.

            1. Mood,

              No worries man just making sure we got the names right ;)

              Anything’s possible, but giving up a couple of picks over two drafts that don’t involve a first is a small price to pay to find out. This is is an all pro player who leads the league in Ints by a significant margin over the first 3 years of his career, and is under market in terms of contract for the next two years. It was worth going after for the Rams and imo the Niners should have been more aggressive and made the deal themselves. It would have filled one of the biggest needs on the team with an elite talent which this team doesn’t have a lot of.

  25. What about Andy Levitre from the Falcons if he becomes available? He’s got experience with Shanahan’s system. He will be 32 but could be a good veteran presence. PFF gives him an overall rating of 78 and lists him as the #17 guard. Probably a high likelihood he would sign with SF.

    On Rotoworld:

    The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s D. Orlando Ledbetter believes Falcons LG Andy Levitre could be a cap cut.

    Atlanta is near the bottom of the league in available cap space, promoting GM Thomas Dimitroff to say the team will have to make some “difficult moves” to free up money. Signing Matt Ryan to a long-term extension could help open up some space, but Ledbetter believes Levitre is on the chopping block. Cutting Levitre would create $7 million in cap space, but it would also create a big hole at guard, a position the Falcons are already weak.

      1. Agree. The more I think about it, the team has a huge investment in Jimmy G. While we need upgrades on defense (edge and CB), it’s paramount to keep that investment protected to the best extent reasonably possible. My new thinking is that the team would rather improve the offense at the expense of the defense, if necessary, if that offensive improvement also results in better protecting the $137.5 million dollar guy. It might slow down the team’s march to the superbowl, but the march could remain a steady progression. If Jimmy goes down, I think we’d have a situation similar to that in Green Bay. This is also why I would like the team to draft Lauletta if he’s available in round 4 and later. I hope I’m wrong, but I don’t think CJB is a good backup option for the team.

        1. I think on offense the OL will be a priority but they won’t neglect the two biggest needs on D. CB and DE. My guess is both those positions (+ OG) will be added in FA. The draft will focus on offense.

          1. I think filling glaring holes with FA is the sensible procedure. But on draft I think the only compromise they will make in deviating from BPA approach will be for O linemen.

        2. it’s paramount to keep that investment protected to the best extent reasonably possible.

          Yes, I’m pretty confident that they will pick up one or two veteran interior O linemen in FA even if only for depth. It could include the return of Fusco. I expect them to draft an O lineman on the first or second day. Maybe a future tackle who will start at guard, as the two Matts have suggested. There are some Shannyesque linemen in the second round it appears, e.g. UCLA’s Kolton Miller:

      1. True, but the QB prospects are not that enthralling this year. Heck, there isn’t even a clear cut #1 among the top three QBs.

        1. It’s been said repeatedly by a number of observers that this is the best QB class in at least a decade Mid. It’s both talented and deep.

          The Browns have to take a QB with one of their first round picks unless they sign Cousins. If they don’t they are idiots.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *