Originally posted by NCommand:
Originally posted by LifelongNiner:
Originally posted by GoldandGarnet:I'm not going to debate about whether it's DE or NT because we are on the same page. Look at it this way, the Patriots, Steelers, and Ravens are in the same pass happy league we are in. Do you see the Patriots taking Vince Wilfork off of the field for 69% of the snaps? I'm not saying a Vince Wilfork type will or will not be available at 31. What I am saying is imagine if we had a dominant NT that offenses had to account for? Considering we already have Justin Smith, if teams decide to double both Smith and our NT, imagine what it does for Ray McDonald and our linebackers? Of course we need help at DE, CB, S, and WR. But since this thread was about a #1 priority, I'd argue thata having an upgrade in the middle of our line helps us immediately and longterm. It helps Smith because he and the rest of the front 7 will have less offensive lineman trying to block them, and it helps the eventual replacement (the #2 priority) because they would be playing next to someone dominant as well.
I have to disagree with you. Our #1 priority is to find Justin Smith #2. I forgot where I saw the stat line (I can find it if I have to) that said that Soap played like 31% of defensive snaps. You want to tie up our future and millions of dollars in a position that is going the way of the FB? The NFL trend now is 3 and 4 receiver sets, spread'em out. Thats why drafting Aldon Smith last year was genius--he didn't HAVE to be and every down LB. If we are in Nickle 60-70% of the time, we need a good NT, but nothing to sell the farm for. Its another story if one falls in your lap. Football is now about containing the pass. Soap would be stupid to follow his predecessor--Franklin--for that big FA money.Remember when we thought we HAD to keep Franklin? Baalke breaks the bank for no one, and these players know it.
Baalke will decide what he is willing to pay for Soap and Ricky Jean, and that will be that. No big deal. He'll keep one of them. The way offenses are going now, they are almost interchangeable.
The bigger issue is just what you said, Justin Smith. No Justin Smith = very mediocre defense. Having said that, the Justin Smiths of the world are RARE animals. JJ Watt is going to be the closest thing we are going to see like JS for years. I'd be happy to draft a guy like Ray McDonald. Quality starter, and was quality depth.
I have faith that Tomsula and Baalke will find the right guy(s). Tomsula knows his guys, and knows who to look for.
A close second is the CB situation. Culliver was gameplanned for by the Ravens. He has trouble tracking the ball and doesn't seem to get his head around to track it. We need a big, physical corner to contest the LOS and go against the Larry Fitzgerald types. It would also make Rogers expendable.
We also need depth at safety. Whitner can't hold up with big basketball playing TEs like J. Graham. We need a taller, more coverage style guy to mirror Goldson. In the box safetys, like fullbacks, and nose tackles, aren't the commodities anymore. QBs/WRs, and DE(rushers)/CBs are.
I agree with both of you. We need both. A dominant, prototypical wide-bodied, every-down NT will essentially help 3-fold. It clogs the A-gap running lanes, frees up the MLB's and DE/OLB's and also can help lead to TO's (sacks) by collapsing the middle pocket and step-up-area for QB's. Also, the RDE is used very similar to the NT in that this guy can also occupy two defenders, freeing up the OLB inside/outside, can knock down passes and collapse the pocket from the edge and contribute to sealing the edge in the run game. We need both BADLY and with a heavy rotation (coaching/scheme issue). RJF is average at best at both NT/RDE. Sopoaga is experienced but would be ideal spelling a true wide-bodied NT and at DE in our 3-4.
The good news is that our work is clearly cut out for us...now it will be up to our FO to fill those needs for now and well into our future.
Yea, we need both, but I think you have to consider each draft individually. What if we can't have both? What if we can draft both, but drafting one early will only drop of to the next shelf of talent for the other. Which is the priority is the question at hand. We can need in one hand and Sh!t in the other. All draft classes are not the same.
We'll know more about what the 49ers are thinking as the situation unfolds on Ricky Jean's and Soap's contracts. They will be a good indication.