Tag:San Francisco 49ers
Posted on: April 23, 2010 3:25 pm

NFC West First Round Comments

Following the conclusion of the draft, I'll be providing grades for all 32 teams. I've begun the process of writing these grades up based on what transpired in the first round yesterday. I'll be posting comments for each team, by their division, in the blog over the next few hours.

Here is how I saw the action from the NFC West perspective:

Arizona Cardinals: With concerns about the development of recent picks Gabe Watson and Alan Branch, the Cardinals had to be pleased to see Tennessee’s Dan Williams still on the board at No. 26. Williams was the most dominant defensive tackle in the SEC this past season, but some teams were nervous that he only elevated his game to this level as a senior. If the Cardinals can keep him motivated, they will have found a true steal in Williams.

St. Louis Rams: The Rams were on the phones talking trade up until they made the pick, but in the end they filled the need for a franchise quarterback in Sam Bradford. The club has to be concerned with Bradford’s inability to stay healthy in 2009, but there is no denying his talent. When protected, he’s shown the accuracy of an All-Pro.

San Francisco 49ers: With an established star in Frank Gore many casual fans might have thought the 49ers were among the best running teams in the league, but an inability to gain an inch on short yardage plays made addressing the offensive line a huge concern for Mike Singletary. Trading up to No. 11 to get Anthony Davis might have been an unnecessary move, as he likely would have been available to the 49ers at their original No. 13 selection. He provides the 49ers with a quality athlete in tandem with current left tackle Joe Staley. Having athletic tackles will help in Mike Iupati’s adjustment to the NFL’s speedier pass rushers. Few, if any presented Iupati’s power as a drive blocker.

Seattle Seahawks: Along with the 49ers, the Seahawks were the only team to enter the draft with two first round picks and successfully filled their two largest holes when talented players fell right into their lap. Seattle’s biggest concern was at left tackle considering the expected retirement of future Hall of Famer Walter Jones. Russell Okung was graded by many as the top offensive tackle in the draft and was a surprise to still be on the board at six. Similarly, with Seattle releasing free safety and team captain Deon Grant a month before the draft, the team was fortunate to have Texas’ Earl Thomas slip to them at No. 14. A classic ballhawk, he, like Okung, will start immediately.

Posted on: April 22, 2010 9:40 pm
Edited on: April 22, 2010 10:41 pm

San Francisco building their running game

The San Francisco 49ers might be pulling away from the competition in the wide-open NFC West with their reinforcements along the offensive line.

While the general perception among NFL followers might be that the 49ers have enjoyed a stout rushing attack with Frank Gore, San Francisco had struggled in short yardage situations and wanted to get more physical up front.

The team aggressively moved up for former Rutgers' tackle Anthony Davis with 11th pick, swapping with the Denver Broncos. Davis, who some offensive line coaches feel has the most upside as a pass blocker in this draft, gives San Francisco as athletic a pair of offensive tackles as there is in the league with Joe Staley.

The concern with Davis has been maturity. Considering the gains head coach Mike Ditka Singletary has made with Vernon Davis, he could be one of the best able to motivate him to achieve his potential.

Mike Iupati, however, might be the more intriguing pick due to his ability to generate movement in short yardage situations. For all of his hype, Iupati was exposed a bit at the Senior Bowl for some struggles in pass protection. Considering the athleticism of San Francisco's tackles, however, his limited flexibility and reliance on his upper body strength as a pass blocker can be effectively contained.

Posted on: April 16, 2010 5:18 pm

Addition of Ginn means Spiller won't be a 49er

San Francisco's trade for former Miami wide receiver Ted Ginn, Jr. likely means they won't now be willing to invest a pick in Clemson running back CJ Spiller.

The reason is simple. At least some of the reason why San Franciso had been intrigued by Spiller was his return ability. Spiller returned seven kickoffs for touchdowns over his career. The 49ers finished last in the league last year in punt returns and haven't had anyone return more than one kickoff for a score in the same year in the past 20 seasons.

Ginn returned two in the same game last year.

Considering how Miami had been looking to rid themselves of Ginn and the cheap cost with which the 49ers were able to fill one of their greatest needs, this appears to be one of the few NFL trades in which both teams came out winners.
Posted on: March 18, 2010 6:21 pm

McCloughan's leave of absence won't break 49ers

In this McDonaldized world of media in which readers demand the who, what, when, where and why a moment after news breaks, speculation has become rampant as to what impact might be felt on the 49ers plans for the 2010 draft after the news general manager Scot McCloughan is taking a personal leave of absence.

The timing, of course, is odd. The draft is little more than a month away and the 49ers own the 13th and 17th overall picks. For a team with young stars in Frank Gore, Vernon Davis, Patrick Willis, and Michael Crabtree, they appear capable of taking the next step and winning the NFL West Division. After all, the Cardinals are clearly weaker considering the loss of Kurt Warner, Anquan Boldin, Karlos Dansby and Antrel Rolle. The 49ers are coming off of their most competitive season in years, winning five of their six divisional games (including going 2-0 against Arizona) and finished just outside of the playoffs at 8-8.

McCloughan has a very good eye for talent. His ability to read the board and project which players will rise or slide is acknowledged by other teams throughout the league. He'll be missed in the San Francisco draft room, should it come down to that.

However, he's also surrounded himself with a quality staff. Director of Player Personnel Trent Baalke and director of Player Pro Personnel Tom Gamble are widely respected. Baalke was reportedly an early candidate for the Seattle general manager position.

Scot McCloughan's brother, Dave, is the 49ers' Director of College Scouting. He didn't earn this position with his last name. He was a standout safety drafted out of Colorado who spent time with the Seahawks, Packers and Colts before joining his father, Kent McCloughan, as a scout with the Raiders. 

While the perception is that draft boards are fluctuating every day with the improved workouts players are putting forth in Pro Days across the country, in reality, much of the hard work in preparing for the 2010 draft has already been done.

Whether he's the one actually making the pick or not, the 49ers 2010 draft will have Scot McCloughan's fingerprints on it.

Considering that the 49ers appear poised to take control of the NFC West -- largely based on players McCloughan drafted -- that's a good thing.
Posted on: February 26, 2010 9:20 am

Coin Tosses Over, Official Draft Order Finalized

Three coin flips took place this morning to determine the official order of the 2010 NFL draft.

The Jaguars won the first coin toss over the Chicago Bears. The Bears had previously sent their 2010 first round pick to the Denver Broncos as part of the Jay Cutler trade. Therefore, the Jaguars will be picking 10th overall. The Broncos will have the Bears' pick, 11th overall.

The Tennessee Titans will pick 16th overall after winning their coin toss with the Carolina Panthers. The Panthers had previously traded their 2010 first round pick to the San Francisco 49ers, so the 49ers' second pick of the opening frame will come at No. 17. San Francisco also has the 13th pick of the draft.

Finally, the Atlanta Falcons won the rights to the 19th overall pick by winning a coin flip with the Houston Texans, who will pick 20th.

The coin flip to determine order was put in place by the league to separate teams that finish the season with identical records and opponent winning percentages.

Regardless of the winner of the coin flip, teams that finished tied, will alternate each round. For example, the Falcons, by winning the coin toss, will draft 19th in the first round, to be followed by the Texans at #20. Houston, however, will get the 19th pick in the second round, with the Falcons next.

Posted on: February 25, 2010 11:53 am

49ers thinking RB early?

With an established star in Frank Gore and last year's third round pick Glen Coffee, the 49ers would seem to be in position to ignore running back this year and instead focus on other concerns.

However, with a second pick in the first round this year (trade last April with Carolina) and the NFC West suddenly wide open due to the retirement of Kurt Warner, the 49ers could elect to splurge on an immediate impact threat. 

Drafting another running back high is a strategy that general manager Scot McCloughan seemed to endorse, though not mentioning any player by name, in his question and answer session with the media that unofficially opened the 2010 Combine.

"We could," McCloughan admitted. "I think it comes down to what will be his role with us? Would there be any special teams value involved in it? I think where you take him in the draft is going to depend on what role he's going to have with us.

McCloughan was quick to point that the pick wouldn't be to replace star Frank Gore, but to compliment him.

"Frank Gore is a really good football player for us and we expect him to be a really good football player for us for the next couple years," McCloughan said. "We also understand that he can't go forever. If we can try to limit his carries now somewhat -- he doesn't like it -- but if we protect him [we'll be better]. Our vision is we need him for those 16 games and for the playoffs."

The 49ers haven't had more than one punt and/or kick return touchdown in any season since the Steve Young era...

Whether it in the first round with a CJ Spiller, the second or third for a Dexter McCluster or the late rounds for a Brandon James/Brandon Banks type, expect to see the club address this concern on draft day.

Posted on: February 25, 2010 9:20 am

Welcome to the Combine

The media are beginning to congregate in the lobby and workrooms of Lucas Oil Stadium in preparation for the beginning of the 2010 NFL Scouting Combine.

The actual player workouts will not begin until tomorrow, but the first wave of head coaches, front office executives and prospects will be herded into the room to field questions from the media.

First up is San Francisco head coach Mike Singletary, to be followed shortly by fellow 49er, general manager Scot McCloughan. These interviews are scheduled to begin in about an hour.

Specialists (Punters,Kickers), Offensive Linemen and Tight Ends will be coming through shortly to begin the player interviews.

Be sure to check back on the blog frequently as we get interesting nuggets of information from the players, coaches and front office executives.
Posted on: October 7, 2009 5:44 pm

Ridicule Crabtree now, he'll make you a believer

I am as disappointed in the lengthy holdout by Michael Crabtree and his agent Eugene Parker as anyone. The decision to do so netted very little -- if any -- extra money and robbed Crabtree of the opportunity to have the breakout rookie campaign that his unique skill and San Francisco's need for a playmaking wide receiver made seem possible.

That said, for those of you who enjoy badmouthing professional athletes and some of their dubious decisions, laugh now, because Crabtree has the kind of talent to rival Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin as the premier pass-catchers of the NFC West division -- and he could do so within a year from now.

In ten years of scouting there is only one receiver I've seen with more natural talent than Crabtree and that was Calvin Johnson.

Prior to the draft, NFLDraftScout.com rated Crabtree as our top-rated prospect. I stand behind that assessment and applauded San Franciso for their decision to take him with the tenth overall pick.

I recognized the issues that came with Crabtree. His holdout, while longer than anticipated, surprised no one.

But believe me when I tell you, that among the scouting community, no one will be surprised when this kid develops into a Pro Bowl receiver, either...
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com