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Rising Players

Alright, I'll edit as we go but who are your early picks of players that may make a huge jump next season and why (whether that's from an injury to strong contributions on the field or PS player or red-shirted rookie to key role player or starter). How about some other young gun surprises? This thread is about rising players for US even if they are just a crucial "role player" for us b/c as you know, every Superbowl team has to have a number of these guys. It could even include players who push and win starting roles that came out of nowhere (ala Brown a few years ago).

Examples in the recent past were Boone and Williams (both PS players) and Brock and Wilhoite and Skuta (some UDFA's).

My original dark-horses where as follows: Two dark-horse guys I'm keeping a close eye on are OT Luke Marquardt (placed on I.R. again) b/c we need a real swing T and he's described, "He's 6-8, 315 pounds with nary an ounce of fat" and RB Jewel Hampton (obviously Hyde erasing his chances here) who had a great pre season and is hungry (he'll surprise b/c of all the talk about Gore, Lattimore, Hunter and James). He seemed to have some Gore in him but also has the speed to get outside. Another guy on the cusp that may surprise people is DE Lawrence Okoye with a year of training under his belt under Tomsula coaching him up.

Updates: Given the additions via FA and the Draft, I will reassess to the following. I have to be honest, in the past, I had a good eye for some surprise players but this year, it's very difficult given the known starters and depth behind them. So I'll go with some long-shots in Ian Williams, Darryl Morris, L.J. McCray, Lawrence Okoye, Quinton Dial & Derek Carrier. First, Williams was the forgotten man but he clearly won the starting NT job and was slashing through gaps while being strong enough and stout enough to hold the point. He'll regain form and be even stronger/quicker and will stand out on film. Morris is my Cooper this year. While he may not have a ton of opportunities with Ward playing Nickle/Slot, when he gets on the field in the slot, you are going to see lightning out there helping to shut down Harvin and Austin and all the other electric slot WR's. Reports are he looks bigger and stronger and even faster which is scary. He's also returning kicks as well which is ideal plus he's already our best gunner on coverage units. McCray. Who? This kid is not only going to make the 53 as a backup S but as a dynamic returner. Keep an eye out for this guy. Okoye and Dial. Okoye will have come miles from last year and is going to surprise many (longest shot though IMHO) and Dial can now play NT and DE which is critical in our front 3 and in making the 53. Carrier is going to become that H-back we've missed since Walker left and is going to surprise quite a few in here.

Other guys I expect to now become "starters" or key "role players:"
CB Culliver to win the opposite spot opposite of Brock.
CB Cook is going to push Culliver VERY hard as is the rookie D. Johnson.
CB Morris is going to win and earn that slot-CB position to start the year over Ward.
NT Williams is one determined dude and don't be surprised if he pushed Dorsey hard for the starting spot again (and wins it). Health is the concern.
NT/DE Dial should also push for a significant rotational job this year at both DE and NT but don't count out TJE either.
OLB Lemonier is a guy who got used less and less but I have a feeling he'll earn a spot in a more serious rotation with Brooks/Aldon-Skuta
OLB Skuta played great last year and was ahead of Lemonier and now if Aldon is suspended, he'll get extended time.
C Kilgore is primed and ready and experienced but Martin could be the future.
G Looney (don't count him out at C either) but with Boone's holdout, he could surprise many here. Watch out for Seymour as well.
DE Carradine is healthy and ready to play and should start to split time with Justin/McDonald on a serious basis.
RB Lattimore (Harbaugh was already prepping fans for this move right after the NFCCG) but Hyde may be the future.
TE Carrier is intriguing and I would not be surprised to see him used more in the more traditional "Walker role" on certain sets.

PS: Last year I had some guys named in Hampton, Cooper, Morris...some others like Williams, Kilgore and FB Jason Schepler.
[ Edited by NCommand on Jul 17, 2014 at 9:47 AM ]
kinda doubt morris gets the nickel role tbh
Originally posted by lucky_49:
kinda doubt morris gets the nickel role tbh

agree, nickle role requires very good understanding of the scheme, that's why fangio loved rogers in that role

i honestly think tarrell brown will be back...the corner market is deep, he won't get the big bucks and will re-up w/ us and will move into the slot in nickle leaving brock and cully outside
Originally posted by iLL49er:
Originally posted by lucky_49:
kinda doubt morris gets the nickel role tbh

agree, nickle role requires very good understanding of the scheme, that's why fangio loved rogers in that role

i honestly think tarrell brown will be back...the corner market is deep, he won't get the big bucks and will re-up w/ us and will move into the slot in nickle leaving brock and cully outside

brown, brock, cully would be a really good CB corps. We should also draft a corner at some point. biggest secondary question is really strong safety, which if whitner leaves is almost definitely going to be solved in the draft
i don't think losing whitner will be that big of a deal. if we get ha ha clinton dix to pair w/ eric reid that'd be one huge upgrade
Patton
I can honestly see the 49ers coming up with a 3 TE set that involves VD, McDonald and Carrier.
Originally posted by iLL49er:
Originally posted by lucky_49:
kinda doubt morris gets the nickel role tbh

agree, nickle role requires very good understanding of the scheme, that's why fangio loved rogers in that role

i honestly think tarrell brown will be back...the corner market is deep, he won't get the big bucks and will re-up w/ us and will move into the slot in nickle leaving brock and cully outside

That is a possibility, but even if the market is cold, I just don't see it in terms of money. He'd pretty much have to accept the same deal as Brock. I do believe Brown can get more than 4 million a year on the open market. Now if he doesn't, then I say we should welcome him back with open arms. That also means that Whitner is definitely gone. I figured we could at least sign Whitner to a contract that would allow us to keep him through another Super Bowl run or two before having him restructure or release when we have a young safety ready to step in and start.
Marcus Lattimore - I think he gets a significant amount of carries as the #2 back. Too talented to sit on the bench

Daniel Kilgore - Going into his 4th year. More than ready to take over for Goodwin. Has a nasty streak. Performed well in pre-season starts.

Tank Carradine - Will be a key part of the D-line rotation. Very good athlete for the position. Adds some pass-rush ability from that spot.

Chris Culliver - Excellent cover corner, despite his poor SB performance. Has had a lot of time to heal. Should bounce back strong.

C.J. Spillman - I think he gets a shot at replacing Whitner, if he departs. He is very athletic, a hard-hitter, and sound tackler.
[ Edited by SofaKing on Feb 11, 2014 at 8:23 PM ]
My money is on Chris Culliver.

I understand that he had an awful Superbowl and it's unforgivable to some on this board, but the guy is young, big, athletic, and has tons of confidence.

His stock is up, in my opinion.
Tank: I think he comes in and does a great job for us rushing the passer on 3rd down and helps in the DE rotation
Lattimore: Don't be surprised if it's obvious by midseason (or earlier) that's he's the new man in town at the RB position
Kilgore: I think he steps in as the new starting center and does a better job than Goodwin
Patton: He'll be our #3 WR and I think he makes a huge lead from his rookie year
Vance: Dude is just too big & fast (for his size) to not do something in the passing game, like Patton, I think we see a huge difference next season
Culliver: I think we draft a rookie CB high in the draft and Cully holds him off
Lemonier: Fangio said he was further along than Aldon was his rookie year overall. The play of Skuta I think hurt him this year but I'm betting we hold Bowman out a few weeks to start the season and Skuta plays ILB while he's out, Corey proves to be a valuable passrusher.
Rookie SS: I know it's weird to call this out now, but I think like Reid did in place of Goldson, I'm betting the new rookie SS (whoever he is lol) ends up doing a better job in coverage than Whitner and improves the secondary.
Lemonier: He needed more strength to play with the big boys of the NFL. One good offseason with NFL coaches will do him proper. If Skuta wins as Bow's replacement, Lemon can get quality reps rotating with Aldon/Brooks. I want him to eventually overtake Brooks' spot on passing downs and hope it happens next season. For what the 49ers need, Lemon should focus on rushing the passer instead of dropping back into coverage.
Lemonier will add another big time pass rusher to the D as he gains more strength in the off season. Morris has the one thing that can't be taught - speed, get him on the field. Spillman has earned a shot, he's always around the ball. Patton has breakout written all over him and McDonald is the entire package,put him in position to use it. My only concern is Tank, is he completely healthy?
Originally posted by matt49er:
Tank: I think he comes in and does a great job for us rushing the passer on 3rd down and helps in the DE rotation
Lattimore: Don't be surprised if it's obvious by midseason (or earlier) that's he's the new man in town at the RB position
Kilgore: I think he steps in as the new starting center and does a better job than Goodwin
Patton: He'll be our #3 WR and I think he makes a huge lead from his rookie year
Vance: Dude is just too big & fast (for his size) to not do something in the passing game, like Patton, I think we see a huge difference next season
Culliver: I think we draft a rookie CB high in the draft and Cully holds him off
Lemonier: Fangio said he was further along than Aldon was his rookie year overall. The play of Skuta I think hurt him this year but I'm betting we hold Bowman out a few weeks to start the season and Skuta plays ILB while he's out, Corey proves to be a valuable passrusher.
Rookie SS: I know it's weird to call this out now, but I think like Reid did in place of Goldson, I'm betting the new rookie SS (whoever he is lol) ends up doing a better job in coverage than Whitner and improves the secondary.

I've been telling my buddies that I think Willis will take over The Mike and there going to Sub Wilhoit and Brooks at the Ted, but your guess is as good as mine. Good post btw.
Patton = Josh Gordon