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Position group discussion: Inside Linebackers

  • Karma
  • Veteran
  • Posts: 753
No position group, in my opinion, has a greater gap between starters and backups. This is a pretty easy group to judge, but I'm sure there will still be disagreement. It is Niner Talk after all.

Roster Spots: 4-5

Locks: Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman

Competition:Michael Wilhoite, Dan Skuta, Nathan Stupar, Nick Moody

Possible position change: Darius Fleming

Outlook: We know about the starters. Barring injury, they'll be manning the middle. The competition is the back-ups. I am a fan of Michael Wilhoite. He was fantastic on special teams and he has the size to be able to develop into a playable back-up. Skuta and Stupar will try to make their case on special teams. Skuta has the experience advantage but Stupar will get every opportunity to out play him. Fleming is the wild card. The OLB position is suddenly stacked. Fleming definitely has talent, but his injury finds him a year behind. I think his only shot at the roster is at this position. Moody is a guy that probably needs a year to develop. I would love to see him on the practice squad, similar to Wilhoite's development. He has an outside shot at the roster if he proves to be a ST stud, but he offers the least on the defensive side at this point.
This group is set, some competition for backup roles.
  • Tman
  • Veteran
  • Posts: 4,181
Move Willis to safety
  • buck
  • Veteran
  • Posts: 9,647
Bowman and Willis are locks.

The goal is to get the two best back-ups behind them.

My first choice is Darius Fleming. I would move him inside.
Dan Skuta would be my second choice at back-up. He NFL experience and is good on special teams.

Michael Wilhoite, Nathan Stupar, and Nick Moody fight for a special team roster spot.
Does it bug anyone else when people say we have the best duo or pair of inside linebackers in the league? When in reality they are the two best. If a team had the 3rd best and 7th best or something, that could comprise the best duo, but it sells us short and shortchanges us. It's like, perhaps the Falcons or Bears have the best WR duo in the league. Doesn't make White/Jones or Jeffery/Marshall the best and 2nd best WRs in the league. But for us, Willis and Bowman indeed are the best and 2nd best ILBs in the league. Such a pet peeve of mine.
Christian Jones from Florida St ...at 6-3 240 , he would be big enough to play ILB, plus he has the speed to be a decent reserve OLB ...worth a shot if he is there in the 4th round, he is quick and aggressive , I like this kid, he could provide quality depth for us
  • buck
  • Veteran
  • Posts: 9,647
This year will be more of a challenge. Bowman will miss significant playing.
Hope his recovery goes well and rapidly.


Michael Wilhoite did well last year as a back up.

Moody has one year of seasoning.

I hope that Darius Fleming has better luck than he has had.

We could add a ILB in the draft. Jordan Tripp is a third/fourth round possibility.
Originally posted by Karma:
No position group, in my opinion, has a greater gap between starters and backups. This is a pretty easy group to judge, but I'm sure there will still be disagreement. It is Niner Talk after all.

Roster Spots: 4-5

Locks: Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman

Competition:Michael Wilhoite, Dan Skuta, Nathan Stupar, Nick Moody

Possible position change: Darius Fleming

Outlook: We know about the starters. Barring injury, they'll be manning the middle. The competition is the back-ups. I am a fan of Michael Wilhoite. He was fantastic on special teams and he has the size to be able to develop into a playable back-up. Skuta and Stupar will try to make their case on special teams. Skuta has the experience advantage but Stupar will get every opportunity to out play him. Fleming is the wild card. The OLB position is suddenly stacked. Fleming definitely has talent, but his injury finds him a year behind. I think his only shot at the roster is at this position. Moody is a guy that probably needs a year to develop. I would love to see him on the practice squad, similar to Wilhoite's development. He has an outside shot at the roster if he proves to be a ST stud, but he offers the least on the defensive side at this point.

Good thread...I like it. Fleming has missed the past two years d/t injury, right? I believe you are right about his position switch as well. What I find interesting is that it sounds like we'll run some different defensive schemes esp. with Bowman out and now we hear Moody (a former S) is training with CK. Perhaps they plan to use him in a hybrid role on passing downs while Wilhoite locks down the run downs? There have been talks of drafting Shayne Skov.
Originally posted by buck:
This year will be more of a challenge. Bowman will miss significant playing.
Hope his recovery goes well and rapidly.


Michael Wilhoite did well last year as a back up.

Moody has one year of seasoning.

I hope that Darius Fleming has better luck than he has had.

We could add a ILB in the draft. Jordan Tripp is a third/fourth round possibility.

I would feel comfortable going into the season with a platoon of Wilhoite, Skuta and Moody at ILB until Bowman comes back, something tells me Moody will have a strong pre-season, and Wilhoite proved he can play in this league ...I hope Fleming can finally stay healthy, don't know what his chances are of getting any playing time at ILB ? ..cause its looking like we will grab another ILB in the middle rounds of the draft
I liked Larry Grant as the backup quite a bit more than Wilhoite. I don't think Wilhoite is terrible, but I also don't think he's the best backup
  • cciowa
  • Veteran
  • Posts: 24,240
Originally posted by buck:
This year will be more of a challenge. Bowman will miss significant playing.
Hope his recovery goes well and rapidly.


Michael Wilhoite did well last year as a back up.

Moody has one year of seasoning.

I hope that Darius Fleming has better luck than he has had.

We could add a ILB in the draft. Jordan Tripp is a third/fourth round possibility.
skuta can play inside to,, not a big need and if we get a backer it will be 6th round or a cheap vet after june first. not worried even with the loss of bowman
  • cciowa
  • Veteran
  • Posts: 24,240
Originally posted by pwillis52beasty:
I liked Larry Grant as the backup quite a bit more than Wilhoite. I don't think Wilhoite is terrible, but I also don't think he's the best backup

he is a x niner for a reason,, Michael W is more than solid . I will meet you halfway,, if we do not sign a kid in the latter stages of the draft, maybe grant is one of the cheap vets we pick up for the hell of it after june first. however i think we are more than fine with the current guys on the roster
Can't see us investing anything more than a garbage time pick on ILB. Current depth looks fine to me.
  • Disp
  • Veteran
  • Posts: 1,507
Originally posted by English:
Can't see us investing anything more than a garbage time pick on ILB. Current depth looks fine to me.

Yep, dudes on the roster are good enough til Bowman gets back. Will be interesting to see if Skuta plays more ILB this year, or if they keep him strictly at OLB.
Originally posted by cciowa:
Originally posted by pwillis52beasty:
I liked Larry Grant as the backup quite a bit more than Wilhoite. I don't think Wilhoite is terrible, but I also don't think he's the best backup

he is a x niner for a reason,, Michael W is more than solid . I will meet you halfway,, if we do not sign a kid in the latter stages of the draft, maybe grant is one of the cheap vets we pick up for the hell of it after june first. however i think we are more than fine with the current guys on the roster

He's an ex niner because he took peds, which is also why he was pretty darn good though. Lol. Just ask Richard Sherman what peds can do for you.