Tag:San Francisco 49ers
Posted on: April 28, 2011 7:00 pm
 

Some talk Gabbert could slide

Speaking with NFL sources over the past few hours and one of the more interesting tidbits floating around is that Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert could slip.

Once viewed as a possible No. 1 overall pick to the Carolina Panthers, some suggest Gabbert could fall past Buffalo (No. 3), Cincinnati (No. 4), Arizona (No. 5), San Francisco (No. 7), and Tennessee (No. 8) -- despite the fact that each club could use a quarterback.

Quite frankly, while the rumor is interesting, I don't buy it. I have Gabbert going No. 7 overall to the 49ers . My fellow senior analyst Chad Reuter has him going even higher -- 3rd overall.

Even if Gabbert slips a bit, I can't imagine him falling out of the top ten. I've been told that Washington head coach Mike Shanahan and his son, Kyle Shanahan -- the Redskins' offensive coordinator, love the Missouri passer's combination of size, arm and athleticism. Should Gabbert slip to the Redskins, he'd jump ahead of other needs, like wide receiver and pass rusher. 

The greater point might be how Gabbert's fall -- should it happen -- would impact the rest of the QB class and how they, too, might slip as a result.
Posted on: April 22, 2011 10:15 pm
 

San Francisco 49ers Draft Breakdown

San Francisco 49ers 2010 record: 6-10, third place NFC West

2011 draft rundown    12 total picks (round): 7 (1); 45 (2); 76 (3); 108 (4); 115 (4); 141 (5); 174 (6); 190 (6); 211 (7) 231 (7); 239 (7); 250 (7)

Top needs:   

Quarterback: David Carr is the only quarterback under contract and Jim Harbaugh wants to groom a youngster for the future. The 49ers have enough faith in Harbaugh as an evaluator and coach that they may not necessarily use their first-round pick on the position. Harbaugh could wait until the second round for someone like Nevada's Colin Kaepernick or even longer for a sleeper like Delaware's Pat Devlin. The team has offered Alex Smith a one-year contract to return in 2011. But even if that happens, Smith is not yet being viewed as anything but a placeholder quarterback who could start this season while a youngster watches from the sideline. Smith, a laid-back former No. 1 pick who has played an array of offenses, also could be an ideal mentor for a rookie quarterback.

Outside linebacker: The 49ers starters last year, Manny Lawson and Parys Haralson, combined for 6.5 sacks and Lawson is an unrestricted free agent. Vic Fangio wants an aggressive, blitz-happy defense similar to the one that buddy Dom Capers runs in Green Bay. That will require edge rushers who can put pressure on opposing quarterbacks like Clay Matthews does for the Packers. The best option, Von Miller, likely will be off the board. Other possibilities include North Caroliona's Robert Quinn in the first round, North Carolina's Bruce Carter in the second and Fresno State's Chris Carter in the third.

Cornerback: The 49ers finished 24th against the pass last year, and their top cornerback, Nate Clements, might be released due to an unwieldy contract in 2011. Again, Fangio wants to run an aggressive defensive scheme and having cornerbacks who can cover receivers deep is essential. Louisiana State's Patrick Peterson would be a no-brainer selection at pick No. 7 and the team even could nab Nebraska's Prince Amukamara at that spot. Later in the draft, Texas' Aaron Williams or Virginia's Ras-I Dowling are possibilities.

Running back: The 49ers have taken long looks at running backs that will be available in the middle rounds. Their workhorse the last four seasons, Frank Gore, has been injured in each of those years. Furthermore, he is entering the final year of his contract. Backup Anthony Dixon is talented, but the 49ers aren't ready to turn the reins over to him yet. Kansas State's Daniel Thomas, Oklahoma State's Kendall Hunter, Eastern Washington's Taiwan Jones, Nebraska's Roy Helu and Cal's Shane Vereen have all gotten long looks from the 49ers in recent weeks. Any one of them could wind up a 49er.


First-round focus   7th overall -- Despite their 6-10 record, there is a fair amount of optimism that the 49ers are close to turning around the franchise. The club needs more consistency from the quarterback position, of course, but unless Missouri's Blaine Gabbert slips to them at No. 7, they are likely to wait until the second round (or later) rather than reach for a young passer for Jim Harbaugh to develop. The significantly more likely scenario has the 49ers choosing between a cornerback and a pass rusher in the first round. Both have been positions of need for awhile, as costly free agent Nate Clements has been a relative disappointment and the team has struggled to get any type of consistent outside pass rush despite investing a four top 100 picks in their front seven since 2006, including the No. 22 overall pick that year in former NC State standout Manny Lawson. Should North Carolina's Robert Quinn still be available, he makes a great deal of sense. While North Carolina head coach Butch Davis believes that Quinn is best suited to remain as a RDE in the 4-3 alignment, Quinn has demonstrated the agility to potentially be a star as a rush linebacker in San Francisco's 3-4 defense. Others believe that Missouri pass rusher Aldon Smith has more upside due to his longer arms. There is also the possibility that LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson should fall into San Francisco's lap. While pass rusher is the bigger need and the depth at cornerback is greater this year than outside linebacker, the 49ers might struggle to allow the player many view as the best prospect in the 2011 draft to slip any further. There is some talk that the 49ers would select Nebraska cornerback Prince Amukamura over Quinn, as they are believed to have the former Cornhusker rated very closely with Peterson.

Five names on 49ers' board:   
QB Blaine Gabbert, Missouri
CB Patrick Peterson, LSU
CB Prince Amukamara, Nebraska
OLB Robert Quinn, North Carolina
OLB Aldon Smith, Missouri
Posted on: April 19, 2011 1:12 pm
 

Seahawks would like to trade down; won't go far

The Seattle Seahawks held a pre-draft press conference yesterday with general manager John Schneider fielding questions from the local media.

Among the topics he addressed was the report from Peter King of Sports Illustrated that "Seattle wants to trade down so bad from 25 that John Schneider can taste it."

Rather than dismiss it - as many general managers would do at this point in the cloak and dagger pre-draft season, Schneider expanded upon it, explaing that, "Personally, I’d like to move back. I have confidence in our ability in those middle rounds to do some good stuff.”

Presumably, the Seahawks would like to move down to recoup the third round pick they gave up last year for the rights to quarterback Charlie Whitehurst.

And therein lies the irony of the situation.

It is the fact that Whitehurst is the only quarterback currently on the Seattle roster that makes it unlikely that Seattle will look to trade down too far on draft day, if they are able to land a deal in the first place. As I pointed out in a previous blog post, teams are expecting the contract rules to remain the same for this draft as they have been in the past. Now, this could change when a new CBA is signed, but teams generally go by the rules that have been in place, rather than projecting the new rules that could occur.

That means that the maximum number of years in a contract for a first round pick drafted between No. 16 and No. 32 is a five year deal. Players drafted No. 33 or later, however, can only receive a four-year contract.

Should Seattle be attempting to trade down with the hopes of landing a quarterback -- as some believe to be the case -- they won't want to trade out of the first round. The value of the extra year of the rookie deal is simply too valuable -- especially when dealing with a quarterback likely to spend at least the first year of the deal on the sideline.

It is the same reason why some of the teams in the top of the second round who may want to take a quarterback -- the Bills, Bengals, Cardinals, Titans, 49ers, Jaguars, etc. -- may ultimately have to trade up into the late first round to take the player who might have been available to them if they'd stayed put. In this wacky year, teams aren't just competing against each other for the rights to players, they want the longer, potentially cheaper contract for grooming their quarterbacks of the future.


Posted on: March 23, 2011 7:48 pm
 

SF coach Jim Harbaugh gushes about Cam Newton

New 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh acknowledged during his interview with the media at the Owners' Meetings that he had to be careful because he didn't want to give too much information away.

And then, he promptly gushed about Auburn quarterback Cam Newton, who conceivably could be on the board for the 49ers with the seventh overall pick.

Asked if there was more value in quarterbacks with mobility, Harbaugh, at first provided the more generic answer we're all used to NFL head coaches providing.

“Yeah, the ability to make people miss as a quarterback is critical. Avoid. Being able to go with your legs. We’ve got some quarterbacks in this draft like Cam Newton and (Blaine) Gabbert in particular, and Jake Locker that not only will make people miss and avoid people, but they can run and keep defenses out of certain coverages, which is quite the trait to have. And they can pick up first downs with their legs, keep the chains moving."

Nothing too flashy there, but then Harbaugh went on.

“And Cam Newton – that’s plutonium-grade raw material, you know? I haven’t seen upside like with this guy in probably the last 10 years.“

If Harbaugh is to be believed, it sounds like Newton isn't likely to slip past the 49ers should he still be on the board.
Posted on: March 9, 2011 2:08 pm
Edited on: March 9, 2011 5:11 pm
 

Texas A&M OLB Von Miller wows scouts with 4.49

A well respected talent evaluator once offered to me a comparison of Texas A&M pass rusher Von Miller to 49ers inside linebacker Patrick Willis. Each, he said, played with uncanny balance and open field tackling ability.

Miller proved similar to the San Francisco star in another way Wednesday -- by wowing onlookers with breath-taking speed rare for his position.

Miller and Willis were each recorded at 4.51 seconds in the 40-yard dash at their respective Combine workouts. While Miller was unable to match the eye-popping 4.37 second time Willis had at his Pro Day at Ole Miss in 2007, he did wow onlookers with a 4.49 second showing this morning at Texas A&M's Pro Day, according to a source on the scene.

Like Willis, Miller didn't need to run after a strong overall performance at the Combine but did anyway, impressing scouts on hand with his straight-line speed and his trademark agility in positional drills.

Among the notable coaches in attendance today were a pair of talented coaches, former Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator Billy Davis and Mike Zimmer for the Cincinnati Bengals.

Miller, the Butkus Award winner last season, recorded 27.5 sacks and 39 tackles for loss over the past two seasons. His ability to wreak havoc off the edge, highly competitive nature and maturity (he turned down NFL millions last year to return for his senior season) are all reasons why I rate Miller among the four elite prospects of the 2011 draft and currently project him fifth overall to Davis' Cardinals.



Posted on: February 24, 2011 10:30 am
 

Schedule for NFL personnel speaking at Combine

The Combine is, of course, about the prospects weighing in, taking medicals, doing interviews and working out.

For much of the media sitting inside the Lucas Oil Stadium, however, the Combine is more important in that many of the NFL's teams' head coaches and front office executives take questions.

For those of you interested, here is Thursday's schedule:

  • 10:00 Chan Gailey, head coach, Buffalo Bills
  • 10:15 Steve Spagnuolo, head coach, St. Louis Rams
  • 10:30 Ron Rivera, head coach, Carolina Panthers
  • 10:45 Jeff Ireland, general manager, Miami Dolphins
  • 11:00 John Fox, head coach, Denver Broncos
  • 11:15 Trent Baalke, general manager, San Francisco 49ers
  • 11:30 John Harbaugh, head coach, Baltimore Ravens
  • 11:45 Jim Schwartz, head coach, Detroit Lions
  • Noon Mark Dominik, general manager, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • 12:15 Kevin Colbert, Personnel Chief, Pittsburgh Steelers
  • 12:30 Rick Spielman, Vice President of Player Personnel, Minnesota Vikings
  • 12:45 Jim Harbaugh, head coach, San Francisco 49ers
  • 1:00 Hue Jackson, head coach, Oakland Raiders
  • 1:15 Mike Munchak, head coach, Tennessee Titans
  • 3:00 Howie Roseman, general manager, Philadelphia Eagles
  • 3:30 Rex Ryan, head coach, New York Jets
  • 3:45 Mike Tannebaum, general manager, New York Jets
  • 4:00 Jason Garrett, head coach, Dallas Cowboys
Posted on: October 6, 2010 1:54 pm
 

Viks, 'Hawks win now, but Pats, Bills better off

In our rush to judge the "winners" and "losers" in the trading of former Pro Bowlers Randy Moss and Marshawn Lynch, it is important to realize the impact they'd had so far for the Vikings and Bills, respectively.

Through four games with the Patriots, Randy Moss had continued the big play ways that will one day send him to the Hall of Fame, catching three touchdowns, but those scores came amidst shockingly poor numbers, overall: nine catches for 139 yards.

Through four games with the Bills, Marshawn Lynch had rushed for 164 yards on 34 attempts and caught one pass for seven yards. He had one fumble and zero touchdowns.

This isn't to suggest that Moss and Lynch won't make immediate impacts for their new clubs. There is no denying that the pieces are in place for Moss and Lynch to each make immediate impacts for the Vikings and Seahawks.

However, give the Patriots and Bills credit for recognizing that these two players were not significantly impacting their win totals this season and were not part of either teams' long-term plans. Rather than allow the situation to spiral out of control (like the Chargers have done with WR Vincent Jackson or the 49ers did with S Michael Lewis), each team got valuable draft picks in return.

Some will argue that the Patriots must be looking to the future by trading such a valuable deep threat as Randy Moss. Clearly the team doesn't expect to win now. I'd argue that with slot receivers Wes Welker and Julian Edelman and rookie tight ends Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski controlling the middle, Tom Brady at the helm and the big play potential of Brandon Tate outside, the Patriots' passing offense will be just fine this season.

Brandon Tate isn't just guy who is good at returning kicks. Remember, this is the receiver who started over Hakeem Nicks and Greg Little (who I believe is the most physically gifted senior WR in the country) at North Carolina.

And with the third round pick they got from the Vikings, the Patriots now have two picks in the first, second, third and fourth rounds of the 2011 draft. Doesn't it seem like New England has multiple Top 100 picks every year? And, as such, they're always reloading and never rebuilding? Exactly.

And the Bills, having used their 2010 first round pick on C.J. Spiller, clearly have other concerns than running back. Considering that they might be the least talented football team in the NFL, acquiring extra picks makes sense -- especially if they scratch out a few wins and have to potentially package them in order to move up to draft their quarterback of the future.

I expect the Vikings and Seahawks to enjoy the spoils of their trades early on. But the NFL isn't just about winning now. It is about winning long term. The Patriots have done that better than any team in the league. The Bills are wise to begin practicing some of the same strategies.




Posted on: October 5, 2010 1:29 pm
 

QB Bradford, S Mays earn Rookie of the Week

I was among the biggest critics of the St. Louis Rams' decision to draft quarterback Sam Bradford over the player I believed was the best and surest thing in the 2010 draft -- defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh.

My argument was simple. Suh was the better player and didn't have Bradford's durability questions. The counter to my argument, of course, was that Bradford played the game's most important position -- and when healthy -- he showed the accuracy of an All-Pro. I didn't disagree with this argument, only that I questioned if Bradford was and could remain healthy.

The question of Bradford's durability will remain, but there is no denying his talent -- which he put on display Sunday in the Rams' second consecutive win. With the win over division rival Seattle, the Bradford-led Rams are now tied atop the NFC West division at 2-2.

Bradford's numbers against the Seahawks (23 of 41 for 289 yards, two touchdowns and one interception) were impressive. However, they don't do him justice. Competing against a former Pro Bowl quarterback in Matt Hasselbeck who guided te Seahawks to the Super Bowl in 2005, Bradford was the more poised and accurate passer. He faced pressure, but calmly stepped up in the pocket and consistently placed the ball where only his receivers could catch it. Bradford exhibited the type of accuracy and ability to step up his play in a critical situation that so impressed me when I scouted his Pro Day workout in person.

There were several impressive performances by rookies on the offensive side of the ball last week, but none came close to that of Bradford, in my opinion.

The decision was a little tougher on the defensive side of the ball -- though one sparkling special teams' play tipped the balance in favor of San Francisco safety Taylor Mays .

Tennessee rookie cornerback Alterraun Verner enjoyed a solid game (11 tackles, three PBUs) against the Broncos and Philadelphia free safety Nate Allen recorded his fourth interception of the year in the Eagles' close loss to Donovan McNabb and the Redskins. 

Like Verner, Mays recorded 11 tackles Sunday. His performance was even more impressive considering that Sunday's game against the Falcons was his first career start. Mays gave the 49ers a different degree of physicality in the backhalf of their defense, pairing with another big hitter (Dashon Goldson) to limit the explosive Falcons offense to only 16 points at home. The Falcons had scored 41 points in their last home game against the Cardinals.

You've probably seen the special teams play that turned into the deciding factor in Mays' earning Defensive Rookie of the Week honors. The 49ers' Delanie Walker and Dominique Zeigler broke through the Atlanta line to block a Michael Koenen punt. Mays, showing better ball skills than he's generally been credited with, leapt high into the air, tracked the ball over his shoulder, caught it securely and pointed his toes to get both feet in bounds for the dazzling touchdown "catch."
 


 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com