• By Levin T. Black
    Apr 3, 2020 at 1:48 PM 4 comments
    The San Francisco 49ers have an abundance of options with the No. 13 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft and some aren't at the widely assumed position. It is true that wide receiver seems the likely path, but it is not a slam dunk. The team could surprise and go with another position. It wouldn't be the first time this offseason that the 49ers shocked fans and pundits around the league. No one thought defensive tackle DeForest Buckner would be traded until it happened. General manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan will ultimately make the draft decision together. The 49ers have been working out offensive tackles in recent weeks. They could choose to grab Joe Staley's heir at left tackle and play him at guard for a year or two. Or they could go with...
  • By Don Atkinson
    Mar 24, 2020 at 9:30 PM 9 comments
    It's been just about a week since the official start of the 2020 NFL season, and in that short period things are suddenly shaking out for the 49ers in terms of their initial roster. Star defensive lineman DeForest Buckner is gone, as are veteran wideout Emmanuel Sanders and long-standing offensive lineman Mike Person. Defensive line anchor Arik Armstead is staying, along with Safety Jimmie Ward and nearly all the team's key reserve players. Now approaching the 2020 NFL draft, the 49ers find themselves in an enviable position: They are coming off a Super Bowl season with their roster functionally intact, and they are in serious need at very few positions. It's doubtful the 49ers are worrying much at all about their overall situation, but they are justifiably a bit concerned...
  • By Don Atkinson
    Mar 19, 2020 at 5:47 PM 7 comments
    Amidst the attention-grabbing news of election politics and a serious pandemic, the off-season bargaining and dealings of the NFL have largely gotten lost. Not much from the world of professional football has made it into the headlines apart perhaps from legendary quarterback Tom Brady leaving icy New England for the humidity of sunny Florida, where he will now, theoretically anyway, throw touchdowns for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. One thing that has gotten little attention, yet is certainly notable, is that the NFC Champion San Francisco 49ers have made it nearly to the NFL draft with their Super Bowl LIV team functionally intact. 49ers General Manager John Lynch and Head Coach Kyle Shanahan, at least thus far, have done an outstanding job at checking the team's...
  • By Bret Rumbeck
    Mar 17, 2020 at 7:00 AM 7 comments
    Between 2014 and 2018, the San Francisco 49ers achieved a dismal win-loss record of 25-55. The only reward from the dark stretch of football were high draft picks to try and rebuild a broken franchise. During that time, the team was able to build up a formidable defensive line through the NFL Draft. The 49ers selected a defensive lineman in three straight drafts, starting with Arik Armstead in 2015. It took some time, along with adding two menacing defensive ends, for the world to witness the full potential of the 49ers' defensive line. The NFL, unfortunately, is not a fantasy world where the roaring success and triumphs last for decades. No sir. The average player lasts for just over three seasons, and great players will...
  • By Gilbert Brink
    Mar 13, 2020 at 12:03 PM 2 comments
    Transformative. How many players can completely change a team just by stepping on the field? Defensive end Nick Bosa did just that for the 49ers in 2019. For years 49ers fans would watch opposing quarterbacks enjoy a comfortable pocket to pass from as they carved up the 49ers secondary. Thanks to the #2 overall pick in the 2019 draft, the opposing quarterbacks weren't afforded that luxury. Bosa won the 2019 Associated Press Rookie of the year award and there was a point in the season when he was contending for Defensive Player of the Year as well. Offenses struggled to stop Bosa as his supreme technique, indefatigable effort and superb athleticism dominated the field on Sundays. Pro Football Focus actually noted...
  • By Gilbert Brink
    Mar 13, 2020 at 11:09 AM 3 comments
    Jimmy Garoppolo; Super Bowl winning quarterback. That will one day be a headline that you will read. Though the 49ers signal caller came up short in the biggest moment of his career in Super Bowl 54, there are many more moments to come. Garoppolo is 28 years old coming off his first full season as an NFL starter. Recency bias has caused many to question the ability of this rising star. The final 3 games of the 49ers season have caused some to neglect the 16 games that came prior. In those 16 games (the NFL regular season), Garoppolo ranked 5th in completion percentage, 5th in touchdown passes, 8th in passer rating and 3rd in yards per attempt. All of this, in his first full season as a starter. Despite the statistical production, the Super Bowl appearance and...
  • By Gilbert Brink
    Mar 13, 2020 at 8:25 AM 0 comments
    George Kittle is the best tight end in football. There is no argument to be made against it. No tight end does for his team what George Kittle does for the San Francisco 49ers. Kittle is an unstoppable force in the passing game, displaying an elite ability to gain yards after the catch with the ball in his hands. In 2018 Kittle set the NFL record for receiving yards for a tight end with 1,377. That alone exemplifies the value he brings to the offense, but when you pair his ability catching the ball with his blocking ability, you really begin to see what makes Kittle so special. Not only does Kittle excel on the field, he is essential to the success of the 49ers off the field. Kittle brings a jovial attitude to the game that is infectious. A leader in every sense...
  • By Gilbert Brink
    Mar 12, 2020 at 12:24 PM 0 comments
    DeForest Buckner was a great 49ers defensive lineman before it was cool. Prior to the acquisitions of Dee Ford and Nick Bosa and the emergence of Arik Armstead, DeForest Buckner was the only dominant force on the 49ers defense, period. One only must go back to Super Bowl 54 to see the importance that Buckner plays in the 49ers defense. Registering 1.5 sacks, he was a half-step away from sacking Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes on the now infamous 3rd and 15 bomb to Chiefs WR Tyreek Hill. Buckner brings havoc from the interior line and must always be accounted for by opposing offenses. Buckner is a defensive leader and a key to sustained success for the 49ers. 2019 Performance Buckner's statistic production saw a decrease from 2018, mostly...
  • By Gilbert Brink
    Mar 12, 2020 at 7:17 AM 1 comment
    On the field defensive end Dee Ford is a dominant force. A blazing quick edge rusher who can completely wreck a passing offense with the pressure he puts on the quarterback. When the 49ers traded for Ford and paired him with defensive end Nick Bosa, they created a 1-2 punch on the defensive line that propelled the 49ers into title contention. It's hard to find anything bad to say about Dee Ford, but there is one obvious flaw in his game: his ability to stay on the field. Through 6 seasons of his career Ford has only one when he played all 16 games. The 49ers knew this when they traded for him in 2019, and while Ford missed nearly half the season due to injury, his return in the playoffs aided the 49ers defense on its road to the Super Bowl. Only one player on the...
  • By Gilbert Brink
    Mar 11, 2020 at 7:22 AM 1 comment
    Tyshun Raequan Samuel is a bully. His play on the field lives up to the character his nickname is derived from, Deebo, from the classic comedy "Friday". On Sundays he will punch you in the face, take your beach cruiser and the chain your grandmother gave you. If any receiver epitomizes the mentality that Kyle Shanahan is looking for from the wide receiver position better than Samuel, show him to me. I don't believe he exists. When the ball is in his hands, Samuel turns from wide receiver to running back and brings a punishing running style that eludes 1 tackler and puts a beating on the next. The 49ers' top two targets towards the end of the season shared this common trait, both Deebo Samuel and George Kittle played with a toughness that cannot be found on paper. No statistic...
  • By Gilbert Brink
    Mar 10, 2020 at 7:23 AM 0 comments
    Heroes aren't always who you expect them to be. The name Richard Sherman was a vile one to 49ers fans prior to 2018. A hated rival, who took joy in gloating over the fallen 49ers teams of the past. This long-time Seahawk personified the heated rivalry between San Francisco and Seattle more than any one player. Heroes aren't always who you expect them to be. January 19th 2020, Richard Sherman intercepts Aaron Rodgers and seals the 49ers 7th trip to the Super Bowl. One of the most hated rivals in 49ers history has become a 49ers legend. January 19th 2014, Richard Sherman seals the Seahawks Super Bowl birth by tipping away a Colin Kaepernick pass into the hands of linebacker Malcolm Smith. What a difference 6 years can make. Richard Sherman was a hero for the 49ers...
  • By Gilbert Brink
    Mar 9, 2020 at 7:07 AM 1 comment
    Fred Warner is the heart and soul of the 49ers defense. Drafted in the 3rd round in 2018, the 49ers saw a rangy hybrid linebacker who represented an evolution of the position. Warner was not meant to be the run stopping middle linebacker from a bygone era, Warner's skills perfectly matched the current state of the game. A game in which passing is emphasized by coaching and officiating, where a good QB earns $30 million a year while the very best running back can't make $15 million. Though the 49ers drafted Warner with this in mind, they got so much more than they bargained for. Upon his arrival the 49ers hoped to pair him with Rueben Foster as their 1-2 punch at linebacker. Foster was their first-round pick from 2017, and looked to be the future of the defense. This made it...
  • By Gilbert Brink
    Mar 5, 2020 at 7:16 AM 0 comments
    Joe Staley is the 49ers. San Francisco needed a left tackle in 2007 to protect the blind side of its recently drafted franchise QB and it turned to Staley with the 28th pick in the 1st round. 14 years later Staley still holds court on the left side of the line every Sunday for the San Francisco 49ers. During his 14-year career, Staley has been part of some of the best and some of the worst teams in 49ers history. He has played for 2 Super Bowl teams, he also has suffered a 2-14 season. In the beginning of the Shanahan-Lynch era, Staley was pondering retirement. Head coach Kyle Shanahan was able to persuade Staley to look for the light at the end of the tunnel, coaxing him to stay and help the 49ers acquire their 6th Lombardi trophy. Staley stayed, and on February...
  • By Bret Rumbeck
    Mar 5, 2020 at 7:00 AM 2 comments
    It's been a cruel truth to accept, but San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan has not put a need on high-quality interior linemen, specifically his guards. Long gone are the days of a mauling, 310-pound guard with a full cage bullring facemask, a fat neckroll, and the flexibility of hardened adamantium. Shanahan's run game is not a grinding, power system that demands the guards crush every defender in their path. We live in an era of the zone run, where the running back doesn't have a designated hole to run through, and the offensive linemen block an area or head to the second level. Shanahan would rather have a guard with brains and athleticism. Both are more valuable assets in a zone system than a guard who resembles a brick...
  • By Matthew Barr
    Mar 3, 2020 at 9:00 AM 2 comments
    The 2020 Scouting Combine is now in the rear-view mirror and thus concludes the first major chapter of NFL Draft homework. The San Francisco 49ers are approaching the draft with significantly fewer assets than usual. With the futures of veterans like Arik Armstead, Emmanuel Sanders and Jimmie Ward all up in the air, who are the players on the 49ers' radar who stood out in a good way and who stood out in a bad way? Studs WR Denzel Mims, Baylor Measuring in at 6'3" and 207lbs, Mims was already one of the more imposing physical specimens for the wide receiver position. Then he started to run the drills. Clocking in with a very impressive 4.38 second 40-yard dash was good enough to tie for fifth among all wide receivers. Mims' fleet...
  • By Gilbert Brink
    Mar 3, 2020 at 7:28 AM 0 comments
    The most important ability is availability. In 2019, for the first time since 2015, free safety Jimmie Ward played 16 games in a season. For much of his career, Ward felt like a man without a country. Constantly being shifted around the secondary nobody knew what Ward was, aside from injury prone. In 2019 Ward started off the season unavailable. This was a common theme for Ward, who has lovingly gained the nickname Jimmie "Hospital" Ward from a portion of the 49ers fanbase. His absence gave free safety Tarvarius Moore an opportunity to take over as the starter. Nonetheless, 3 games into the season Moore relinquished that job back to Ward after numerous examples of taking poor angles and blowing assignments. This was a disappointing development. The 49ers had...
  • By Aaron Erickson
    Mar 2, 2020 at 5:16 PM 0 comments
    Draft season technically kicks off when the all-star games come around (or when your favorite team is eliminated from playoff contention), but it kicks into high gear with the start of the NFL Scouting Combine. As the week progresses, we will take a look at players who may have made positive or negative impressions on teams by the end of each day. On Sunday, Defensive Backs did agility testing and on-field drills CORNER BACKS STOCK UP: Jeff Okudah, from Ohio State, was already the top corner in the draft. All he had to do was hold his place. His day started with a disappointing 4.48-second 40, but his feet were an absolute blur in drills, his change of direction was fluid, and he demonstrated toughness when he rallied from an...
  • By David Bonilla
    Mar 2, 2020 at 11:05 AM 6 comments
    Hall of Fame cornerback Deion Sanders said on Sunday while covering the NFL Scouting Combine that Tom Brady to the San Francisco 49ers "makes sense for everybody." Except, it doesn't. The marriage makes sense in the short-term for both Brady and the 49ers. Of course, the next couple of years is all Brady is thinking about because he is at the end of his illustrious career. Sure, as Skip Bayless said last week, Brady landing with the team he cheered while growing up and the team he hoped would draft him in 2000 would be a storybook ending for the quarterback. It...
  • By Aaron Erickson
    Mar 1, 2020 at 4:56 PM 0 comments
    Draft season technically kicks off when the all-star games come around (or when your favorite team is eliminated from playoff contention), but it kicks into high gear with the start of the NFL Scouting Combine. As the week progresses, we will take a look at players who may have made positive or negative impressions on teams by the end of each day. On Saturday, Defensive Linemen and Linebackers did agility testing and on-field drills. Because of a scheduling change that has moved position drills to evenings, the daily stock reports will post one day after the actual events. DEFENSIVE ENDS STOCK UP: Jabari Zuniga, from Florida, posted a 4.64 40-yard dash and performed well in both jumps, demonstrating both speed and...
  • By Aaron Erickson
    Feb 29, 2020 at 2:18 PM 0 comments
    Draft season technically kicks off when the all-star games come around (or when your favorite team is eliminated from playoff contention), but it kicks into high gear with the start of the NFL Scouting Combine. As the week progresses, we will take a look at players who may have made positive or negative impressions on teams by the end of each day. On Friday, Offensive Linemen and Running Backs did agility testing and on-field drills. Because of a scheduling change that has moved position drills to evenings, the daily stock reports will post one day after the actual events. OFFENSIVE LINEMEN STOCK UP: Good grief, there was some amazing athleticism on display from the big guys yesterday. Some fringe-worthy players may have...
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