49ers’ updated 2015 starting lineup

These players currently are under contract for next season:

Offense:

LWR: Quinton Patton
RWR: Anquan Boldin
SLOT: Bruce Ellington
LT: Joe Staley
LG: Brandon Thomas
C: Daniel Kilgore
RG: Alex Boone
RT: Anthony Davis
TE: Vernon Davis
H-BACK: Vance McDonald
QB: Colin Kaepernick
FB: Bruce Miller
RB: Carlos Hyde
SCAT: Kendall Hunter

Defense:

LDE (5-tech): Glenn Dorsey
NT (1-tech): Ian Williams
RDE (3-tech): Justin Smith
LOLB: Aaron Lynch
LILB: Patrick Willis
RILB: NaVorro Bowman
ROLB: Aldon Smith
LCB: Tramaine Brock
RCB: Dontae Johnson
NCB: Jimmie Ward
SS: Antoine Bethea
FS: Eric Reid

Is this starting lineup above average, mediocre or below average?

This article has 166 Comments

    1. Per David Fucillo @ Niners Nation.com:

      ARTICLE: Apparent Stevie Johnson Instagram Post Suggests he has been released by the 49ers.

      Synopsis: Article describes 49ers 2015 Cap Status giving them 12,181,102 in total cap space if (WR) S. Johnson were cut.

      1. There are lots of viewpoints regarding Baalke’s drafting of Jimmy Ward and whether a (WR) was needed more last year in a deep WR draft?…Well this year Baalke was intelligent enough to get some credentialed talent evaluators to the NFL Combine this year in Adam Henry (LSU) and Ronald Curry…The reason the 49ers dynasty under Bill Walsh existed is because of Superior talent evaluators. Since they were constantly in the playoffs for twenty years they ended up with the last pick in the draft yearly. Because of these evaluators the 49ers could trade their high picks, move down in the draft and acquire more mid round picks which they rarely missed on…However, the niners were a WR based offense and rarely missed on offensive linemen, QB’s, WR’s, Tight ends, or RB’s (Craig, Rathman, Ricky Waters)…Baalke is the GM. The Buck stops with his vision, so whether the (OL) can’t pass block, the (WR’s ) are substandard, or the QB is still learning his 3,5 and 7–step dance steps corresponding to WR route running so it’s not Kaepernick or Baalke’s fault misses the point….We are way past the blame game…Put up or shut up Baalke.

  1. If Justin returns tank will be playing opposite him. Tank came on the last 2-3 games win given a chance. That’s tomsulas guy too.

    1. Williams and Dorsey are better run defenders than Carradine. Carradine might play next to Justin in the Nickel on third-and-long, but Carradine’s best spot is three-tech, not one-tech or five-tech.

        1. According to Tank last offseason he is about 25 lbs heavier than he was when at FSU. Up to around 300lbs these days. Not really suited to 4-3 DE anymore.

  2. Average. The defense looks above average. But our offensive line looks average at best and that makes our running backs less than average.

    Is Baalke pretty set with Thomas being our LG next year? Who will be backup C if M. Martin becomes starting LG?

    Danny Shelton would make our d-line one of the best in NFL. Tomsula has got to be in love with this guy. I know we have a lot of guys ready to step in and Okoye and Ramsey ready to compete, but Shelton seems like a blue collar guy that could make an impact for years to come.

  3. 1st rd and out playoff worthy. Offensive line will have question marks with B.Thomas because there’s no NFL real-time experience there and A.Davis must stay healthy for the entire season. Staley is our anchor and Boone is above average. Kilgore was ascending before he was injured last year and needs to come back at an equal pace and continue to grow at Center.

    Kaepernick must improve from last years numbers and provide better QB technique. Hyde should be a good back in a fulltime position, but KHunt has to be physically ready and capable of getting touches.
    I still see the team drafting a RB in the 3rd rd and believe that they get a very good one there.

    The defense looks good on paper, but again, many question marks here. Can Willis play to his pre-surgery status, can NaVarro come back from a major knee injury and can Aldon be counted on to play with the same intensity he displayed his rookie season.
    Is our interior D-line capable of playing at optimum level as well as staying healthy. Justin Smith is not what he used to be, and Tank and Dial have done nothing to give us any excitement as of yet. Dorsey and I.Williams are above average but will that be good enough?

    Defensive secondary is also tenuous. Reid is one concussion hit from missing substantial playing time. Ward is virtually a rookie and if A.Bethea is our one lone anchor in the secondary we could be in serious trouble.
    Cully or Cox are question marks and Tramaine pretty much missed an entire season.
    Dontea Johnson could step in but I don’t believe he is starter material yet. We will go FA and likely draft a CB to help.

    Not a ringing endorsement but the reality behind the questions are there in my opinion.
    The positive in all this is; that if all these players have a strong season we could possibly make a deep playoff run.

    1. Very much aligned to how I see the situation AES,and Scooter agree with you but would add OT as a specific need -Boone as back up tackle is decent, however Martin didn’t get it done to my eye defintely some decent OG guys coming up but could use help outside I think.

  4. Baalke will still bring in some FAs and draft picks to compete for some of the more unsettled roles. WR, CB, DL, OLB, maybe OL. Not really possible to know where this team is at until after FA and the draft.

  5. I think LWR will be Stevie Johnson. He’s the most productive per snap WR on the team. I’ll believe he is released when he’s actually released.

    LG will be someone other than Brandon Thomas. Marcus Martin, Joe Looney or a Rookie. Brandon Thomas will eventually take over LG, but not opening day.

    I agree with all other roster projections. The defense is spot on. And I do see the very good possibility that Patton and Thomas as starters.

    1. Stevie Johnson instagram a few minutes ago… “Played the hand I was dealt and wasn’t overwhelmed or distracted. We shared some great moments Santa Clara/San Francisco. 1Luv~ Cool13”

      1. My first thought is “ugh”. But now I’m remembering that last year I was excited about the WR corp (even though we didn’t have a real burner), however, it didn’t turn out nearly as well as I expected. Now we only have Boldin with a lot of experience. I agree with BigP. I don’t think that you can expect a draft pick WR to just be an easy replacement for a veteran or even “plug and play” into a system.

        1. I’d be very surprised if they don’t sign a WR in FA to compete for a role along with a draft pick or two. And its time for Patton and Ellington to take their chance as well.

          1. NinersNation is reporting that the release of SJ will give the 49ers cap space of $11,518,667 (this amount includes $435,000 for a player that would replace him on the top 51 roster). I hope they are not planning to use some of this money to resign Crabtree.

            1. It’s to make a play for mike Wallace if he becomes avaliable or Torrey smith.. An opposite type of reciever from boldin to stretch the field. Book it!

              1. I always had fun messing with DS.

                Have the ‘fins released Wallace yet? Obviously a one-dimensional player but it’s the dimension the 49ers are missing. I had suggested Denarius Moore previously, he might be more affordable to sign.

          2. If Patton can stay healthy, he seems to have little nagging injuries that pull him off the field. Even so both Patton and Ellington have yet to prove they are even average in the NFL. There’s a fair a mount of chatter about our LSU WR coach, maybe he can improve their production. Vernon Davis is a year older, we need some other options at TE and WR to even hit average or better. I am interested to see if our new offensive coaching staff prove to be something other than amateur hour. Being able to motivate people is only part of the equation. One needs to game plan well for opponents.

    2. Why don’t you believe Thomas will be the LG to start the season? This may be his first year of play, but he’s had a year to learn the system.

      1. Thomas could be the starter opening day, but I Martin and Looney have a head start. It takes time to come back from an ACL, then get in football condition. Even if he has a full camp.

        Its an advantage to have a year on NFI, studying film, attending meetings. That will help Thomas’s cause.

        Its close. I think the odds for starting LG are…
        51% Martin or Looney or Scherff
        49% Thomas

        LG will be Thomas’ job at some point.

  6. I’m not sure Johnson will start at CB, Acker & Reasons will push him. My guess is Dorsey stays inside (NG in base rotation with Williams, and LDT in Nickel) and that Dial starts at LDE.

      1. Tamba Hali’s best statistical seasons came playing outside Dorsey in 2010 and 2011. I don’t think that was an accident.

        Dorsey would do a fine job as the 5-tech, and Lynch would benefit.

    1. @Bro Tuna….Quentin Dial is the player that I see coming on this year….You could see it in the limited snaps he got near the end of last season….we just didn’t let him stay in the game long enough tolearn it….sound familiar ? I’m betting that he is going to be a monster piller to post this season

  7. Yes, well that’s my highly scientific wild xxx guess, but Dorsey played 43 LDT in college and some thought he was out of position at DE in KC. KC fans considered him a bit of a bust for a guy taken that high, and the Chiefs didn’t try to outbid Baalke (not that hard). Fangio, Baalke (and presumably Tomsula) liked him better inside. Ian’s stout against the run but Dorsey penetrates better.

    1. Which is why Baalke can’t justify drafting a defensive player in the first round for the third year in a row and the fourth time in five years.

      1. I think he has to give Tomsula and Geep the best possible lineup offensively and defensively. He knows the bullseye is squarely on him and I think they will make a splash on the offensive side of the ball in free agency and the draft morseo than best player available. Otherwise it could be Baalkes last year in SF.

      2. I wonder what affect Tom Gamble will have on this draft? Maybe he’ll make Baalke more confident.

        Most mocks have Cooper, Parker, White and Scherff gone by 15. If it turns out that way, who should the 49ers take at 15?

        I think trade-up prices will be way above chart. What picks would you package with 15 to secure Parker or White? (or is this a future blog subject?)

          1. The unwritten rules have changed when it comes to drafting in the upper parts of the first round. The old draft charts are being used as bird cage liners as we speak.

            The rule changes favoring receivers guarantees it. I expect the receiver frenzy to make a mess out of upper round 1 trade charts for years.

            As long as Cooper/White/Parker are on the board, any pick at or above them will be super pricey no matter what position the targeted player plays. I think a player like White would cost the almost same to trade up for whether he was chosen at pick 5 or pick 12.

            For teams out of the top 12 that need a WR, they will either have to sell the store, or make speculative gamble picks on raw but promising players in later rounds. I’m afraid this is how its going to be for a long time.

            Shopping Borland? I have no idea. Never considered it. Chicago at 7 comes to mind.

            1. Brodie, for me the reason I expect the picks in the top 10 to be pricey actually has more to do with teams putting a premium on pass rushers and OTs.

              There are some really high quality edge rushers available this year that should go top 10, and no team ever has too many quality pass rushers. Convincing a team to pass up a shot at one of those guys for some extra draft dough will be a tough sell.

            2. Brodie—- Your statement about the cost of going for top receivers in the draft is true. This is why I thought they should have taken advantage of the optimum situation that existed last season. More receivers along with a deeper draft which made the lower picks more valuable in respect to trade capital was the perfect storm for obtaining a quality receiver last season. The trade off was the deeper draft also made it more likely that those later picks would be keepers. Baalke needed a simi successful draft to save his rep and that’s why he chose the latter option. Unfortunately it created the present WR situation which makes the cost higher and decreases the probability of obtaining a comparable Wr in this present or future drafts. Good for Baake’s rep but bad for the team long term.

              Prime—– I think York gives Baalke more slack in respect to accountability for this coming season. Yorks ego comes into play in that respect. If Baalke fails so does he. York made the choice to hitch his wagon to Baalke so firing him would reflect poorly on himself. York will give Baalke a lot of time to prove his own decision in that respect right.

              1. I’m afraid this will be the new normal. If I team wants a good receiver, they will have to…

                1) Sell the store to trade up. Forget chart value.

                2) Every draft sacrifice a later pick on receivers with some kind of flaw (character, injury, small school, gifted-but-raw, etc.) in the hopes that at least 1 out of 4 picks pans out.

                3) Draft one-dimensional specialists in rounds 2-4. Receivers that “are just fast straight lines guys” or “fast, but only 5’3” or “possession receivers” and so on. But specialists made offenses more predicable.

              2. Guys, the reason it would have cost so much to move up to pick Beckham last year wasn’t because WRs are such hot commodities these days. It was because it would have been a move from pick 30 to pick 12 or earlier, and because the talent level at that spot was of an elite level.

                This year the talent at edge rusher is very high, and will likely be very high beyond the top 10. There are also 2 quality QBs and 3 quality WRs, as well as some quality OL, DL and one quality CB and safety. The calibre of players beyond the top 12 – 15 players this year really tails off.

                Convincing a team to give up a shot at one of these players will be tough. And for the teams picking in the top 15 that need a WR, why would they accept a trade down when they have a shot at one of the top 3 guys?

                This is the way it has always been. Moving up into the top 10 gets costly, because that is where the top shelf talent lies.

                The year Baalke was able to move up from 31 to 18 was a year where the elite talents were gone before pick 18. The Cowboys were happy to move down and get an extra third feeling fairly safe in the knowledge they would still be able to pick a second tier talent at a position of need at pick 31.

      3. “Which is why Baalke can’t justify drafting a defensive player in the first round for the third year in a row and the fourth time in five years.”

        Good point. You need to be constantly replenishing both sides of the ball with top end talent. But what about if they signed someone like Torrey Smith in FA?

          1. Probably. But then again Johnson saves them $6M against the cap. They could easily work out a multi-year deal for someone like Smith that wouldn’t exceed a cap hit of $6M this year.

              1. Extending Aldon would be even better for the team’s salary cap. He’s counting almost $10M against the cap this year, if they extend him that cap figure could likely be reduced a bit.

              2. Depends on how much Aldon wants though. Is he wanting to be the highest paid OLB in the league or is he wants a certain amount of guaranteed money?

              3. Even giving him a huge contract they could work the deal so that his salary cap hit this year was less than $10M.

              4. They could, but it will again depend on what Aldon wants. He could be asking for a ridiculous amount for each year that makes a significant hit on the cap.

              5. If he is asking for a ridiculous amount of money, do you honestly think the 49ers are going to extend him this off-season given his off-the-field issues?

              6. I can’t answer that since I’m not Baalke Scooter. If I took a stab at it, then I would say no, but that it also wouldn’t surprise me if he did.

              7. The question was “do you think” it will happen, so of course you can answer it! ;-)

                The only way I see the 49ers giving Aldon a huge contract this off-season is if there are a lot of de-escalators in it (like with Brooks) and loop-holes to extract themselves from the contract without major salary cap issues if he did something stupid again. And even so, I think they’d do it in a way to make sure his salary cap hit this year was less than $10M.

              8. Precisely Scooter,which is why I entertained the notion of trading him last post but considering we are thin at that position did not advocate it.He has extraordinary talent -however his off the field behavior took him off the field and hurt the team deeply last year and it is conceivable it could occur again.That coupled with the weight of his salary and subpar play at the end of the season gives one pause.I knew it would cause a reaction at post but fortunately it was not much more than a rather mundane poopoo as in being relegated to “these guys”.

              9. The NFL should make it much easier, cap wise, to release players for off field issues than at present. They set up a new criteria and standard for acceptable behavior. So in order to reflect those new standards, they should also make it easier for teams to release players, for behavioral reasons, without it incurring a damaging salary cap hit.

              1. Brooks will be a cap casualty as well. And they can rework deals for some of the vets to free up some cap space.

              2. That doesn’t mean that the front office plans to keep Willis though Grant. Baalke was said to not be as straightforward with his commitment to Bowman and Willis than he was with Davis when asked about that at the Combine.

              3. Willis is NOT getting cut or traded this year. The next year there is a good possibility not this year. You got two middle linebackers coming off of injurys. Borland will be there for insurance this year then he will take Willis job. That’s just the nature of the beast.

              1. If we see the explosive TD capability sure. The 2 of them together could be lethal.

                Dump Crabtree, Stevie J, and VMac. Get Cobb and draft a WR 15th overall and a TE 3rd round. That should help CK with Boldin.

              2. Something tells me that Ellington put in the Packers offense would have a similar impact as Cobb. And that Cobb put in the 49ers offense won’t be anywhere near as impressive as he was at the Packers.

                They are very similar athletes.

              3. Cobb looks more fluid and faster. I have not seen enough of Ellington but why can’t you have 2 explosive players who play inside and out as well as, return kicks?
                It’s not like the 49ers can’t afford it or need a tandem like this.

              4. Ellington is only 1 year younger than Cobb. Cobb caught 80 passes when he was 22. Ellington will be 24 next season.

              5. Scooter,
                I’m not particularly a big Cobb fan so I have no real vested interest in where he ends up.
                But I must disagree with the Cobb, Ellington comparison.

                If you are referring to size and speed I can see a similarity, but Ellington has yet to make his presence known on the field where as Cobb is a proven veteran.
                In fairness to Ellington he has not had many opportunities to make any noise and he could still become a very productive player once and if he gets the opportunity.

                I don’t see us making a big splash for a FA WR because except for Boldin, we have not had much success in that area.
                R.Moss was only a shell of himself (although the defense still respected his reputation), and Stevie Johnson was likely just insurance if Crabtree or Boldin got injured.

                I still see us going after a top 5 WR in this year’s draft.
                Cooper
                White
                Parker
                DGB
                Smith / Dorsett (I have them tied for the 5th spot)
                My gut is Parker, but if he’s off the board it’s DGB.

              6. AES, I was referring to athletically similar. I’m not saying Ellington is as developed as Cobb is right now, but he has similar traits and could be a similar player. Getting Cobb means they aren’t going to develop Ellington.

                Ellington is highly unlikely to ever put up numbers similar to Cobb in the 49ers offense. If he was in the Packers offense they would use him very similarly to Cobb, and I expect he’d be pretty darn successful too.

                Prime, why would you want two guys that are effectively the same player when the role they play is such a specific one? Cobb is primarily a slot WR/RB. You don’t need two of those. If it was a great thing to do I am sure the Packers would have drafted another player like Cobb (say, Ellington) by now.

                Grant, was Cobb playing basketball and football in college, or did he focus his time on football? That makes a big difference in development.

              7. Scooter, Cobb is more and capable of more than being a slot WR or kick returner. He’s dynamic and can play on the outside and inside and in the backfield. Kinda like how the Pats use Edleman.

              8. Prime, I believe Ellington has that ability too. But both guys will spend most of their time as a slot WR.

              9. We don’t know what Ellington can do cause he hasn’t done anything.Cobb is proven. That’s why I think he has the ability to do more. Add the fact GB used him all over the field.

              10. Prime, why bother drafting any players, ever, with that philosophy? If you only ever want to bring in players that have shown they can succeed in the NFL, FA is the only way.

              11. I never said that. Look at the Niners situation at WR. They have an aging veteran, some young prospects and that’s pretty much it. No big play capability and no real downfield threat or explosiveness. Cobb is worth the money and risk because he is young and proven.
                You don’t like trading up, you don’t like free agent acquisitions so what are you? You are a hand sitter. Hand sitters don’t win at anything.

              12. Oh Prime, you crack me up.

                You want Cobb. I get it, he’s a good player. But you aren’t willing to find a Cobb like player without spending the big $$ needed on him. The 49ers already have a guy with a similar skill set waiting in the wings but instead of giving him a shot in that role you think the team should go sign his ready formed replacement. Its a Redskins like move.

                It would make far more sense to bring in a FA that has a different skill set to the young guys they have recently drafted. A Torrey Smith for example.

                I’ve already said I think the more likely scenario this year is they will trade up or stay pat. So I assume you are basing my “don’t like to trade up” idea on last year. Last year I didn’t like the idea of a huge trade up that would have cost a lot of draft capital. Not for a team that you only had to look at the contract situations of players to know would have a lot of turnover the this year and the next couple of years, so needed to bring in young guys to replace them. Not in a draft that had such incredible depth in it to be getting good players all the way down to the 4th and 5th rounds.

                I know you like to think they could have held off and just brought in a bunch of rookies this year for those spots and expect them to be able to step in straight away, but quite frankly that is a very unrealistic expectation.

                And I have never said they shouldn’t bring in FAs. Just that salary cap situation being what it is they can’t go get all the big name players that make fans giddy.

                The draft is and always will be where the team needs to build through.

              13. The Niners have successfully built through the draft the last 3 years. Now it’s time to supplement it with free agency and or moving up to get some big play capability.
                You are confident Ellington has the same skill set as Cobb? Only difference is Cobb has done it and can do more. A smart OC will be able to use 2 players with similar skill set in different ways.

              14. If the got Cobb I’d be ecstatic Prime, no doubt about that. But I would fear it would mean that Ellington would become something of an after thought.

                I agree a creative offensive mind could likely find a way to get two WRs like Cobb and Ellington working together, but I’m not so sure the 49ers offensive minds fit the bill. Considering that I think they are better off getting a specialist perimeter deep threat like Torrey Smith if they go the FA route, as it is something very different to what they currently have and is a skill set that is pretty important for an offense like the 49ers run.

              15. Cobb can be moved around more from the X to the Y to the Z. GB has done it with him since being drafted.
                Smith is primarily a deep threat. Both guys can return kicks but Cobb is 2 years younger and has shown that he can play anywhere.

                A deep threat WR is not someone that everyone thinks can help CK. A guy with Cobbs versatility would from the read option in the backfield to the slot to the outside.
                This guy is a special player. Ellington and Smith are not as dynamic as him. This would be a win for the 49ers and might be the kinda guy to win games singlehandedly.

            1. You don’t pay a slot receiver like Randall Cobb 9 mil a year. As others mentioned Ellington has a very similar skill set to Cobb but a lot cheaper. Niners need a outside vertical threat. Just my opinion.

              1. And Cobb can do both. He’s not just a slot WR. He can play all over the field and return kicks. He’s worth the money.

        1. Scooter….In your previous post, you showed reluctance to endorse this years draft as ‘plentiful, or bountiful’….I tend to disagree with you in the fact that I believe that there appears to be a whole bunch of quality players that will assure a good draft at least through the fourth round. I don’t disagree to the point that there will be a “show-stopper” at positions of every need, but good solid players. You did mention that there was a bounty of edge rushers in this years group, and I agree…but I see at least 6-8 good QB candidates, and probably the same amount of Quality OL and DL. I do respect the amount and quality of your research, but I’m Irish, and therefore very optimistic. I believe that if the 49er scouting staff has
          ‘both oars in the water’, they will also uncover several gems in the FA and UFA groups….ithappewns every year, and some from the CFA. I believe that we’re going to go into camp very strong. Oh, and I couldn’t be happier with the coaching changes….just saying….

          1. Oregon, I’m not sure which comment you are referring to, but I think you misunderstood. I don’t think this year has a below average level of talent. Just that it isn’t as deep as last year. And as with every draft there are some positions that are deeper than others.

            1. @Scooter….sorry for that, it was your 3/1 2:17 post…also, I may have misread that….there were more and shinier things in last years draft…but several didn’t bear fruit. I like this years draft, and I like where the niners sit in draft position.

  8. Baalke will have the roster “Top 3” in the league as usual. The key 2 our season will be 2 stay HEALTHY & COACHING!!!. . . I think the 49ers will be just fine!

  9. I think the Borland trade could move us in the top 10. But we should keep him as insurance for #52&#53. I think Willis will be fine, a little worried about Bowman tho. (As far as returning ALL THE WAY BACK 2 PRE-INJURY FORM)

  10. Trade Boreland ?… are you kidding ?

    I think it would be more than prudent to find out how
    Patrick and Navarro are.. first .. before
    thinking about dumping Boreland

      1. Hope yer wrong, MidWest ..

        cuz .. my #52 jersey still looks almost new !

        (I hate to think I spent a C-note on the darn thing
        and he won’t even be on the team !)

        1. He also pointed out that Baalke wasn’t as straightforward with his answer as he was about whether Davis would be back or not.

  11. Not really surprised by Johnson’s release. It seems clear that Baalke is attempting to revamp the receiving group entirely and I wouldn’t be shocked if the Johnson release is a sign of things to come.

  12. I HOPE 49ers MAKE THE RIGHT DECISION FOR THE TEAM. JED AND TRALKE MAKE THE BETTER AND EXCITING. THE DEFENSE BETTER THAN LAST YEAR THAT KEY ASWELL THE OFFENSE HAVE MOVE THE BALL BETTER PASSING MOST IMPROVE BETTER ALSO. DON’T TALK ABOUT IT. JUST DO IT.

  13. I don’t see the big need to get a WR in the first couple of rounds. When considering the QB’s skill set as a passer what we have in receivers is more then good enough. If they’re going to stick with Kaepernick then go and get a G or a CB in the first round or two, those are where their real needs lie at the moment.

    1. CFC,
      There are still quality G’ and CB’ on the second day. We have Marcus Martin and Brandon Thomas who were highly regarded in college and could be very good players for us.

      If Scherff is there at 15, I would be very tempted to grab him because he is far and away the top O-Lineman with the 2 top player at that position a good length behind.
      But there will still be very good O-Lineman on the second day to choose from.

      With Crabtree likely gone and with Stevie waving goodbye there is a need for a top WR opposite Boldin. And if CK/offense is to advance this season he needs to take the occasional shot downfield to keep the defense honest.

      Crabtree and Boldin were very similar in that they are more good route and physical type WR’s. Without an outside threat our offense will be to predictable (run, run, short pass).

      Seattle is still the cream of the crop in the West Div. and we saw what quick WR’s can do to disrupt their ironclad defense.

      Patton, Ellington are not 1st tier WR’s and may only be 3rd tier at best. That thought alone make me look to a first tier WR in this year’s draft.
      Now, if Scherff (or Waynes) falls on our lap I would be fine with either of them and find a 2nd tier WR in the 2nd rd that could be a difference maker.

      1. I think the team needs to consider an OL in the first or second round, I shouldn’t have been so specific in mentioning G. I see our entire OL as a question mark in one way or another at the moment. Staley is getting older and appears to be showing signs of it. Iupati is gone and the rookie center struggled although improved. Boone and Thomas are both question marks in there own way, will Boone want to stick around and is Thomas any good? Davis struggled with injury and “concussion” issues last season. If we’re indeed going to refocus on being a run first team then our first priority should be in solidifying that offensive line.

        If the 49ers lose Culliver they need a starting CB.

        With a run first mentality and a QB that has regressed and shows limited capacity to consistently perform from the pocket I don’t see the need to spend our first couple of picks on a “#1 WR.” Unless you want to precede or follow up that pick with a QB that will perform better in the pocket.

        1. CFC- The difference in this offense between having a deep threat and not having one is pretty obvious. We could play the “Chicken and the Egg” game for a while – how much are Kaeps problems related to the lack of a deep threat- among the other issues that reared their ugly head all last year. It is presumptive to just rule out the lack of a deep threat as a cause and just assume that it was because Kaep couldn’t hit receivers on long routes even if they existed. The history of the previous two season proves you wrong. But it does seem to reflect your overall agenda and that seems to be what is more important to you.

          Wake up and smell yourself- Coffee!

          1. The history of the previous two season proves you wrong.
            —————
            Which history is that?

            “Wake up and smell yourself-”

            That was clever enough for Razor to enjoy, congrats that’s esteemed company for your sense of humor.

          2. Willtalk….
            ” The history of the previous two seasons proves you wrong.”

            Can you do everything today that you could two years ago?

        2. CFC,
          I’m not ready to give up on CK. He underachieved last year but the team as a whole was not the same team we had become familiar with the previous three seasons.

          CK MUST to be better than last year, period. And if he is our starter as already stated by Baalke and JT, he will need better weapons surrounding him on offense.
          One of those weapons has to be a WR that can get open downfield.

          Yes, I agree with your analysis of our current O-line, but I don’t see any immediate needs there except for Iupati and Thomas will likely fill that spot.

          While there are players presently on the team (Marcus, Brandon) that could step in and help keep the O-line sustainable, we don’t have that luxury at the WR spot if Crabtree and Stevie are gone.

          1. I’m not sure it’s as much about giving up on CK as it is playing to the strength of the team and where they say they wan’t to focus. It could be an over reaction to a down year and that’s fair but at the same time the OL is more important to this offense then having a speedy #1 WR. If I’m wrong on my predictions then we’re fine but if not we’re left bare or thin at positions more important to the functionality of this offense then having whatever type of receiver everyone seems to think we need.

            When we made it to the SB and championship games was it because we had an elite #1 WR or an elite defense and OL? Or more fairly, which had a larger part in the success of the team. There was plenty of talk at the time about how we had the best offensive line in football and I don’t remember hearing much talk about our WR corp and yet we still had a pretty good run there. When our offensive line struggles clearly the offense, which played with most of the same receivers it’s had struggles as well. If we had a pocket QB that could hurt defenses with his arm instead of his legs then I would be more in line for using a first or second pick on getting him a new weapon but that isn’t what we have and that isn’t what this offense needs to be successful.

            The success of the previous draft class has created extra pressure this year for teams to not miss out on one of the perceived elite talents and it could be forcing teams to think they need to select a WR sooner then they really need to.

            1. “When we made it to the SB and championship games was it because we had an elite #1 WR or an elite defense and OL? Or more fairly, which had a larger part in the success of the team. ”

              Although he was on the downside of his career, defenses had to respect Randy Moss. Once we lost that deep threat, defenses no longer had respect for our receivers and were able to put 8 in the box and stop the run. I’m no expert, but it seems to me that an 8 in the box “scheme” usually will beat a good OL when the offense is trying to run. We didn’t punish defenses for playing that scheme. I think the Cowboys are a good example. They had a great OL last year, but they also had WRs that made defenses respect them and, of course, they had Murray. If defenses stacked the box to stop Murray, Romo would punish them with the pass and vice versa.

              I’m beginning to realize myself that scheme is very important; perhaps as important as good players.

              1. “We didn’t punish defenses for playing that scheme.”

                I would point to your last paragraph in this regard. We’ve had a speedy wr that can stretch the field and make defenses stop putting 8 in the box but the team has refused to use Vernon Davis in this respect.

              2. I’d be curious to know the stat on how many times defenses put double coverage on Moss during his tenure with us. That would tell you just how much opposing defenses feared Moss.

              3. You know, I recently watched the first game CK started. It was against Chicago in 2012. Jon Gruden was gushing about the complexity of the SF offense and the sheer volume of plays that we had. He was amazed at CK’s understanding and execution of those plays. CK did play great that game,no doubt about it. He even threw a touchdown after going through his progressions and finding what I think was the 3rd receiver on that play.

                After I watched that game I was shaking my head wondering what the hell has happened. I still can’t figure it out.

                Good question about stats on double teams of Moss. As I wrote my post, I was thinking it would have been nice to have a stat like that to post.

            2. CFC,
              I hear what you’re saying, and yes, our O-line and Defense were top-shelf.
              But we had Crabtree and Vernon (and Delanie Walker) who were performing at peak level during that run which gave opposing defenses a little more to contend with.

              But imo, the lack of a true deep threat during that run may have limited the offense. As I mentioned earlier, Randy “freankin” Moss was our one true deep threat and coincidently, that was the last time during our playoff run that we made it to the Superbowl.

              Like you, I also feel we could use more help on the O-line but unless Scherff is there at 15, I wait until 2-4 rds to find one.

              There is some very good value at WR in this draft and at 15 we could get one that could be a difference maker.
              Again, Cooper and White will likely be gone, but Parker and or DGB could be immediate starters that could pay quick dividends for us.

      2. Yep AES and must to admit to seriously wanting Ali Marpet as a 49er even though he projects as a OG in the pros,He played OT and can center as well.

  14. I don’t see Borland being traded, we need him for insurance this season and he will probably be starting season after next. Don’t see Willis and Bowman both here after this season. Perhaps just one them. Hoping Willis, Borland and Bowman have a great season because I don’t have faith in our offense.

  15. This team has too much talent to be bad…but it also had plenty of talent in the last year or two under Singletary. Coaching matters, so we’ll see.

    I am hoping that the dog-years aging process in the NFL takes down the Seahawks, but they’re still big/strong/fast and RW is a good, cagey, resourceful qb.

    Until proven otherwise, I submit that Baalke has not shown that he either understands the importance of having a game breaking WR (the absence was obvious from the NFC championship game vs the NYG – and no, the aging Randy Moss does not count) or that he has the ability to draft a playmaker at WR or RB (the jury being out on Hyde, both statistically and from the fact that he couldn’t/hasn’t obviously beat out a RB who is ancient by NFL standards). I am happy to eat crow if he snags one in this draft, but the chatter about drafting OL has me mildly nauseated. Nauseated would normally be too strong a feeling, but coming in the aftermath of promoting your Dline coach to HC…ugh.

    1. fesncy– I think Baalke does understand the importance of a deep threat receiver because he draft AJ, whom he thought would fulfill that role. He just isn’t a good judge of talent in respect to receivers so last year he played it safe by using those multiple picks on a talent deep draft class which was sure to produce multiple keepers. It is also very possible that giving Harbaugh what he wanted would have made it much less justifiable to get rid of him which seemed to have been the plan all along. I , along with many others, do not believe that York/Baalke would not be above sacrificing the teams short term goals in order to justify getting rid of Harbaugh.

      1. Too bad the NFL did not make a special exemption and allow him to come in and perform at the combine.

        He looks like a great athlete but great athletes don’t necessarily translate to the NFL.
        Renaldo Nehemiah was a word record holder in track but could make the leap to the NFL.
        Our own Lawrence Okoye has not been able to break through after a couple of years.

        We just don’t have any evidence that these type of athletes can become good to great football players when they have to put on football gear.

          1. Nehemiah was just in the wrong system to utilize his speed and skill set. The Niner’s ran too many crossing patterns. He might have done better with another team.

            The final results on Okoye is still out. We should get a clearer picture this coming season. He is still presently on his projected time line. Remember he had that one season of development interrupted by injury. Last year was just his first active year. He was always expected to spend at least one year on the practice squad. This coming training camp will tell all.

  16. C4C….I agree with you….aside from the fact that this year is a great WR year (20 or more) I do not have confidence that CK is going to advance to being an above average QB. This means that we’re going to face “8 in the box” every game again, and the end of the season will be another no playoff year, and we still won’t be in a position to improve our chances to get a ‘pro-set’ playbook established. The Run-and-shoot, the pistol, one read and run, will be much more difficult to replace than to implement, meanwhile our players will be a year or two older, and time DOES take it’s toll. Get a passing QB, and reestablish the WCO….

        1. I’ve been right here but I’ve got nothing to contribute to the current discussions. Yes, I’m sure that I’m speaking about Baalke and not Jed York. All Jed wants is a Superbowl win. He knows nothing about how to get there. Baalke and Harbaugh are true believers in power football even when it doesn’t work. They both want to tell defense were the ball is going and them over power that defense. Nothing could be further from Bill Walsh’s strategy. Walsh not only took the “easy” options, he caused them to be there in the first place. Still it only worked, from Jed’s prospective, three out of ten seasons for Walsh.

          1. “I’ve been right here but I’ve got nothing to contribute to the current discussions. ”

            Ha. You must be kidding. :)

            1. Nope. Not kidding. I don’t follow the draft until the 49ers start making choices, and I don’t know enough to pick free agents. There are people here in this blog who really put a serious effort into both topics, so I just read and try to remember.

              I’m working my way through selected 49er “replay” games to keep me occupied. Just got to the 2011 Detroit game last night. It still makes me smile.

              1. All kidding aside, I did notice that you hadn’t posted in quite awhile and was wondering if you were okay. Glad to hear you are.

          2. Hi Yoda. How sure are you that Jed (I’m thinking about starting to call him J-hole) wants Superbowl wins? I’m doubtful, basing that opinion on where he put the stadium and how he constructed it. The stadium does not provide a home field advantage, which IMO say everything you need to know about the priorities of ownership.

            1. George, you’re right cash flow and family profit are numbers one and two, but winning the Superbowl is Jed’s top football interest. My wife went to the Levy’s Sharks game. She said that, just like the football games, there were a lot of people doing something other than watching the game from their seats. It would be interesting to compare concessions income at Candlestick and Levy’s stadiums.

          3. So that puts it all on Baalke to get us there. I think he wants it and suspect that his preferred version of power football differs from Harbaugh’s. Whatever the case may be, though, it all depends on the offensive play calling, the QB, and the oline.

          4. HT ….What if the players on the roster don’t leave him that choice…? If we’re less than 3-3 six games into the season, call it a rebuilding year…

            1. Do you mean Baalke? He picked them. Also, I don’t ever expect Baalke to call any year a “rebuilding” year. That would mean he would be admitting more than one 2012 draft class.

      1. Have you watched the Montana football life NFL program? I enjoyed the comments Montana made about Walsh driving him crazy insisting that the ball always be in stride one foot in front of the numbers on every pass.

        Without Walsh’s attention to detail and his over riding concepts, today’s WCO is a pale diluted reflection of the Bill Walsh’s offense.

        1. htwaits…what a beautiful quote, and even more beautiful standard…I’ll bet that Joe is happy that BW was insistant while driving him crazy…rear view mirror

  17. Borland is insurance, reminds me of Zach Thomas. He’s not going anywhere. I wish they would have cut sj sooner and used that money to resign Gore. Hyde is a question to carry the load, but replacing the best pass blocking rb in football would be his biggest challenge. Maybe sj comes back at a much lower figure, since he likely won’t find a deal out there anywhere close to 6/yr.
    A little concerned about the secondary, which is why we should take trae mason, imo. Also I would like to see ward get a look at fs, in case Reid goes down again.
    I truly believe last year was an aberration for Kap, they forced him to be pocket passer. This year, I hope they get him outside the pocket more. Boots, naked boots, play action…..with a pinch of read option sprinkled in. If he gets back in gear, and the players play their hearts out for Ron Jeremy like we expect, Niners could shock some people. Need to get Levi rocking tho, too sterile and neutral. Passionate fans can’t afford tickets anymore, tragic.

    1. dReed- I think that last year presented the worst possible scenario to transition Kaep into a pocket passer. The problems with the Oline and VD’s Injury/lack of effort made it very difficult. Being over loaded with possession receivers and no deep threat, etc. I think they just bit off a bit more than they could chew.

      To get someone to function outside their usual comfort zone you have to make the new zone as comfortable as possible. Want someone to function in a pocket, you have to provide a CONSISTANT pocket to function in.

      The reality is that we don’t know if Kaep could have transitioned within a better environment. Still it would have made more sense to make the transition gradually and not all at once. Let him run his thing this season and in time it might just happen naturally with more experience.

      I also hold out more hope for this team than a lot of other fans presently expect. Well in the words of Forests mother. Every new season is like a box of chocolates. You don’t know what you get until you take a bite.

  18. First, most of the NFL sucks. The better question is are we as good as the top tier teams of NE, Seattle, Green Bay, Ravens, Broncos, Lions, Cowboys or Colts? Defensively yes, offensively, no way. That is why taking a WR and RB in first two rounds is critical. I would take Parker, Beckham or Strong @ 15 and trade up to grab either Gurley or Ajayi. You plug two of those players (WR and RB) into our starting rotation and we look much different offensively. Agree?

  19. In the weeks following the 2014 draft, I heard it would have cost the 49ers a whopping picks 30+56+2015 first rounder(15).

    Yup… two firsts and a second. A huge chart buster. The equivalent trade chart loss of the 21rst pick overall… about 780 points.

    But that’s just rumors. I’ve also heard picks 30+56+77 might have done the trick. That’s about right in terms of chart value… but the 2014 draft class was so deep, picks 30+56+77 were likely starters. It would have been a painful.

    Anyone have the real skinny on exactly what the trade-up demands were?

    Going from pick 30 to pick 12 is a pretty tall order, assuming the NYGs would have agreed to a trade. The Titans 11 might be the more willing trade partner. Had I somehow been at pick 12, I might have taken Aaron Donald anyway.

    Contrast with the cost of trading up for Eric Reid

    It only costs picks 31+74 to move up for the Cowboys pick 18. An 80 point chart gain for Baalke. The equivalent of a mid-high 4th round. Cowboy fans were livid.

    1. Correction in brackets.

      “In the weeks following the 2014 draft, I heard it would have cost the 49ers a whopping picks 30+56+2015 first rounder(15) …[to trade up for Oldell Beckham]”

  20. She must be angling for a Bay Area job. From PFT:

    “NBC Washington’s Dianna Marie Russini reports free agent Chris Culliver is “one of the most sought after cornerbacks” on the open market. Culliver is “graded high” by many teams and is expected to net a “big time deal.” This comes a week after PFT’s Mike Florio reported something similar, saying GMs and coaches were talking Culliver up at the Combine. At 6-foot and 199 pounds, Culliver has the size most teams covet in outside cornerbacks.”

  21. Looks like DeMarco Murray will make it to free agency. I’m curious what others think with regards to pursuing him. I’ve heard Baalke seems to think that a good running back can be had in the later rounds of the draft. But if Gore doesn’t return, should we at least contemplate Murray. I know RBs have been devalued, but I don’t know how much we’d have to pay to get Murray. $4 to $5 million annually?

    1. cubus,
      I don’t know if anyone has toed the Frank Gore line more than I have over the years, but at this point in his career if FG re-ups with the 49ers he has to take a back-seat to C.Hyde.

      With the type of monies Gore is bring to the table, I don’t see the FO giving him what he’s asking only to have him be a backup.

      I like Murray a lot, but I wouldn’t sign him at the risk of hampering Hyde’ progress.

      1. AES:

        I’ve been a big FG fan and I admit I was surprised by his running at the end of last year. But i think it’s time for him to retire. I just can’t get that image out of my mind where he went to block out Bobby Wagner in the 2nd Seattle game last year. He hit Wagner and bounced off of him and got injured. Wagner looked around like he had been hit by a fly. Maybe a bit of an exaggeration, but it wasn’t a good look.

  22. I like adding darnell docket 1 year deal if we can get him at the right price. Even if justin smith stays. DL would be vastly improved if docket is healthy

  23. my offseason:

    current players to resign-
    P. Cox-CB (culliver will be too expensive)
    C.Cook-CB(min deal, looked good when he was healthy)
    M. Wilhoite-ILB
    TJE-DL
    K. nelson-LS

    outside players to sign
    J. Freeman-QB
    D. Docket-DL
    K. Britt-WR

    Draft
    1st- La’el Collins (grant like this pick, he would help the run game)
    2nd-D. Smith WR OSU(speed guy)
    3rd-Za’Darius Smith-OLB depth and if aldon cant stay out of trouble
    4th-David Johnson, RB depth behind Hyde
    5th-Nick Boyle-TE
    6th-OT complete with martin for backup role
    7th-Cody Fajardo-QB
    7th-K future replacement for Dawson

    QB-Kap, freeman (another low priced vet), Cody Fajardo(practice squad)
    RB-Hyde, David Johnson, KH and bring in another uFA to compete for spot
    FB-MIller, Millard
    TE-VD, Vance, Carrier, Boyle
    WR-Boldin, Britt, Smith, Ellington , Patton, UFA to compete for spot
    LT-Staley-6th round pick
    LG-Collins-Thomas
    C-Kilgore-Martin
    RG-Boone
    RT-Davis

    DE-Smith-Tank
    DT-Williams-Dorsey
    DE-Docket-TJE
    OLB-Lynch-Za’Darius Smith
    ILB-Willis-Borland
    ILB-bow-wilhoite
    OLB-Smith-lemonior
    CB-Brock
    CB-Cox
    CB-johnson
    S-Bathea
    S-Reid
    S-Ward

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