The following is the transcript from the live fan chat between the fans of the two sites, and, and San Francisco 49ers beat writer Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee. Matt joined the Sacramento Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003.

[Question from Greg Anderton]
The Niners have made it known that they want to address several positions through the draft and, with that, have also said that aim to pick the best player available with their 10th overall pick. My question is what player seems to be at the peak of their interest on their draft board? Granted, it's kind of an unfair question to be asking, so I apologize if you find it so. I'm just wondering what your take on it is. Thanks a lot, Matt. You're the freakin' best.

MattB_49: Thanks! I've gotta believe that they would love to take an OT with that No. 10 pick. They whiffed on one in last year's draft and don't want to do that again. I really believe that Andre Smith and Michael Oher have to have a couple of gold stars by their names on the old draft board ...

[Question from GORO]
Niners have not really shown whom they are going to draft under Nolan, but do you think that they are going to let Singletery meet them and then decide whom #10 will be?

MattB_49: I really think that now more than ever this is McCloughan's draft. I think it was McCloughan who picked Singletary to be the head coach and that McCloughan wields more power than people might think ... Luckily, McL and Sing are on the same page as far as the type of player they want and the positions that are needed. So, Sing will certainly put in his 2 cents but it's Mcl's pick ...

[Question from Bryan-Admin]
How is the feeling different at 4949 different today, from when Nolan first took the job?

MattB_49: When Nolan first took over there was a realization that the 49ers were realy talent-challenged. They were like an expansion team in terms of talent. I think there's a similar feeling of optimism and energy now, but there is also a belief that the team is much closer to having a playoff-caliber roster.

[Question from Jason G.]
If the niners were to go out on a limb and get Beanie Wells from Ohio state with their 10th pick, don't you think that's not a bad pick since we're going to be pounding the rock more often? i mean they could grab a rb in later rounds but Wells would take a lot off Gore and would instantly improve the running game with a one-two punch much like the titans. we would be scary!!

MattB_49: It's not a bad pick, no, but I think the 49ers feel they can get a good complimentary back in rounds three through five. If the 49ers picked Wells, it would be an admission that they think Frank Gore is past his prime. And the 49ers are not admitting that. Look for them to take someone like Andre Brown or Rshad Jennings ...

[Question from GORO]
Is Mark Roman going to be cut or is he possibly going to be on the team once training camp begins? Why did the Niners not keep Keith Lewis and cut Roman instead?

[Question from rob]
hey matt ! you're the 9er blogger in the know ! i wonder since michael lewis has been on the team for a while ,plays safety and has been in the league a lot of years , has there been any talk of having him wear the radio for the defense on gamedays ?!! since patrick willis wasn't too happy with it and we just put goldson in at free safety ! (thankfully)...????

MattB_49: First Keith Lewis .... Lewis had awesome instincts, was a hard hitter and somehow was always around the ball. But he was very speed-challenged and the defensive coaches never felt confident about putting him in the lineup. remember, defensive coaches (see: Nolan, Mike) are paranoid about giving up big plays .... which is why they relied on Roman so much. For all his ball-skill defeciencies, he won the trust of the coaches. I expect he'll be back with the team in June, that Dashon Goldson will get injured at some point and that Roman will start a few games this year. Not what you want to hear, but sometimes the truth hurts ... As for the radio, Singletary seems to really want Willis to wear it this year. Willis, however, didn't like the distraction last year and I don't see that changing. in other words, yes, Michael Lewis seems to be an excellent candidate to wear it ...

[Question from GORO]
Is Cutler really on the trading block? So this on NFL.COM. Will the Niners be willing to trade two 1ST round picks?

[Question from mayo]
With Jay Cutler now looking like he might be available, do the Niners have what Denver might want to make something happen?

[Question from EB]
Matt - firstly, great job on the blog and your normal articles. Just read that the Broncos are going to try and trade Cutler now. Sorry if you have already covered this, but do you think the niners will take a shot?

MattB_49: I think two things on Jay Cutler: 1.) That he'd certainly be an upgrade over what the 49ers currently have at the position and 2.) That the 49ers just don't have enough ammo to work a trade. I think the 49ers might make a call or ten to see what the deal is, but that in the end there will be other teams willing to pony up more ...

[Question from NC49erFaithful]
Hey Matt I am Miles from NC... I was wondering since the recent signing of Marvell Smith if they are really interested or how interested in trading back and maybe picking up Knowshon Moreno to complement Gore being an excellent one two punch? I think that would be an excellent pickup or maybe picking up Larry English.

[Question from 49_All_The_Time]
Thanks for taking my question Matt. I need a little clarification on the Marvel Smith back injuries. I think I read that he had two minor operations in 2008 where they removed bone fragments. I thought he had a back injury in 2007 as well. Do you know any details on the 2007 injury and if he had surgery then too?

[Question from Dan P]
do we know the terms of marvel smith's contract?

MattB_49: Hi, Miles ... I think the same thing about Mareno as I do about Wells -- that the 49ers will probably take a running back in the middle rounds, not the first. I do like the English pick in the second. It seems likely that there will still be some good pass-rushing OLBS in the second round and English may be one of them ... As for M. Smith, he had back surgeries in Dec. 2007 and Nov. 2008. His contract is laden with incentives. That is, if he spends two years as the starter, he'll get paid as one. If he falls apart after two games, the salary hit will be very mininimal. We're talking less than $1 mil ...

[Question from c34]
does shaun hill have to be a perfect practice player to start this year?

MattB_49: It's a good question. The 49ers brass are currently saying that they know Hill isn't pretty in practice and that they'll take that into account. But all the 49ers have between now and the regular-season is practices. I can't help but think that it won't color their perception somehow. (Which is why I keep warning people not to count damon Huard out of the race. JTO II, anyone?)

[Question from Corleone]
Will this year's quarterback competition be devoid of last year's issues, namely favoritism? Or are both guys on equal footing this time around?

MattB_49: Shaun Hill was Singletary's guy last year -- the QB who replaced JTO and helped the late-season revival. That's got to count for something inside Singletary's mind. But I think Singletary will lean heavily on Jimmy Raye, who as you know is close to Norv Turner, who in turn, is high on Smith ...

[Question from Jason G.]
I've been watching Alex Smith play eversince his rookie year and the three things that needs to improve are his 1.accuracy 2. decision making 3.release of the ball skills. He failed to release the ball at times and got sacked turning the ball numerous times. Is this something that can be improved or something that will always be attached to him?

[Question from drew]
If Alex wins the job and starts every game, do you think he will put up better, similar, or worse numbers compared to 2006?

MattB_49: I think Smith's issues are in his head. Maybe his 40 Wonderlic score should have served as a warning -- he thinks too much. But as Urban Meyer once predicted (all too accurately) Smith is good once he is able to digest the system. His problem is that he's never had time to disest ... How will he be compared to 2006? I figure three years of experience has to be worth something, right? A lot also will depend on the talent around him ...

[Question from Daniel Paik]
Apparently the Niners came away from their shrink interview with Matthew Stafford as less than impressed. Some of the concern came regarding Stafford's parents' divorce. I understand why they would want to evaluate his psyche as a top pick, but do you really think the Niners would pass Stafford if he fell to them?

MattB_49: I really have no idea. I think too much has been made of just a snippet of information from that combine session that Stafford had with the 49ers' shrink ... I know that if Stafford is sitting there at pick No. 10, the 49ers' bat phone will be rininging off the hook. Maybe then they'll trade down and take Percy Harvin ...

[Question from floydy540]
I truly hope we do not pick up Sanchez from USC at #10. I think Hill and Smith are two capable QBs and if they are bust then next year's selection of rookie QBs have a lot of promise especially McCoy from TX.

[Question from NOC]
Why is Mark Sanchez being mentioned so higly in NFL circles? The guy only played what 1 year? I hope the niners do not make another Smith mistake. At # 10 draft the best OLB if available to take care of the aneamic pass rush we've missed since the 1997 #1 defense.

MattB_49: Dunno. Remember back in 2005 when all the draft experts thought that Aaron Rodgers might go No. 1? Sometimes the media predictions don't match reality ...

[Question from debbie]
hey matt i am a die head 49er fan for 30 years and i really cant imagine the organization not getting better it has been awhile. i feel very strong about pat white.i was wondering if they would be willing to take him in early ronds. i think he is the qb that will change alot if they got him. he would bring alot of hype and it would be awesome. what do you think? thanks matt

[Question from LARRY]
hey matt i keep hearing alot of talk about pat white i also like him. i think he fits perfect for the niners, but i believe he wont be around early second? we are all hoping they take him.thanks

MattB_49: Yes, I think the 49ers definitely are interested in White. He's a guy who can provide value (Wildcat) while he's soaking in the system. The problem with White is that there are a lot of teams interested in him. And in a draft that is light on quality quarterbacks, the chances of him landing in SF aren't good ...

[Question from ncninerfan]
Do you think if BJ Raji is available at #10 that the Niners will take him?

MattB_49: Of course it depends who else is on the board, but, yes, I believe that Raji is one of five or so guys the 49ers would grab. Like I've written on my blog, his skill set seems to be a perfect match for how the 49ers use their NT ...

[Question from Zach Harvey]
Phillip Hunt from Houston recently ran a 4.75 40 and recorded a 41.5 inch vertical at his Pro Day. He measured 6'1'', 245 pounds. Everette Brown ran a 4.73 40, had a 31.5 inch vertical, and measured 6'1'', 253. To me Brown seems like a reach at 10 while someone like Hunt is a 4th rounder. What do you think?

MattB_49: Yeah, I don't get why some guys are draft darlings while others are also rans ... Consider Cincy's Connor Barwin. His workout numbers have been off the chart and he led his conference in sacks last year. He's also played DE for one season, which is a signal that he can only get better. Why isn't he considered a top 10 talent? Go figure ....

[Question from ROY]
have you heard anything regarding isaac bruce?

[Question from GORO]
If Bruce is not on the team what is the depth chart at the Wr position?

[Question from Dan Leoni]
Hey Matt, Do you think Isaac Bruce is really going to make a decision by tomorrow?

[Question from GORO]
What are you hearing about Isaac Bruce?

[Question from floydy540]
what kind of chance do you think Bruce will come back for another season with the 49ers? Didn't Coach want a decision by the beginning of April?

MattB_49: No, I checked with IB's agent today and they hadn't heard from him either ... My guess is that he doesn't make a decision by tomorrow .. Without Bruce, I'd say that newcomer Brandon Jones takes over the flanker position and that he and Josh Morgan are the starters ... I really couldn't say whether Bruce will come back or not. On one hand, he proved last year that he is still capable of playing at a high level. But Martz's dismissal must have been a blow to him. Maybe as time goes by, he'll get over that ...

[Question from Brad]
Hey Matt why haven't the 49ers had Torry Holt in for a visit yet?

MattB_49: I keep calling Holt's agent thinking that they will bring him in. Think about it: Without Bruce, the Niners are badly in need of a veteran at the position. Beyond that, Holt would be an automatic starter and would get to play his former team twice a year. ... The 49ers say they are very wary of Holt's knee-injury history.

[Question from PTulini]
What do you think about USC WR Patrick Turner in the late rounds for our 49ers? He seems like the physical, red zone target we need.

MattB_49: Ask me again tomorrow after USC's pro day, which is the pro-day media event of the offseason. ... I do think that the 49ers will take a WR on the second day a la Josh Morgan last year. There are a lot of options at the position ...

[Question from NC49erFaithful]
How big are the 49ers of possibly signing a veteran WR now since its looking like Bruce may be calling it a game. I think Amani Toomer (graduated from De La Salle) would be a good fit and most realistic in this offense. If Morgan or Hill goes down we will in no way be able to rely on Brandon Jones and Dominique Zieglar to fill in. Our WR's have potential but not much league expieriance. Heck I am getting where I cant trust battle to finish a season. Do you think we may try and make a trade for Braylon Edwards?

MattB_49: The longer guys like Toomer and Holt go unemployed, the lower their asking price. The 49ers' philosophy this offseason has been "Don't Overpay" (With one colossal exception: KW) and I expect them to stick to their guns ...

[Question from bigwads]
Matt. I love the blog and appreciate your level-head type of reporting. It is very refreshing in this day and age. I believe you are of the opinion that if McL has a number of players that are relatively equal in their grade available at 10 that McL will take the OT, but what about in the second round. We need pass rushers badly, so if there is a RB-which seems to be big on McL's mind lately-and a pass rusher who grade out even who do you think McL takes? Ex. Andre Brown vs. Conner Barwin

MattB_49: Ouch. That's a toughy. I don't think, however, that Barwin will be there when the 49ers pick. ... If I had to guess, though, I'd say MCL goes with the pass rusher, which is the more difficult position to fill. Also, consider this: The 49ers run a 3-4 defense but have only one OLB -- Parys Haralson -- who is a proven pass rusher. And he's entering the final year of his contract. In other words, it's a big-need position ...

[Question from Thai9er]
Who do you like more between the Two? Oher or Smith?

MattB_49: Smith. Both, however, would be a reporter's dream given their backstories ... As a player, though, Smith was more consistent.

[Question from Matt]
You mentioned probably taking OL in round one with maybe Oher or Andre Smith, if that happens do you think OLB is the way to go in round two with English, Sintim or possibly CB with Sean Smith or Darius Butler? Also where do you think they go in terms of WR, if at all?

[Question from Geek]
Matt, I want to talk about the OLB position for a minute. Right now, we have two legit 3-4 OLBs on our team in Manny Lawson and Parys Haralson. The rest of them (Brooks, Moore, etc) are big question marks at this point. Obviously, we will draft a OLB or two in this year's draft. Who do you think we'll target? In addition, why didn't we target any vet backup options in free agency?

MattB_49: My guess is that the draft goes like this: 1st: OT; 2nd: OLB; 3rd: RB ... I think there might be a couple of OLBs in the 2nd that will pique the 49ers' interest. English has been mentioned and Lwrence Sidbury of Richmond is getting a lot of attention. I think Sintim might be a possibility in the third round.

[Question from James (Webzone Staff)]
On the lighter side.......Matt, do you still deploy your "No Pants Policy" when conducting interviews? I still use that advice to this day and thank you for showing me the ropes at training camp last summer hahaha.

MattB_49: Absolutely. I consider that the cardinal rule of the locker room: Never approach a player for an interview unless he has at least put his drawers on ...

Moderator: And this from someone I am pretty sure is not Matt M:

[Question from Matt Maiocco]
Who do you think is the better beat writer - me or you?

MattB_49: You. But I have more upside. ... You're LaDainian Tomilinson to my Darren Sproles ...

We would like to thank Matt Barrows for taking the time out of his busy schedule to join us for a chat. Matt's insightful blog can be found at

If you would like to ask Matt a question, feel free to stop over at his blog and leave a comment.