Last year we knew what we had in Haralson at OLB and there was high hopes for Brooks following his new contract and for the rooke Aldon Smith. A year later Brooks is solid on one side and there are even higher hopes for Aldon as a full time OLB.
With the season ending injury to Haralson and the signing of a 35 year old Haggans (not required in Arizona's 3-4) I am concerned that any injury to Aldon or Brooks could seriously threaten the strength of the niners defence. The hope for the season is of course to win the Superbowl - when isn't it before opening day - but this team (thankfully) as a legitimate shot at it. What makes me jumpy is that Aldon is returning from a hip injury - never a quick heal and Brooks has been known to get banged up from time to time during the season. Both at this point are basically going to be relied upon to play every down for every game.
This I know you know but here's my thought. The team stockpiled draft picks last year in the draft and from trading Mayes and Jones. Late round picks will still struggle to make this team in 2013 so if there is a young OLB backing up somewhere that the Niners like (they put in a waiver claim for Westerman before Arizona claimed him) then please Baalke go out and trade a pick for him. He can learn the system this year and be the no.1 back up next year behind Brooks and Aldon - afterall Haralson is in his last year of his contract and may not be coming back (I'd welcome him back of course but if he's healthy then he's shown enough for another team in need of OLB help to offer him more money than the Niners will / can)
I hope the front office take a page from Justin Smith's book and realise that this is not the time to stockpile 5th - 7th round draft picks when we have a weak point in our armour and we have the ability to address it now - before the season starts and before an injury to Brooks / Aldon drives the trade price skyhigh.
I've no idea who is out there - that's the scouting dept's job - but perhaps you have a suggestion?
I can't help but think that Walsh would be trading now for a back-up / rotation pass-rush OLB to add some depth. Is Merriman as washed up as people say? He strikes me as a classic Walsh reclamation project.
Personally I'd go for a 1-2 year player who can be rotated in and learn the defence and from Haggans etc this year and be counted upon in 2013 to be a backup with Cam Johnson.
What do you think?
Get well soon Parys.
[ Edited by British9er on Sep 4, 2012 at 4:49 AM ]