Five players the 49ers should watch closely at the Combine

San Diego State running back Rashaad Penny runs against San Jose State during an NCAA college football game against San Jose State Saturday, Nov. 4, 2017, in San Jose, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

It’s way too early to make a mock draft. Mock draft season starts after the Combine, which will begin on March 2.

While we wait for the Combine, name one running back, one wide receiver, one offensive lineman, one edge rusher and one cornerback you’re interested to see at that event.

Here’s my list:

Running back: Rashaad Penny, San Diego State. A 5-11, 220-pounder who had 29 runs of at least 2o yards and 12 runs of at least 40 yards in 2017. For a comparison, Carlos Hyde had only six runs of at least 20 yards and just one run of at least 40 yards this season. If Penny runs a 4.5 40-yard dash, he could replace Hyde.

Wide receiver: Terry Godwin, Georgia. A 5-11, 185-pounder who averaged 16.8 yards per catch in 2017. If Godwin runs a 4.4 40-yard dash, he could replace Aldrick Robinson as the backup split end. Robinson is coming off a bad season and will turn 30 in September.

Offensive lineman: Quenton Nelson, Notre Dame. A 6-4, 330-pounder who is considered the best guard in the draft. Is he athletic enough to play in Shanahan’s outside zone running scheme?

Edge rusher: Jeff Holland, Auburn. A 6-2, 249-pounder who recorded 9.5 sacks in 2017. Will he be available when the 49ers pick late in the second round or early in the third round?

Cornerback: Tarvarus McFadden, Florida State. A 6-1, 198-pounder who intercepted eight passes in 2016 but none in 2017. Was 2016 an aberration?

This article has 310 Comments

  1. Running back: Nick Chubb, Georgia. Seems like Michel’s been getting the love as of late. Think Chubb could be the perfect thunder to Breida’s thunder. If he runs a sub 4.5 he’ll be drafted higher than we should take him. But if he runs a 4.6 but shows good quickness, could be good value for us. Shanny RBs dont have to be blazing fast, just quick i.e. Devonta Freeman.

    Wide receiver: Marcell Ateman, Oklahoma State. According to Andrew Hawkins, Shannahan “needs a speed guy. He needs a guy who is faster than everybody else on the field. That’s a big part of his offense. He needs a tough guy. He needs a guy who is going to catch the ball over the middle, be tough as nails and be a little versatile. He needs a third down guy, who has great hands and will, under any circumstance, can move the sticks.” But perhaps a prototypical X will help him even more.

    Offensive lineman: Quenton Nelson, Notre Dame. What you said.

    Edge rusher: Harold Landry, Boston College. Will he perform well enough to be worth the #9/10 pick if we miss out on our preferred top prospects?

    Cornerback: Kyzir White, West Virginia. Brandon Browner anyone?

    1. Chubb had a poor showing and I don’t know if he’s worth looking at tbh. Especially when he performed the way he did on the grand stage against NFL caliber talent.

    2. Not sold on Chubb hes a shell of himself sense his last injury, two years ago I thought he would be the over all number one pick.
      Nelson or OT ya.
      Landry spot on with that pick.
      CB free agency and draft one in the early mid rounds.

    3. There are some very good FA backs coming up: Coleman and Bell topping the list. Plus, you can find quality backs later in the draft. So, why should the use a high draft pick on a back when you can get a proven playmaker on a four-year deal?

        1. No, he’s not. Now I just need to remember where I read it and put them on my ‘not reliable’ list.

    4. Da’ron Payne, Alabama. He was the highest rated player (pro football focus)
      In the national title game and he was a key cog in Alabama’s top rated defense.

  2. I like your five to watch. I am particularly hopeful regarding Quenton Nelson. If he is athletic enough he may be like Logan Mankins who could be plugged into the line and play for 10+ years. I love watching his highlights.

    The Combine is important, in my opinion, to confirm measurables. It is instructive to watch Combine warriors rise to the top when they have not produced on the field. Teams (and fans) fall in love with some athletic specimen who has never really produced on the field. I try to take a snapshot of projected draft order before the combine and compare to after the combine. My supposition, and it is just a supposition, is that the projected order of pre Combine draft picks will be a better projection of production on the field. Admittedly, the combine does allow teams to have face to face meetings with players and teams should be able to help weed out obvious head cases. (I wonder if Baalke ever took those conversations seriously, he sure seemed to draft a bunch of players who could not self motivate.)

    1. Good post LeoN
      Polian likes to say the Combine is to confirm some physical questions and very much for the interviews, but you draft off tape.

    2. I’m a big fan of Quenton Nelson so thats who I’m hoping for with the 49ers first pick. Kinda curious how Shanahan/Lynch view him though. He’s a big strong guy who may be best suited to a power running team. I’d love to see that presentation Shanahan did for the coaches last year where he laid out exactly what he’s looking for in every position. It may be that Nelson just isn’t a great fit for Shanahan’s offense where athleticism from o-lineman seems to be prized above strength and size.

      1. Nelson is definitely a tad taller and about 30lbs heavier than the prototypical Shanahan OG.

        1. Wayyyy back when….Al Davis drafted Gene Upshaw specifically to match-up against Buck Buchanan. Pretty hard to find a match-up for Aaron Donald!
          : -o

  3. Running back: Sony Michel, Georgia. At 5-11, 215 pounds he sticks his foot in the dirt, and gets up field quicker than a babysitter’s boyfriend when the car pulls up.

    Wide receiver: Jordan Lasley, UCLA. He’s 6-1, 190 pounds with a Shanny prerequisite, speed. Every time he touches the ball, he’s a threat to take it home.

    Offensive lineman: Quenton Nelson, Notre Dame. A man at 6-4, 330 pounds that finishes blocks with extreme prejudice. Some question his schematic fit, but those people haven’t studied his tape. He’s more than athletic enough.

    Edge rusher: Harold Landry, Boston College. At 6-3, 250 pounds he’d be a situational pass rusher with an arsenal of moves. He’s got the bend, and speed to power that you look for to sick the quarterback.

    Cornerback: Isaiah Oliver, Colorado. At 6′, 190 pounds he’s the most gifted athlete at his position. He’s long, physical with long speed, having been a former track star.

    1. Edge rusher: Harold Landry, Boston College. At 6-3, 250 pounds he’d be a situational pass rusher with an arsenal of moves. He’s got the bend, and speed to power that you look for to sick the quarterback.

      Cornerback: Isaiah Oliver, Colorado. At 6′, 190 pounds he’s the most gifted athlete at his position. He’s long, physical with long speed, having been a former track star.

      Love these two prospects. With Landry I’ll be more interested in his 10 yard split and strength. I just want to make sure he has the explosion needed for his size as he doesn’t have great length.

      In Oliver’s case I need to see how fluid his hips are and how fast he can change direction… these are the same questions normally associated with bigger corners however. Oliver is a player I would like to target in the second if he drops a bit as I would trade up for him.

  4. Holland had 9.5 sacks, 12.5 in his career. At least read the stats right if you’re going to act smarter than everyone else.

    1. what are you talking about? He said 9.5 sacks in 2017. Nothing about career. Are you saying he didn’t have 9.5 sacks in 2017?

  5. To me the combine is a chance to see how the lesser name players compare to the guys everybody knows. I’ve started watching a number of players and these are a few that have my attention early.

    Running back: Akrum Wadley – Iowa

    Well versed in the zone scheme and catches the ball well. I’m interested to see how he tests in the speed and quickness drills.

    Wide Receiver: Michael Gallup – Colorado State

    Big time production and decent size.

    OL: Desmond Harrison – West Georgia

    Former Texas recruit who got kicked off the team for failed drug tests but has been a model citizen at WGU. May test extremely well at the combine.

    Edge Rusher: Marcel Frazier- Missouri

    From what I’ve seen of this kid he plays faster than his size dictates he should. Anxious to see how he times.

    Cornerback: J.C. Jackson – Maryland

    Really impressed with this kid’s size and athleticism.

  6. 1. Harold Landry – EDGE – BC
    2. Nick Nelson – CB – Wisconsin
    3. Isaiah Wynn – G – Georgia
    4. Simmie Cobbs – WR – Indiana
    5. Bryce Love – Stanford

    1. Does Landry have the length and explosiveness to be a top 10 pick?

    2. Nelson is one of only 2 CB’s with 20+ passes defensed in 2017, tied with Josh Jackson.

    3. Wynn has the perfect size for Shanahan’s offense. Does he have the athleticism?

    4. Good size. Want to see his speed and quickness.

    5. Is he healthy?

    1. “2. Nelson is one of only 2 CB’s with 20+ passes defensed in 2017, tied with Josh Jackson.”

      I like both of them. We’ll have some options at CB in the draft and free agency. Upgrading the CB position is a must.

  7. Good list. I’m all for drafting Nelson. He held his own and more against a talented Miami DL. It’s hard to do a mock draft before free agency.

    Not sure if draft a HB this year. Shanny will be sick if he doesn’t get a good look at Williams this year. Breida has potential and there’s a small chance Hyde returns.

  8. I like the FSU CB… interesting to see outcome at combine and where he will be projected to go. I suspect he will be gone by the time we select in second.

    If a splashy value drops to us at 9/10 then grab him… a la Crabtree, but that was all hype, no???…. anyway if the PSU RB is there, “I guess” take him… but we need to continue to build the foundation of this team. Meaning the RBs and WRs can be had taken in later rounds and/or FA…or trade DUN DUN DUUUNNNN!

    Is Garnet a good fit for this team? Tomlinson improved later in the year, but do we fully trust him or any Guard on this team… Do we fully trust Foster’s injury history, or Malcom Smith or Coyle (who came on later in the year)… MY POINT is I think we need to hedge and continue to build the OL and front 7. The Notre Dame G and T… or the George and Alabama LB might be more feasible and a sure thing. Perhaps we can trade back a bit and grab Alabama LB.

  9. RB: Sony Michel Georgia 5-11, 212
    WR: Christian Kirk Texas A&M 5-11, 200
    OL Quenton Nelson Notre Dame 6-4, 330/ Connor Williams OT Texas 6-6, 290
    EDGE: Ogbonnia Okoronkwo Oklahoma 6-1 242
    CB: Isiah Oliver Colorado 6-1, 190

    I think Penny is going to come in around 4.6 or higher which would put him in the Hyde range.

        1. Not at all. He had a torn meniscus and sprained MCL and ACL in mid-September. He rested and rehabbed it, no surgery, and came back for the last 2 games. The scouts said that he looked like he did before the injury. I was hoping that his injury would scare other teams away, a la Reuben Foster. You know that he’ll be checked out thoroughly by every team’s doctors.

          1. When a player struggles at the college level to stay on the field, it always gives me pause at the next level when you’re talking about taking him top 10. As for Foster, if he doesn’t change the way he plays, his career will probably be over in 4 years….

  10. Hey, everybody. Don’t forget that free agency takes pressure off of the draft, to a certain point. When we got Jimmy G., we no longer need to think about any of these top QB’s. There’s good free agents out there that want to come to SF because of our resurgence. We probably have some new bandwagon jumpers, now. Me, I stuck with my boys through thick ( Harbaugh ) and thin ( Tomsula and Kelly ). Now it’s getting thick ( Shanahan ) again as the 49ers are starting to gel. Niner Faithful for life.

    1. I agree with you for what you said, and I’m a die hard fan like you, I have never gave up on them once, it
      really bothers me when people say there are fans, but put them down for everything they do, they are not real
      fans, there are most likely Raider fans.

  11. One guy I am interested in seeing at the combine is Hercules Mata’afa. He was highly disruptive but often played as a DT despite being around 250 – 260 lbs. He’ll be a DE in the NFL most likely, and I would like to see how fast he is to see if he can play the edge.

    1. One player I’m looking forward to seeing play in the Senior bowl is, Brian O’Neill, LT, Pittsburgh.

  12. What interests me from the combine:

    – Non performance numbers and health info. Especially players like Arden Key. Is he really 6′ 6″ 265 lbs? If so he’s incredibly quick for someone that big. How are the injuries that plagued his last season coming along?
    How does he explain his mystery absences? (We won’t hear them, but rumors about how well players interviewed usually come out)

    – 49ers/Raiders coin flip

    – Agents, owners and GMs outlining trades and contracts

  13. Niners may bring in an Lb or two.

    All I know is that Mike Singletary coached with 49er from 2005 -2010 and it’s no coincidence that Patrick Willis was a Pro Bowler from the day he was drafted, 2007-20013.

    It never hurts to have famous NFL linebackers coaching up your players like Ken Norton Jr. will Rueben Foster !

  14. And after this article, I expect a talented WR who spreads fear in the defensive backfield, one way or another, to be brought in for JG !

    ESPN says ‘expectations should be sky-high’ in San Francisco with 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo
    5 hours ago • 4 comments
    By David Bonilla

    “ESPN writer Matt Bowen recently ranked the new group of NFL quarterbacks to build around. Included within the list were rookie quarterbacks who started during the 2017 season and veterans, like 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, who took advantage of their opportunity to start. Also included were young players like Jared Goff of the Los Angeles Rams and Jacoby Brissett of the Indianapolis Colts who proved themselves in their sophomore seasons.

    Garoppolo completed 120 of his 178 pass attempts for an impressive 67.4 completion percentage with the 49ers this season.

    Bowen had the following to say about what he saw out of Garoppolo in 2017:

    “Yes, it’s still a small sample size, but there is no question about Garoppolo’s ability to attack tight windows, manipulate defenders with his eyes or make stick throws on the move. His tape passes the test. And I expect him to be better with more time learning Shanahan’s concepts.”

  15. Oh yea,I’m almost certain the Niners have prioritized finding Aldrick Robinsons replacement.GTFO !They have a list Grant and in all likelihood the only aforementioned player on it would be the back out of SDSU ,boy I heard u weren’t in tune with the world of College Football and now I’ve realized that wasn’t just conjecture.

    1. 1.Joshua Jackson CB Iowa
      2.Ronald Jones HB USC
      3.Quinton Meeks CB Stanford
      4.Cortland Sutton WR.Samford
      5.Via Veta DT Washington

      Those are 5 players that I guarantee you the Niners will be watching closely at the combine.

      1. If you’re going to tell someone to GTFO at least try getting the names right my friend.

      2. Sutton is a flanker. I think the 49ers like Garcon and Bourne. I doubt the Niners will draft another flanker in the first round.

        1. Shanny’s trust in Bourne seemed to grow. Scooter isn’t a fan, but he seemed ok to me as a back-up; done with waiting on Smelter. Speedster at X maybe mid rounds.
          From many comments about KS’ preferences at RB maybe Bryce Love is in his sights…….but unlikely at #10, so I get the Michel popularity in 2nd.

            1. Love is special. I would take him over Barkley and Barkley is a beast. Love just kept playing through the ankle injury. The level that he played while being hurt says a lot about him.

  16. 49ers among teams to speak with UTSA CB Devron Davis
    January 7, 2018 at 8:51 PM • 9 comments
    By David Bonilla

    On your 247 recruiting profile, it says you have a 4.40 40 yard dash! When and where did you run that ?
    “It was at Nike Sparq in California”

    At 6’0 210 Lbs, your frame is definitely NFL ready, what are some ways you make sure your size works to your advantage?
    “I’m 6’0, but I also have pretty long arms. I’m longer corner, so I try to use my size to close as much space as possible.

    TomD’s Take: Draft Wire lists Davis as the 29 rated NFL CB prospect.

  17. Sigh. Using college stats in comparison to pro stats is a huge joke.

    Herschel Walker ran for 5.2 YPC in college and routinely ripped off long runs. In the NFL.. Not so much.
    Le’Veon Bell ran for 5.0 in college, 4.3 in the pros.
    Ezekiel Elliot 6.7 YPC at Ohio State. 4.6, so far, in the pros.

    And I’m just picking the successful backs. Plenty of so-so’s to out-right failures have run well in college. My favorite cumanduppence is Barry Redden. I was so arrogantly sure he was going to be a great NFL back… Better stats than Walker & Rozier. He had great speed. He could catch. I thought ever loving world of him.

    He was an okay back. For a second-stringer playing behind one of the NFL’s all-time great offensive lines.

    But… Well let’s just say he was lesson learned.

    1. Player 1
      Att Yds Avg TD Rec Yds Avg TD

      348 1975 5.7 17 23 225 9.8 0

      Player 2

      1220 7125 5.8 71 31 304 9.8 0

      Pretty similar YPC between player 1 and player 2, however we can see player two had 4x the production of Player 1 (this is all college and all for a 4 year player). Yet Player 1 is a future HoFer, potential 1st ballot, whereas Player 2 had himself a small 7 year career but production was flipped as Player 1 had 4x the production as a pro that Player 2 did.

      Player 1 = Frank Gore, Player 2 = Ron Dayne.

      We can never know what a player is going to do once they get to the NFL, and for Grant to assume that a guy in college is just magically going to be a better player than a guy already doing it in the NFL, thats a joke, especially when its a lot easier to put up numbers in college.

  18. About Garoppolo’s sample size. He started five 49er games, but will also be evaluated by his…
    – Snaps vs Seattle
    – Games played with the Pats
    – Preseason snaps with the Pats
    – Practice tape on the 49ers
    – Practice info with the Pats (its a small world)
    – Quarterback room and film study progress
    – College game footage

    A 49er reporter recently said (forgot name) Shanahan and Lynch used Garoppolo footage to train scouts what to look for in a quarterback. Well before they had an inkling he would become a 49er.

    Its just a matter of getting a deal done.

  19. WR Calvin Ridley declares for 2018 NFL Draft
    By David Fucillo

    Ridley runs a 4.35/40 yd can take the top off the D, and is a threat to score from anywhere on the field.

    TomD’s Take: Former Shanahan WR, Andrew Hawkins said Shanahan doesn’t need a big time WR:

    “I would probably go edge rusher, corner, receiver and then guard,” Hawkins said. “I’d maybe even put (receiver) No. 4,” Hawkins said. “Very rarely do teams with a top wide receiver win the Super Bowl. That’s just not what it takes. I think you can find good receivers (everywhere). The top guys are not Super Bowl winners. Over the last 15 years, you can look at the teams with top wide receivers, and they don’t win Super Bowls. I don’t think that’s a coincidence, because I think it’s more of a chemistry thing. When you have that big time receiver who commands the ball so much, or you’re trying to get him the ball in certain situations, I think it kind of hurts the chemistry of the offense.”

    David Fucillo of SB Nation responded to Hawkins with this:

    That all makes sense, but I think we can all agree Shanahan would not turn down a pure No. 1 receiver. Shanahan’s time in Atlanta showed what he could do with a No. 1 receiver like Julio Jones. I’m not saying Ridley will be like Jones, but wide receiver could very well still end up high on the 49ers radar sooner rather than later.

    1. “Very rarely do teams with a top wide receiver win the Super Bowl” is also true of running backs. It may be that teams lacking in multiple offensive weapons have #1 receivers with jacked up stats because their other pass catchers stink.

      That said, receiver is not the biggest need.

      Needs – Edge, Corner, OT (long term), G
      Likely BPA at 9.5 – Guard (Quenton Nelson), DT ( Da’Ron Payne), ST (Derwin James)

      Looks like another draft where need and BPA don’t line up. Also another draft where the most naturally gifted player at a need position (Arden Key) is a possible head case with recent injuries.

      I haven’t studied players much yet. My BPA list is likely to change a few times before the draft.

    2. Hawkins had some good points about the mix of WRs Shanahan wants.

      Summarising, basically he said he needs one really fast guy to stretch the D, one tough as nails WR to make the tough catches over the middle, and a slot WR that gets open and catch whatever comes his way on 3rd down. 49ers got all three of those guys last offseason.

      Sure, each and every one of them can be improved on – I won’t for a second try and convince anyone these guys are elite at their position. Who wouldn’t want to upgrade Goodwin with a guy of Odell Beckham’s talent for instance? But each of them is fine as the guy in that role.

      In thinking about what WRs they “need” to get, one needs to also think about who they are replacing. Saying they should get someone like Allen Robinson means you are placing Garcon, as that is the role Robinson would play. Is Robinson really that much of an upgrade over Garcon? Not so sure.

      If they want to replace Goodwin then the player needs to be a speedster. Which FA WR will be better than Goodwin in this role? Not sure any would.

      As for Taylor, he was pretty impressive as a rookie and should only improve.

      Looking at the draft, what type of WR should they go get? Its hard to find guys that do everything like Julio Jones. More likely you will get a guy that fits the role. I think the 49ers need better depth at both of the starting spots, and the WR they draft should be based on what they get in FA, if anything. I like the idea of looking at someone like John Brown or Taylor Gabriel in FA to back up Goodwin and drafting a bigger bodied guy to back up Garcon for a year or two.

        1. I am a big Robinson fan – have been since before he was drafted. But I think a lot of 49er fans underappreciate how good Garcon is. Robinson may be an upgrade over Garcon, but in no way would it be a massive upgrade.

          1. Especially coming off a knee injury. Wrong adjective. I’m excited to see Garcon and Jimmy develop a chemistry together….

    3. It’ quite obvious they need a # one wr, and to me that is very important in Kyles offense, and I think maybe they should get a wr in the second rd., not the 4th rd.

      1. Ronald,

        You didn’t listen to a thing these men (Andrew Hawkins included) said, did you?

        Shannahan’s offense doesn’t need a #1 receiver.

        He schemes receivers open so the offense doesn’t have to rely on getting the ball to a Julio Jones play after play –wouldn’t complain if a player of that caliber fell into our lap, but it’s not necessary for the offense to succeed.

        Like Hawkins said, the teams to win a super bowl as of the last 15 years have NOT had a true #1 receiver.

        The team may be better off drafting and developing players like Cedric Wilson (late round) to eventually occupy a starting position

        1. Chris: I do like the wr’s that they have now, but they don’t one that can win the jump ball in the end zone,
          and to me that is why they don’t score td’s in the red zone has much as they could. Now getting back to Garcon, well he’s getting old and will be gone most likely after the 2018 season, so to me they need that # 1wr., but not in the first rd.

  20. I tell you what. This years draft will enable us to at least split one with the Seattle Cheathawks and an also rebuilding Arizona Cardinals. I don’t count the Rams loss because they rested half their starters. JG will be tested next year with their full squad. JG won’t remain undefeated forever, but I optimistically am thinking he can take us to the playoffs. Anybody agree?

    1. I’m not much into guarantees, but I will guarantee a playoff berth. I know guarantees tend to make people feel all warm and toasty inside. They lay their head on their pillow at night, and the Guarantee Fairy comes by and leaves a quarter, am I right, Cap’n?

  21. Darren Carrington II, WR, Utah could be an interesting specimen…likely available in rounds 4-5. Bumpy career but has size and very good speed. Decent hands too. Could have a strong combine performance. Fun to see how his interviews go.

        1. I can imagine Shanny devoting some off season time planning for this one. I can see the Niners dropping 50.

  22. There may be some help in FA at CB & OL. Depth at both in draft.
    Lawrence has issues and Ansah may end up over priced. Edge would then become a significant priority in 1st two days of the draft.
    Day#1 I’m not set on any one position if a rare talent BPA is there.
    I’m not sure Niners are as dissatisfied with Hyde as many here are, so RB might be a back burner priority. Speed WRs will get a look. TE & ILB middlin’ priorities.

    1. Haven’t studied free agent class, but it might be cheaper to get guard/center help in free agency. Corner/Edge and OT(depth) in the draft.

      1. Yep. That’s what I’m thinking. Which is harder to get: including both FA and the draft this year, edge rusher or OL?

  23. I think this team finishes 9-7 next year and out of the playoffs. Remember they’re vying for only 3 playoff spots available, and look at the list of contenders next year? It would take a great draft and key injuries to other contenders to have a decent chance:

    Philadelphia Eagles
    Minnesota Vikings
    St. Louis Rams
    New Orleans Saints
    Atlanta Falcons
    Carolina Panthers
    Green Bay Packers
    Seattle “One Year Dynasty” Seahawks
    Dallas Cowboys?
    Washington Redskins?

    We have a ton of holes to fill. Jimmy G is masking a lot of those but lack of talent will catch up to this team. I’m really hoping for a great draft because I don’t see Lynch bringing in many high profile free agents. The free agency game is a game of timing and you tap into it as soon as you know you’re a player or two away from a Super Bowl.

    1. Wrong on FA. There are too many holes to fill just through the draft, and even with an impending deal for JG @QB, the team has a ton of cap space, by rule, some of it needing to be used. FA’s arrive ready, not many rookies do.
      As to W/L and playoffs predix on 1-10-18,…….heh heh…..I’ll leave that to others.

    2. Green Bay, Atlanta, Carolina, Seattle, Washington, Dallas (Dallas??? Sheesh!), these teams are all very beatable. I see 11-5 IF… IF they draft heavy for OL. Edge rusher would be good but that’s about it.

  24. I agree with one of your 5 …and that’s Nelson. Penny’s not the kind of RB Shanahan wants…think Sony Michel…that’s what he wants. At CB, it’s Joshua Jackson first, possibly Fitzpatrick or later in the draft J.C. Jackson. Haven’t been that impressed w/Godwin…I get his speed, but I’d think Coach would want a WR with size more than speed. Try Cobbs, Tate, etc. As for edge rusher, either Ferrell & Bryant from Clemson would be good…maybe Duke Ejiofor. I heard a lot of hype WRT Landry and he was practically invisible vs Iowa in their bowl game.

    1. Sony Michel probably will be an early second-round pick. And he never carried the ball more than 12 times in a game last season.

      Shanahan doesn’t seem to value size at split end as much as he values speed, quickness and explosiveness.

      Why isn’t Penny the kind of RB Shanahan wants? He’s explosive.

      1. And he never carried the ball more than 12 times in a game last season.

        I don’t think Alvin Kamara did either.

          1. To think the Saints tried to draft Foster. Lattimore, Kamara and Foster would be a nicely rounded draft.

          2. Not sure what your point is. You cited his lack of carries in college, and Kamara was the same type of back at Tennessee. Even though Ingram has carried the load for the Saints at a rate of almost twice the carries, he’s still averaging a full yard more per carry. He’s also got 13 TD’s to Ingram’s 12 if you include his receptions….

            1. Kamara never carried the ball more than 12 times in a game for the Saints this season. If the Niners replace Hyde, they’ll need someone who can carry the ball more than 12 times in a game.

              1. Not if your boy Williams gets his head right. A three headed monster of Brieda, Williams and Michel would be a pretty effective stable….

      2. I find it really hard to peg where RBs will get drafted these days. Its all over the shop. But if he is there at the end of round 2/ early round 3 then I think he would be a great pickup. Prefer him to Penny.

        It can be a bit misleading sometimes though when a RB plays behind a good OL, so I’m not completely sold on Michel. But from what I have seen he also does a lot of the little things right as a RB. I think he will be good.

        You are right about the split end. If they look to add someone there it will be based on fitting the mold of a guy that can stretch a D.

        1. “It can be a bit misleading sometimes though when a RB plays behind a good OL”

          Very true Scooter. What caught my eye was his explosiveness and ability to get the tough yards.

          1. Yeah, agreed on both. I also like his ability to be patient when appropriate and decisiveness when needed. Seems like a good blocker as well. All round type back.

        2. Williams… I would think people would learn the lesson of USC backs. All those guys that out-right failed or never lived up to the hype. Most recently all the hype around LenDale White & Reggie Bush. White failed, Bush was never more than a mediocre, oft-injured guy.

          And there are plenty of others because you could never be sure whether it was the line or the talent. So they’d get drafted high and…

      3. “And he never carried the ball more than 12 times in a game last season.”

        Yeah he did. He was above 12 carries 5 times in 2017. In 2016 he had 3 games with 19 carries or more.

        Hyde averaged 15 carries per game last year so it’s not exactly like he was a workhorse.

        1. And Freeman averaged 14 carries in 2016. Shanahan doesn’t mind sharing the load around.

        2. My mistake. Michel averaged 11 carries per game. He’s very talented. I think he’ll be a late first-round pick or early second-round pick. Not in the Niners’ range.

  25. Based on interviews this season, Shanahan values the following in a pass catcher
    – Can get separation on routes
    – Tough, fearless in traffic
    – Good hands

    What draft candidates match these three criteria?
    Are there any other receiver traits Shanahan spoke of that I missed?

    I like Courtland Sutton’s highlights. A big guy that catches in endzone traffic. Strong enough to break tackles for RAC. Not sure how his routes/separation is though. He’s on my study list.

  26. Like most I think the priorities are Edge rusher, Interior O line, top CB, and WR.
    I think the key is getting a top player and to not reach for a player. In the first round the Niners should take the BPA at one of the priority positions if possible. If they have graded players at other positions higher then they should try to trade down or take the better player.
    The Niners still need to upgrade the roster and if they want to go to the Super Bowl they need at least a few pro bowl caliber players. Drafting for need instead of getting the BPA is not a good approach.

    1. It’ll be a little trickier for the 49ers this year in the draft. Last year, once we made that trade with the Bears, it set up our whole draft. It gave us flexibility with the chance to move up with the extra picks we got. Now we are picking at 9 or 10 in the 1st round and then not until at least 25th in the 2nd round. We have two 3rd rounders. If there is a stud that Lynch and Shanny really want at #9 or #10, then they should get them. Otherwise, there is a lot of talent available this year. Shanny knows how to evaluate talent and he can make some good picks in the later rounds. Depending on how the draft falls, I wouldn’t be against trading down in the first and getting an extra pick or two. If we traded down to #22, we could get an extra 2nd and 3rd (Buffalo owns that spot, from last year’s trade with K.C. in the Mahomes deal). If we dropped down to #18 we can get an extra 2nd rounder. I would just feel a lot better with an extra 2nd rounder that isn’t so late. If the Saints win this weekend, that pick will drop even further.

  27. Grant, you got two right! For pick 1: I’m for Quenton Nelson or an OT that can play G or an Edge rusher like Landry or the top CB depending on who the Niners pick up in free agency.
    Pick 2: I’d like Rashaad Penny who btw is faster than 4.5. You see the way he outruns CBs? And he does returns. He’s a definite 4.4 runner and an upgrade over Hyde or Breiden.
    Anything else will be gravy as we win our division and go to the playoffs. Can I hear Championship?

  28. Rashaad penny is a bad son of a gun. But I’d rather have Barkley if all things were equal. Both of these guys were men amongst boys, but Barkley’s level of competition was way better. That being said, I don’t think so, but if penny was still there late 2nd, or early third, I’d definitely draft him.. That is if we don’t shock the world and steal L Bell from Pitt. Lol

  29. “Rashard Robinson, the former 49ers cornerback who was traded to the Jets in October, was arrested in New Jersey last month and charged with drug possession and carelessly driving.”

    1. So he had smoked weed and drove….I bet you go out today and drive on any bay area freeway and you’ll pass a handful of people who did the same. Move on.

      1. “police found a marijuana-laced edible – THC-infused “Peanut Budda Buddah Candy” – in Robinson’s possession after they pulled over the 2018 Mercedes Benz he was driving.”

        1. Robinson was drafted two picks before the Dallas Cowboys selected quarterback Dak Prescott………

  30. So fixated on 40 yard times…In shorts and track shoes…running a straight line…with no one trying to hit you…wow.

    1. The way the NFL suits up so many guys who can’t catch a pass now, I’d like to see each candidate catch a pass and then run 40 yards for time. You’re right, in shorts and track shoes you don’t learn that much but, without the ball, what’s the point?

    I’m not sure we necessarily need to look for one, given Brieda/Williams, and a free agent (either bringing back Hyde, or, if we want a big splash, anyone want to spend a lot of money on Le’Veon Bell anyone?). But if we did draft a running back, I think it would be later in the draft. As such, I would look for a fifth round or later pick, like RB Myles Gaskin from Washington.
    Two individuals here; if we want to go big and use an early pick, it’s wanting to know about Courtland Sutton. Third/Fourth round area, I would like to see more of Anthony Miller, the former walk-on at Memphis who has come up big the last few years.
    Since everyone has already pointed out Quentin Nelson, I would want to see how Connor Williams has come back from his injury (I think he is the best tackle in the draft), and Billy Price, Ohio State, because he can play both guard and center, and as much as Kilgore is well-respected and brings veteran leadership in the locker room, his play at center can be improved upon.
    Clelin Ferrell from Clemson I like a lot. But I also want to know how Duke Ejiofor from Wake Forest is any good.
    Isaiah Oliver, Colorado, to see how he is after his injury.

  32. “NFL Rumors: Kirk Cousins Would ‘Seriously Consider’ Signing With Browns”

    K. Cousins is desperate…….if he is thinking of the browns it can only mean his value has dipped…..

    1. Hoping the Browns don’t sign a high profile free agent quarterback. The more quarterbacks taken top eight, the better the talent at 9-10.

      But if they did, Washington might need to draft a quarterback. They could trade into the top 8. Not sure Snyder would want to trade with the 49ers though.

    2. Only you would come to that conclusion oneniner. He’s leaving his options open which is what you do in FA so teams will bid against each other. We still don’t know if he’s going to make it to FA, but either way Cousins is going to make a lot of money. Not sure what it is you have against this guy, but you come off as a complete idiot with the things you say about him.

      1. its my opinion – you don’t have to agree with it…..guess we’ve moved to the name calling phase… welcome bro….

        calling me an idiot…….does not mean Cousins is not mediocre….

        1. You are free to do whatever you want but when you say the things you do about Cousins you sound like an idiot with no clue as to what he’s talking about.

          1. You are taking it personal……

            as related to Cousins….I would like to see things from your view, but I can’t seem to get my head that far up my @$$

            I said Cousins sucks….and YES he sucks.,…..if you can’t handle it…..go to sleep or prove me wrong…..

            If you are going to be a smartass, first you have to be smart, otherwise you are just an @$$

            1. I call it as I see it and you are being idiotic in your opinion of Cousins. I’ve already proved you wrong with the info I posted showing he’s performed like a top ten QB, and how your: “wins are all that matter” view is also flawed. As I said you are free to say whatever you want, but you look ridiculous in trying to pass off the idea that Cousins sucks when he’s been in the top ten in almost every category for the past 3 years. That’s just ignoring the facts to support bias.

              1. top ten in what?…rating?….td?……int?……yards….

                The question is “Can you name 10 -15 QB’s better than Cousins?”……the answer is a big YES

                I have neither the time or crayons to explain this to you

                you really are looking dumb defending cousins……we know you are on vacation so its normal for you to be bored….

                you have your entire life to be a jerk….why not take today off?…….

              2. The 10-15 QB’s you name are based on your own personal preference with no factual data to back it up. That is not an argument that is bias on your part. The facts are the facts and Cousins has been top ten in multiple categories for the past 3 seasons (including the ones you just listed) which I already posted here more than once. I guarantee you more people involved with the game share my opinion, while Prime would share yours. Congrats. I can be a jerk no doubt about it, so can you. In this case I’m telling you how you look when you put up this feeble argument against Cousins with no facts to back you up. It’s idiotic.

              3. @rocket…… you are like a bag of pampers…self absorbed and full of shyte……..

                of course its my opinion….I stated that above…..if you just stop talking out of your @$$ for a minute you might get it….

                hey dummy…all you have to do is name your top 15 QB’s in league…….and lets compare….

                Alex Smith was the top rated QB 104.7 in the league this year….its no secret I am a huge Alex fan but you don’t hear me claiming Alex is the best QB in the league even though I have stats to back up the claim….

              4. I’ve heard that Pampers joke before. It’s a good one.

                As far as who is talking out of their ass let’s assess the two arguments and then decide:

                rocket: provided stats showing Cousins has been a top ten performer the past 3 seasons, provided evidence that W/L record does not work in grading a QB and would have most of the industry backing the opinion that Cousins is a very good QB who is going to have a lot of interest if he gets to FA.

                oneniner: says Cousins sucks because he said so.

                Not much of a debate here.

              5. And here’s Prime right on cue. Talking about tucking tails between legs when he’s never made a factual football point in his life. Just his personal hot air like oneniner.

              6. Rocket, you think you can throw out a stat line and claim that it’s a winnable debate?
                Remember when you sat there and said that Colin Kaepernick was a franchise quarterback, posted all his statistical analysis, posted his QBR rating, said that he’d accomplish something that no other quarterback in the NFL has ever accomplished in a short amount of time ,blah blah blah blah blah , while most of us told you he was nothing but a one trick pony?

                Now where is your boy? And what do those stats mean now? FA!

                Now go cry about Grant and how you will never return to the blog! Wuss!

              7. Lol you are still incapable of saying something that is actually true. Just keep saying things you make up with no facts. What a gas bag.

              8. “Take your stats and your crying about Grant and beat it!”

                LOL! Look at Prime doing his best Biff imitation. Easy there keyboard cowboy.

              9. Jack you should take your new role as Grants lackey and do the same!

                I love the irony in this. One guy cries about the columnist and vows never to return and the other guy wants to be the columnist and plays body guard.
                Too bad you 2 losers can’t find a stat to help your causes! Ha!

              10. You let me down Prime. I figured your next one would be, “Why don’t you make a tree and split”

      1. If they do indeed take Nelson, I’d go ahead and take McGlinchey if they believe he can play OG for a season or two.

            1. He’s 6’7″ and Shanahan usually has the guys inside between 6’2″ and 6’5″.

              1. Yea, figured that was your reasoning. I’ve made the same argument, but that’s why I made the caveat if they believe he can do it. Might be better to go ahead with Smith, Landry, but if a trade were to manifest itself, they could target Price instead….

        1. Definitely possible, but they may be more focused on getting weapons for Trubisky as he currently doesn’t have any and their Oline while not great, was not bad either.

  33. Did you know…… “Kittle logged more yards receiving than Vance McDonald’s first three seasons combined (475).”

  34. RB: IMO, SAQUON BARKLEY is obviously in a class of his own, and would lead the NFL in all purpose yards under Kyle Shanahan (with Jimmy G. at the helm), but after him there are a number of RB who look to be fantastic NFL caliber prospects, and Rashaad Penny is certainly one of them. On film, he shows a very nice combination of physical traits, as well as some of the inherent qualities you look for in a productive NFL RB. Penny seems like a nice fit for Kyle’s scheme as well. Georgia’s Sony Michel is another guy I like ….. a lot, and am looking forward to his showing at the combine. He’s on the same team as the electric Nick Chubb (especially prior to the devastating knee injury), so he’s been splitting the load during his Bulldogs’ career, but he’s been a very efficient well rounded RB who I think will probably even be a better pro, and he has a lot of tread left on his tires. Some scouts have compared Michel to the Chiefs’ Kareem Hunt, and Michel is a fantastic human being as well, and would be an asset to the 49ers locker room. It’s worth noting that the 49ers have Breida, Williams, & a talented RB they poached off the Bucs squad, Jeremy McNichols, so with or without Hyde, RB isn’t a pressing need. I certainly think ShanaLynch will draft a RB, unless they sign a FA (Hyde,Bell,etc), but unless they go all in on the phenom, S. Barkley, I think they should definitely wait till the 4th or 5th round to pull the trigger on another RB.

    WR: This is a position on the 49ers roster that looks a lot better on paper now, than it did early last season. SMU’s Courtland Sutton looks like a guy who has the tools to be a Julio Jones type (but not at the same level of J. Jones caliber), but he’s going to be drafted between 10-20 in round one. There is another big bodied prospect who does intrigue me, South Dakota State’s Jake Wieneke, and he should get an invite to the combine. He could end up being overlooked a bit because of his small school, but if he shows some deep speed at the combine, or pro-day, he could be the kind of tall, outside WR & red zone target Niners could use.

    OL: Outside of a shutdown CB, the interior of the 49ers OL could be where the 49ers need the biggest infusion of talent this offseason. I know a lot of people are high on ND’s Quenton Nelson, but as Grant asked the question, I’m not sure he’s a great fit for Kyle’s outside zone scheme. Yes, Nelson is very athletic for his size, but he’s a mountain of a man, and huge men have trouble getting up and out, stretching outside to the second level. I could be wrong, but he seems better suited for a power scheme to me. He’s going to be a dominant OL in the NFL though, I am sure of that. I would seriously consider Mr. Ohio State, All-American OG/C Billy Price, due to his versatility and work ethic. I’d be hesitant to draft him in the top 10, but if the 49ers are open to trading back in round 1, I’d seriously consider Price somewhere around #15. He’s a leader. He’s the ultimate team player. His strength and conditioning are extraordinary. And he’s a great fit for Kyle’s scheme. “Centers are of extreme importance for 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan. It’s why the Atlanta Falcons made the move for veteran center Alex Mack amid their run up to Super Bowl LI when Shanahan was the team’s offensive coordinator. We have no clue whether or not Price will ever become a player like Mack. But looking back at the film, you can see the same kind of zone-style blocks that are inherent to Shanahan’s offense.”

    EDGE: The 49ers need an athletic pass rusher and I’ve heard there is a decent chance that BC’s Harold Landry just might fall to them in round 2. Even if the 49ers move up to snag him before #60 in round 2, he’d still be a fantastic value, IMO. He’s only 22 years of age, and he’s got the frame to add another 5-10 lbs naturally, and when he does ….. look out. He seems an ideal fit for their “LEO” role. I’m interested to see what his measurements are at the combine.

    CB: Iowa’s Joshua Jackson, winner of the Jack Tatum award this past season, has really grabbed my attention in the past week or so. His experience is limited, but oh man, he seems destined to be a shutdown cover 3 CB at the NFL level. He’s shot up my big board since he declared for the draft, and while I am still early in the process, as of today I don’t think I would hesitate to draft him where the 49ers are scheduled to pick in round 1. A top 10 selection might be a little high for a guy with limited experience, but by all accounts Jackson has all of the intangibles you look for in a young CB. He’s a confident player who plays with an edge, and his work ethic is unquestioned. He’s a model citizen. His ball-hawking skills match his physicality, and he’s fluid and fast. We’ll see if he’s as fast on the track as he looks on the football field, but I have no doubt that he has everything the 49ers are looking for in a shutdown corner, minus the experience, and could be the answer they are looking for in their defensive backfield.

    1. 49reasons – Thank for the breakdown. I like what I see in Josh Jackson. Interesting re Billy Price. How are Kilgore’s guard skills? Some speculated last offseason Kilgore would move to guard if Zutah worked out. If the new, improved Garnett truly is improved and Price is the choice, the line could go T-Staley, G-Garnett, C-Price, G-Kilgore, T-Brown.

      1. A guy to keep an eye on at the combine testing grounds that is flying under the Radar thanks to players like Price/Ragnow, is Sean Welsh from Iowa. He’s got quick feet, comes from a program noted for good OLine play, and he’s played up and down the OLine. In a draft that’s rather thin interioly, he could rise with a good showing….

        1. I wouldn’t touch Welsh before the 4th because he left the team. The Niners might be a little gun shy after taking Williams. Interesting that the guy who walked away from his team (Williams) showed up out of shape and ended up in Turner’s dog house. But yeah, Welsh would be a nice fit if his mind is right.

      2. Hey Brodie. Honestly, I’d like to see the 49ers upgrade the center position, or at least draft an interior lineman with the versatility to play all 3 interior OL spots. The center position is such an important position, and Kilgore has a history of injuries. I’m not sure exactly how the team feels about Kilgore, but I think Kilgore would be more value as a backup Center, with the ability to play Guard, and drafting Price would give them some much needed flexibility and depth on the interior. As much as I like Nelson as a prospect, I have serious concerns about his fit for Kyle’s schemes. Price could be the glue that holds the entire interior of the OL together.

        I’ll admit, drafting Jackson that high comes with some risk, based on his lack of experience. But in terms of talent/fit, he seems an ideal prospect for the 49ers cover 3, and has the mental makeup I would look for in a top flight CB.

        1. You people that come on here with your venomous attacks really ought to grow a pair, and use your real names.

        2. Dang Kenney, sounds like you need to head down for another beer in Mexico. Maybe drink your blues away.

      1. You have a big board?

        It’s amusing isn’t it? Some on this board take themselves way too seriously.

        1. Hey, I had a big board last year. By big board I mean two sheets of paper with chicken scratch edits all over the place.

            1. I’ve got a big board. Those little ‘potato chip’ surfboards don’t float me so well anymore. The gremmies call it a Rhino Chaser.

      1. Yea, I hope the QB’s fly off the board, pushing some talent down to us or causing another GM to get impatient to want to make a move up to where we are….

        1. That would be ideal. I’d love to see a trade down present itself for the Niners and there is a possibility it could if a team wants to trade up for a QB.

  35. “A 5-11, 220-pounder who had 29 runs of at least 2o yards and 12 runs of at least 40 yards in 2017. For a comparison, Carlos Hyde had only six runs of at least 20 yards and just one run of at least 40 yards this season.”
    Do you really think that San Diego State compares well with the NFL?

      1. My 2 cents worth is Penny would be an excellent fit, and part of the reason why you don’t need to force a RB early.

  36. Grant,
    Maybe I missed it but I haven’t heard you mention Joe Williams in your discussion of 9ers running backs. Last year you were extremely high on Williams now he seems like persona non grata so whats the story?

  37. I think Carmen Policy should read, The Art Of The Deal:

    “If I were representing the team, I think what I would do is enter the room and I would bring a large jar of Vaseline,” Policy said on 95.7 The Game in San Francisco, “and I would say to the agent on the other side, ‘I’m a nice guy. I really want to do the right thing. Please be gentle with me.’”

  38. One of the 9ers primary needs seems to be an outside pass rusher. Last year they drafted Pita Taumoepanu he received early positive practice reviews but since then I have heard very little about him. Has anyone read or heard whether the team was happy with his development this season? Is he being considered as potential contributor this season? I believe all they need is a PR specialist not a 3 down starter.


      What does LB Pita Taumoepenu need to do to get on the field more next season?

      “I’m excited for Pita in the offseason, we all are. We think an offseason with [head strength and conditioning coach] Ray Wright developing in the weight room and getting stronger, reaching another level of maturity, he’s going to be a guy that’s going to be very hard to keep off the field, I hope. The big thing for him is strength. He’s smart enough, he’s fast enough, he’s got enough instincts. Now that physical strength, I think he can play SAM linebacker and be an effective edge setter the way he is now. But, in terms of winning one-on-ones in pass rush and being a guy that demands linemen to block him rather than just backs, that’s going to be where he needs to get to next.”

  39. Fun fact: SF’s offensive line’s pass-blocking efficiency ranking by PFF rose from 19th to 4th best once the AJ era dawned.

        1. Jack: Depends on what you are looking for. But even there, I agree with you.
          BT: “After Jimmy”

        2. But she’s “fast”, and every bit as mean as Old Hickory!
          Quick hips; (only guessing)

    1. as I’ve said b4, JG’s speed has made the OL protection look better, but put CJ back in and it’ll be a whole different result…hurried/hit/sacked, repeat…

    1. I’d bet the remaining Baalke players that contributed this season (Hyde, Reid, Tarrt, Ward, Kilgore, and the JL FA- Fusco), will end up getting time to test the FA market….
      if there aren’t many nibbles, they can be resigned at a more Jed-friendly price…
      I think the 9ers would keep these guys, at a discount that is…
      and without any illusions that they’re locks as 2018 starters…

      1. Good point,
        I can’t see either Hyde or Reed getting huge contracts elsewhere. Hyde not a great season and is injury prone and Reed with his concussions and the kneeling down situation may turn teams off.

  40. With the high demand and low supply of quality OL, I’m wondering if the team will put some of their eggs in the development basket of the two young OL guys: Magnuson and Williams.

      1. What was your opinion of Boone before he became a bonafide starter. He was undrafted, on the PS in his first season, played in the last game of his second season and was used sparingly in his third season? Were you able to see past the alcohol problems while he was in college?

        1. The alcohol problems are why he went undrafted. He would have been a day two pick at worst if he hadn’t been a meathead. It’s not out of the question that one of those guys could turn into more than a bottom of the roster player but not likely.

        2. My opinion of Boone was the same opinion I had of Trent Brown – I thought both had talent but probably wouldn’t amount to much due to issues of dedication. Thankfully both guys showed greater commitment once they got in the NFL than when in college.

          Magnuson and Williams are different. Its not a dedication issue. Its a talent level issue. I’ve not seen anything from either guy to make me think they will develop into good starters. I hope I am wrong on that too, but I most certainly would not be putting any eggs in that basket.

      2. For the most part good O linemen are made not born. Very good O line coaches develop O line men especially if they come to them as excellent athletic specimens like Williams. I wonder how many of the probably 250 starting O linemen this year (taking injuries into consideration) spent at least 1 year on a PS. I’m guessing close to 25%.

        1. And if they strike gold with Williams or Magnuson then that will be great. But in no way would I be content to leave the OL as is in the hope they develop. It would be different if we had seen something from them to suggest they could become good, but I can’t say I have. Magnuson looks slow and Williams looked like a guy that could handle himself against other bottom of the roster players.

          1. Scooter I don’t see Williams as a starter next year but possibly the swing tackle for 2 years and ready to step in for Staley when he retires.

  41. Back to the Rooney Rule. In the quote below Florio is focused on the fact that a team can enter into an agreement in principle with a new coach before firing the current one. But I’m wondering why they can enter into an agreement in principle (in this case Jon Gruden) before interviewing at least one minority candidate. Maybe they did and it just hasn’t been announced or I missed it…….. If they didn’t, this really makes a mockery of the Rooney Rule in my opinion. I understand the benefits of interviewing and networking as Rocket and BT outlined earlier, but, imo, it should at least look like the process is above board.

    It’s unclear what that means as it relates to the question of whether the Raiders violated the Rooney Rule by, as owner Mark Davis has admitted, striking a deal with Jon Gruden before firing Jack Del Rio. While the league has no rule or policy preventing a team from entering into an agreement in principle with a new coach before firing the current one, the Rooney Rule requires at least one minority candidate to be interviewed in connection with each head-coaching vacancy. If the job is never vacant, it seems that it would be impossible to comply with the Rooney Rule.

    1. Team claims to have interviewed within staff before Deal was signed. Talking heads think that won’t fly and a fine coming. Cost Detroit $200k on the Mooch hire; should be a good deal more now.

    2. This is a weird one Cubus. Initially the Fritz Pollard alliance said the Raiders were in compliance with the Rooney rule, but after Mark Davis said he had settled on Gruden all along, they changed their minds and now want the league to investigate. In this case I don’t know how it will proceed because the Raiders did abide by the rule in interviewing minority candidates and didn’t officially hire Gruden until that had been completed. I don’t think there is much the league can do here or even if they should. It comes down to the spirit of the rule which from what I understand is to give minority candidates opportunities to develop relationships around the league that may not have presented themselves without it. I don’t know if there is a stipulation that a team can’t have a favorite in place before that happens and honestly if a team is set on one guy like the Raiders were with Gruden, it doesn’t really matter when the interviews took place does it?

      1. I agree the org’s record is solid, but infractions are what they are and can be judged as stand alone incidents. As Rocket pointed out, it depends upon some legal definitions and stipulations. It could be they’re culpable here, but at the end of the day, Mark D probably doesn’t give a hoot. “No Cap on coaches.”
        Question the fine. Make a PR pitch to clear the air. Pay the fine. Get to work on 2018.

  42. WR Allen Lazard had 10 TDs in 2017. He’s not a one year wonder. He has a large catch radius and has shown the ability to react quickly to inaccurate or underthrown passes. He can get yards after the catch when hit in stride. He is a strong and willing blocker. He’s good at getting his feet down in bounds, think RZ. He added more branches to his route tree this year (coachable). And he’s 6’5″.

    This will be a guy to watch at the Combine (40 time). If his 40 time is decent, he could be a really productive all around WR. If he looks a little slow, he could still be a solid RZ target. He could be a 5th round gem.

        1. Given he would be effectively drafted to be Garcon’s backup, he would need to be good and tough over the middle of the field.

          Cedrick Wilson or Michael Gallup in the 3rd round I think makes more sense.

          1. I think he would be in competition with Bourne. If Shanny feels he could be a backup to Garcon, he would make the roster. If he’s learning, but learning slowly, they could stash him on the PS. It will be interesting to see him at the Senior Bowl as well as the Combine.

    1. 80,
      David Funchess was not regarded as a speedy WR because he took too many steps to reach full stride.
      But he has become good enough to make Benjamin expendable. And his ability to out jump defenders along with a great catching radius makes him a dangerous WR, especially in the red zone.
      If Lazard is anything like Funchess he could be a nice addition.

  43. Nelson, Barkley, and Key. Three elite talents that would have to be considered at #9 or #10. I’d still take Nelson.

      1. Lot of QBs can go early. Then you got the OT position and edge rushers. Barkley could drop if Cleveland doesn’t take him at #4.

  44. Sorry Grant.

    “I basically feel, ‘In Jimmy we trust,'” King said on the “Tobert & Lund” show. “That’s my ethos right now, and I really like Derek Carr. But Derek Carr’s performance this year concerns me. I think he’s going to be significantly better with Gruden, but the 49ers have so much cap room. The 49ers have, I think, some considerable advantages right now with the security of general manager and the understanding that they’re on the road to making some very good personnel decisions.

    “I saw the 49ers tear apart the Jacksonville Jaguars,” King continued. “And that is something that sticks in my mind. Of all the things that Garoppolo did in the last month or so, that single game, not that he was the absolute single force in that game, but he played really, really well. So, I’ll take Garoppolo and the Niners.”

    1. TomD

      His film shows good walling-off abilities…at 6’6″ he could put on some extra muscle…’seems a bit light for Oline but his footwork is good….quick….Interesting….

  45. Outhouse to penthouse quickly.

    1. Don’t draft Notre Dame’s Nelson. Pick up Carolina’s soon to be free agent guard, Andrew Norwell, only 26, and ranked as the top FA guard available.

    2. It appears Prime’s Minkah Fitzpatrick will be available. Why not draft college football’s best Db, getting two studs instead of the one.

    1. 1. Norwell works for me.
      2. How long can Fitzpatrick play CB before moving to S? Joshua Jackson would be my 1st round DB pick. I think we’re OK with Colbert and Tartt.

  46. Minkah Fitzpatrick is enjoying a sensational season at Alabama, as the consensus preseason All-American is living up to the hype.

    The junior cornerback is a virtual lock to be a first-round draft pick if he leaves college for the NFL after this season, and he is projected to be a top-10 pick in several way-too-early mock drafts.

    One NFL general manager told Sporting News he thinks Fitzpatrick might be the most under-valued prospect for the 2018 NFL Draft, and the GM would consider drafting the Bama product within the first three picks.

    You want to talk about a kid who is impressing on tape and in person is Minkah Fitzpatrick,” the GM said, speaking on the condition of anonymity. (NFL GMs are not allowed to comment publicly on current college players.) “He’s a real deal. His vision and range — you can slot him into a defense come Week 1. He’s a stud.”

  47. I’m not fully aware of how all the FAs are thinking, but it seems like the only position where there is a lot of discussion that the player will accept the franchise tag is QB. If I’m right, why is that? Is it because the other positions (RB, DL, DB, etc.) have a higher incidence of injury, so those players would rather get more guaranteed money upfront?


    “Bell rushed 321 times for 1,291 yards and caught 85 passes for 655 yards, along with 11 total touchdowns in 2017. Bell has 7,996 total yards through 62 career games, which is the most of any NFL player over that span since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger, outdistancing Eric Dickerson (7,842), according to ESPN Stats and Information.”

    Garoppolo and Bell? That’s got a nice ring to it.

    1. I know it is mostly posturing on his part because he wants long term security, but do you feel good about signing a guy to what would clearly be the new benchmark for RBs that just said he is happy to retire if he gets tagged? Bell is a great player, but he’s been suspended for drugs before and quite frankly comes across as an entirely “me” person.

      I think I would prefer looking to the draft personally.

      1. A five year deal with an option after the third year, he would only be 28 after the third year. This is the time to make a move like this. We have the cap space and we’re going for the playoffs this year. Take a chance on an elite talent now.

        1. I’d rather put that money elsewhere I think. JG, a centre, an OG, a CB, a DE – not all of those but JG + 2 to 3 good FAs (plus some other lower tier FAs to fill needs/ roles) I think could be better use of the money.

          1. When it comes to the running back position, I get real nervous about investing a lot of money or draft capital….

          2. Didn’t someone bring this up on here a couple weeks ago? ?

            What free agent defensive end(s) do you target Scooter?

            1. I know you brought it up Jack. I didn’t think it was a possibility before today’s news. That’s the same reason I didn’t comment on the earlier Cousins or Garoppolo question (BTW, JG every day). But now that Bell may be a possibility, I would pursue him.

            2. I worry about his injuries, but Ansah would be my pick of the top tier talents available. But never know who else might come available.

              1. If looking at next tier options, Alex Okafor, Trent Murphy or Jerry Attaochu would be guys I looked at.

              2. Ha! No doubt. But he’s probably a decent pick up as a rotational pass rusher so long as his knee is fine. Basically Aaron Lynch without the bad attitude.

              3. I’m with you. Get an Edge rusher of proven talent or a rising CB. Find a decent RB later in the draft. If you have to spend $ on offense go OL.

                The playoffs may be a possibility. Then again…

              4. As far as the edge rusher position, I’d sign one of the top guys (Lawrence or Ansah) or just focus on the position in the draft. Most of the FA’s available aren’t much better than what we already have imo.

              5. If they don’t get Ansah or Lawrence, or another top tier edge player that may become available, I still think they should add a FA edge guy from the next tier but yes, need to draft a one early too.

          3. 15 million a year with an option after the third season. We’ll still have over 90 million after we sign JG. With Bell, we would still have about 75 million to sign other players.

            Whether or not we would extend Bell in three to five years is when I would worry about the cap and a possible dip in his production. Right now Bell is an elite runner and is pretty close to elite as a receiving back.

          4. Scooter,

            Couldn’t we still sign “JG + 2 to 3 good FAs (plus some other lower tier FAs to fill needs/ roles)” after giving Bell 15 million. We will have 113-130 million in cap space.

              1. We’ll see, assuming Bell is available. I agree that we shouldn’t just spend because we can. But I think Bell would be a wise investment (with the third year option). Signing JG and Bell would cost about 40 million. We wouldn’t have to spend the remaining 75 million to address our holes. We also have the draft.

                I think we need another elite play maker on offense to compliment JG. Will we be able to sign our favorite edge rushers, CBs, and interior O-lineman? Probably not all of them. I don’t think signing Bell would put us anywhere close to salary cap hell.

              2. I didn’t do a good job explaining the part about not getting everyone we want. A lot of the really good FA’s could and probably will get tagged.
                So who are the big money guys that will actually be available? Trumaine Johnson is one, I’m sure I’m forgetting some, but my point is that we would have plenty of money for Bell.

              3. Scooter and I had a similar discussion a couple of weeks ago and I’m with you #80. We can definitely sign 2-3 high caliber FA’s and not put ourselves into cap trouble. I’m not sure I’d look at Bell as one of them though. As good as he is, he seems like a me first kind of guy who may not be a good addition in the locker room, and as was mentioned, is a risk to be suspended with the prior drug infractions. The main reason I probably wouldn’t sign him is that I think the issue with the running game was the blocking, not the RB’s. If they improve up front and get the kind of athletic OL this system requires, I think they’ll be fine with whoever they decide to go with. It’s been proven in the past that pretty much any RB can have success in this system if it’s blocked correctly.

              4. Let’s face it, any running back can be good if the OL is terrific.

                The 49ers need a back with the power of Hyde, the quickness of Breida, and the hands of Ricky Watters.

                You can find something negative about almost every free agent.

                I’d love to have Bell. Doubt it’s a reality, but if it does happen remember you heard it from me first! ?

              5. While I don’t see it happening, I certainly wouldn’t be upset if it did. Great player, I just don’t think they will spend that kind of money on the positon and there are red flags in terms of behavior that will likely turn ShannyLynch off imo.

      2. Agree, Scooter. I don’t think John Lynch will want to sign him because of the “me” first attitude. Besides don’t most agree that KS is able to get good/great RBs in late rounds. Spend that money on a real position of need, OL, OLB, etc.

    2. Whazzup wid some of these guys @ Pittsburgh?
      I know….every cogent NFL football fan knows… don’t threaten or intimidate Steeler Mgt. Ever. Period.
      How the f do the guys in that locker room not know that? Excuse me?
      How’d Martavious’ tantrum go?


      The 49ers would be an obvious suitor if Bell hit the open market for a few reasons. He can catch the ball out of the backfield (312 career receptions) and the team is expected to have some $113-million in cap space before paying Jimmy Garoppolo.

      In his answer, Shanahan mentioned Bell, specifically, indicating he thinks highly of the three-time Pro-Bowler.

      “A big-time running back, whether it’s (Leonard) Fournette, whether it’s Adrian Peterson who was a top-10 pick, whether it was Terrell Davis in the sixth round, whether it’s David Johnson who I think was a third rounder or Le’Veon Bell I think is a second rounder, all those guys are worth top-five picks, but they were all found different places. … You’ve just got to find who you think that guy is. There’s lots of ways to do it.”

  49. Marcus Mosher

    Here is the list of TEs in NFL history who had at least 500 receiving yards in their rookie season that were drafted after the fourth round:

    George Kittle – 515


    7:35 PM – Jan 11, 2018

    1. There was an Undrafted rookie who had over 500 yards. Tim Wright had 571 his freshman year.

    2. It was an impressive rookie year for Kittle, that’s for sure. Really the only down part of his season was he had too many drops. Hopefully he cleans that up.

      1. He wasn’t healthy since training camp but really turned it around after the Giants game.
        Garrapolo all the sudden has made the TE unit solidified. All 3 guys block well and when they catch a pass, it’s huge.
        Don’t think we pick a TE in this
        draft. I loved the 3 man rotation of Kittle, Hikutini and Celek time!

        I think it will be Roquan Smith or Quenton Nelson at #9/10. I’d love Fitzpatrick to slip to us that low and Barkley too for that matter. But it won’t happen.

        1. Why Smith? They signed their WILL to a big money contract last offseason and drafted their MIKE. I don’t see themn spending big in FA or the draft on a LB.

          1. That’s true Scooter, but Smith playing next to Foster for the next few years sounds enticing.

            A couple young free agents like Ansah or Lawrence on the edge, Kyle Fuller at corner and the draft really opens up.

            1. Ansah’s actually not that young (29 next season I believe), but I take your point. Though if they address CB and edge in FA then I think the focus of the draft should turn to offense.

  50. Thank you LOWELL COHN for your article in the PressDemo about Tuesday’s With Dwight. Very moving. A difficult story well told.
    Beyond that……no words…..?

  51. I have been pushing for Q.Nelson since 2-3 months ago, but if Barkley falls to 9-10 we should grab him!

    I know we need more O-line help but just like Jimmy made our current group better, I feel that Barkley can do the same. I’ve never been comfortable with drafting a RB with our 1st pick but Barkley is a game-changer type RB that only come around once in a blue moon. When I see what Leonard Fournette has done for the Jaguars (it’s certainly not Bartles that got to the playoffs) I see the same positive upgrade if we could harness Barkley.

    1. As good as Barkley is, I think he’s overrated. I’m probably on my own with this opinion, but I really don’t think he’s as good as advertised. He was shut down completely by a few teams this season and doesn’t show the explosiveness that I saw in Zeke Elliott or even Fournette last year. Not saying he isn’t a good player, he is obviously, but I wouldn’t take him that high.

      1. You need to watch a little more tape there Rocket. Barkley is much more explosive then Zeke or Fournette. He is a freak of nature. He runs in the low 4.3s and is incrediblely agile and strong. He is the best RB prospect to come out since AP. He might be better. He is L Bell with 4.3 speed. There is NO chance he makes it out of the top 5… He is rare. Penn State was garbage around him by the way… Nelson is the choice if not the fall back is either Jackson or Smith. That will be better determined after free agency.

      2. saying Barkley is overrated is an idotic opinion/comment

        there is no debate here….Barkley has been in top 5 best player in the up coming draft …….and this moron thinks he is overrated but Cousins is not……ha ha ha….

        this what happens when users think they know it all…….when they miss they miss big……and have to be called out on it

        a true joker you are today……..

      3. As I said, he’s a good player, but saying he is the best RB prospect since AP is an example of why I think he’s overrated. He is going to be good NFL player but to me he is not as good as the other two I mentioned and no way I would take him that high.


        I don’t think he had garbage around him. He had one of the better QB’s in the conference and a pretty good Oline.


        Go take a nap.

        1. Rocket, He is a generational talent. The QB he had was good because of him. In my opinion he is the best RB in the world right now. From a skill set point of view. He is incredible. My opinion of course and I’m looking forward to being proved right :)

          1. You are definitely not the only one to refer to him in those terms, but I don’t see it. He’s obviously a very good back, but I think the hype has overtaken the actual talent and production.

  52. I agree completely BT. I actually have a bone to pick with Lowell. He made me tear up at 5:30 this morning. My wife looked at me and said, “Are you crying”? As a typical man would answer, I said, “Noooo, I’m not crying”! I really was, inside. If you haven’t had a chance to read the piece, take the time. It’s perfect. It’s one of those that will stay with you for the rest of the day, if not longer. Hopefully not too long today as I’m hitting the links. My game struggles enough without teared up eyes.

  53. — people here seem to forget that Kyle’s already got his RB stable– remember: Williams was his fav in ’17…
    — in 2018 we’ll see how good a pick he was…with a better OL, that is…
    — but calls for Barkley, or any RB for that matter, to be 1st draft priority- is just not the way KS, let alone his old man, do things…
    — in another post above: “we need Oline help, but just like JG made our current group better, Barkley can do the same” (for our current OL group)– this ignores the fact that a “generational” RB won’t look very “generational” with the current OL…
    — and– considering the big needs on D– getting a 1st rd. RB or even a big FA like Bell just doesn’t make sense….adding Barkley or Bell won’t fix the OL run game problems, or even hide them, as JG & KS managed to hide pass protect deficiencies…
    — and if the OL problems (every spot save for Staley) aren’t addressed, JG won’t be able to continue the magic, oppo’s D’s will stop our weak run game and then they’ll stop the short pass game, then were will we be????

    1. Joe Williams was put on IR with a fake injury. He was not making the team because he was HORRFIC in pre season. He was going to be cut until they had an IR spot available. Kyle did not want to admit a mistake by drafting him. If we are counting on Williams to be a big part of our RBs we are in trouble. I think Kyle and Lynch are too smart for that. This guy has retired once already in college and I wouldn’t bet against him calling it quit again. This guy is not stable mentally and rightfully so after losing his brother. I couldn’t even imagine what he went through. I hope he turns out to be a great back but his pre Season was forgettable to say the least.

      1. Psychiatric evaluation without ever meeting the guy? Whoa, impressive! Even real MDs can’t pull that off.
        They could’ve cut him, they didn’t. They chose to pay him all year… preserve KS’ “face”? Pffft.
        Brenda did indeed beat him out, he wasn’t ready. His deficiencies in pass pro and reading coverages for his routes, as well as lagging in absorbing the playbook were why he was stashed. Keeping him implies they think they can bring him up to speed, it’s not about a salve to Shanny’s ego.

        1. the super powers of the posters on this blog know no limits….
          we’ll see about Williams in OTA’s…psych evals will need to wait till then…

  54. “Here are the 2016 records for the 2017 NFC playoff field: Eagles (7-9), Vikings (8-8), Rams (4-12), Saints (7-9), Panthers (6-10) and Falcons (11-5).

    And it might speak to the power free agency. As Kevin Clark pointed out this week in The Ringer, six of the biggest spenders in free agency last spring are in the playoffs, including the Patriots, Titans, Rams, Vikings and Panthers.

    The salary cap next season is expected to grow from $167 to $178 million. It’s another massive $11-million jump, which all points to why the 49ers should dive into the deep end when it comes to pursuing the free agents.

    Simple math says the 49ers should have $86 to $89 million in room even after Garoppolo signs.

    Which is why San Francisco should absolutely be in the Le’Veon Bell market if things sour in Pittsburgh. Bell made waves this week when he said he’d consider retiring if he was given the franchise tag for a second straight season.

    In theory, the 49ers could sign Garoppolo, Bell, Ansah and a cornerback (Fuller) and still have more than $40 million in cap space remaining. And all that room means they can afford to overpay, or aggressively front load contracts, if it proves to be the difference in landing important pieces.”

  55. Apparently Chicago’s newly hired O-Line coach is ‘high’ on Quentin Nelson (G-Notre Dame), so he may not be there at 9 or 10.

    Due to 2018 being labeled a QB draft 4 QB’s are picked to go in the top 10, so above I listed one ‘freakish’ stud among other players that will be pushed the Niners way. This is the type player the 49ers haven’t been drafting in the 1st Rd. lately. (Arik Armstead, Solomon Thomas anybody?)……Maybe it’s time they threw need out the window and acquired their next Ronnie Lott !

    1. Deion Sanders weighed in on Derwin James: “He’s a separate entity,” said Hall of Fame and former FSU cornerback Deion Sanders. “There aren’t too many people who do what he does or have what he has.”

      And the vote is already in that James is the better athlete than Seattles’s Kam Chancellor (both have similar body types—Chancellor 6-4 and chisled, James, 6-3 chisled and faster)

      1. Yeah, surprise Nelson at 23. Ohio St cb is good, but they left Kirkpatrick and Ferrel and on the board. I wouldn’t. I’d probably take Edge and look to CB and OL soon after.
        Also Allen at #2 with Rosen dropping to Elway?

  56. slow down with replacing hyde the kid out of SD had however many runs of how ever many yards however many times, and much props on the #’s but that aint NFL talent he was up against…..slow down cause neither he are any other back (with exception of HB in Pittsburgh) on ninners roster is goog as hyde. just sayin.

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