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Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports


Odell Beckham Jr. and other 49ers thoughts after the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine

Al Sacco
Mar 4, 2019 at 8:33 AM2


The NFL scouting combine is in the books and the buzz surrounding names like Nick Bosa, Odell Beckham, Jr. and Kyler Murray is at a fever pitch. Rumors are swirling about draft day trades, and who will be positioned where when it's all said and done, and right in the middle of it all are the San Francisco 49ers. Could John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan be ready to make a move that will send shockwaves through the entire league? Here are my thoughts on that and some other topics:

1) We know that the 49ers want Beckham, but what remains to be seen is if the New York Giants are actually serious about dealing him or not. Tim Kawakami added a little more gas to the fire recently, stating that the buzz around combine was that San Francisco is a very real destination for the star wide out.

"Bosa or Beckham. One of them, essentially served up on a platter for the 49ers. That's the chatter from the NFL scouting combine the past few days, all pointing to just this devilish but quite promising choice for Lynch and Shanahan."

This scenario is, obviously, contingent upon the Arizona Cardinals going with Murray (or maybe even Quinnen Williams) at one, and passing on Bosa. In turn, the Niners would have to weigh drafting Bosa versus trading the number two pick for Beckham and (I assume) the sixth overall pick. I'd guess there'd be other compensation involved as well, but who knows how something like that would shake out. Still, just to debate it...is this fun or what?

My initial reaction is that adding Beckham, and still being able to get a blue chip player at six, is too good to pass up. But then I start thinking about Bosa and my opinion that he could very well be the next Von Miller or Khalil Mack. Would I rather have a dominant pass rusher than an All-Pro wide receiver? I would. But what if San Francisco can still add an impact edge a few picks later? Man, I need a drink.

Let's say for the sake of argument that the trade goes through and the top five picks (in some order) end up being Murray, Dwayne Haskins, Bosa, Williams, & Josh Allen. Then where do Lynch and Shanahan go? Are Brian Burns or Montez Sweat worthy at that point? What about Clelin Ferell? There's also the possibility of trading down even further. And don't forget about free agency. Maybe, just maybe, the team opens it's wallet and lands a big time pass rusher on the open market. While edge would still need to be addressed in the draft as well, it would give some flexibility in terms of when they'd need to do that, maybe targeting someone in the second or third rounds.

I don't think anyone knows what's actually going to happen here, but like I said, it's just fun to have this type of discussion. The NFL crazy and exciting 12 months a year. No wonder it's American's favorite sport.

2) The combine is something fun to keep tabs on in February when there's not much happening in the world of sports, but the whole event is overrated to me. D.K. Metcalf is a perfect example of that. Don't get me wrong, the Ole Miss wide receiver is a physical freak, but that doesn't mean he's going to be the next Julio Jones. For those who might not know, Metcalf stands 6-foot-3 inches tall, weights almost 230 pounds and is less than two percent body fat. Some of his combine numbers were legendary, as he posted a 4.33 40 yard dash time, 40.5 vertical jump and bench pressed 225 pounds 27 times. That's impressive, but some people have gotten a little too carried away.

Metcalf showed amazing strength and straight-line speed, but he also struggled in the shuttle (4.50) and three-cone drill (7.38), finishing in the bottom-tier in both events. So while he can run and jump, there's a lot more to playing receiver, and there are some red flags there in terms of weather he's the complete package or just another combine standout whose physical skills alone can't carry him at the next level.

I'm not saying Metcalf doesn't have promise or won't be successful, but the talk of him going in the top four with names like Bosa, Williams and Allen based on a good combine seems silly to me. Time will tell if I'm way off base here, but I've seen too many first-round receivers flame out to be all-in on someone like Metcalf.

As for the 49ers, if a Beckham deal doesn't happen, the smart move for them is to go edge in the first, and then address receiver in round two. Metcalf's teammate, A.J. Brown, is a name to watch. Brown was extremely productive in college, going 75/1252/11 and 85/1320/6 in his sophomore and junior seasons respectively. By comparison, Metcalf went 39/646/7 in 2017 and 26/569/5 in 2018, although injuries limited him to seven games in the latter season.

The 49ers did meet with Metcalf and Brown at the combine, and also met with a number of other wide outs. They're looking for another receiver to start alongside Dante Pettis, and considering the interest that's currently being shown in prospects and trades, it doesn't appear that any of the upcoming free agents are high on Shanahan's list.

3) Mike Person's three-year, $9 million contract is a good move by the 49ers, although I'm still hoping an upgrade is coming on the interior. The Person deal only has $3 million guaranteed, so it's essentially a one-year contract. That's not exactly a long-term commitment, and it keeps a versatile lineman in the fold who can play center and guard. Person performed pretty well last season, specifically in the run game, but the Niners need to pass protect better on the interior.

San Francisco allowed the second most quarterback hits of any team in 2018 with 125, and a lot of the pressure came from up the middle. Person and his counterpart, Laken Tomlinson, combined to give up 65 pressures according to Pro Football Focus, and center Weston Richburg was guilty of allowing 33. Richburg's number was the third most of any center. I hope that a guard is high on the list of priorities on draft day because, frankly, what they have now in Person, Tomlinson and Joshua Garnett just isn't good enough. I do think a healthy Richburg will help (he played much of 2018 which a knee injury), but there has to be better pass protection across the board between the tackles. Joe Staley and Mike McGlinchey can only cover for them so much.
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.


2 Comments

  • coastaldave
    Allen is the guy! Best defensive player in college football last year. Bosa would be fine, but Allen's versatility is unparalleled.
    Mar 4, 2019 at 11:47 AM
    2
  • mbniner
    Everything I've seen so far has led me to believe that Allen is a better choice than Bosa. Bosa is a complete player with a myriad of moves and great physical skills. He is ready to start in the NFL. But I don't see much left in his ceiling. Allen on the other hand has freakish speed off the edge and ability to cover as well as rush. His overall physical skills are special. He put on weight and was unstoppable in his last season. I think that his ceiling is much higher and he has superstar written all over him.
    Mar 4, 2019 at 10:34 AM
    2

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