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  • Levin T. Black
  • Written by:
    Levin T. Black
    A graduate of Ball State University in 2009, Levin was a full-time sports journalist for a few years until he transitioned into a more lucrative career. He began writing for Webzone in 2018 in order to scratch his journalist itch.

Levin T. Black's Latest Articles

  • By Levin T. Black
    Dec 23, 2019 at 10:36 PM 0 comments
    Rob and Levin return in the latest No Huddle podcast to break down the Rams game, including strong criticism of offensive play calls. They also preview the likely-to-be-epic showdown against Seattle with the help of Joe Fann of NBC Sports Northwest. Fann provides an interesting perspective, having covered the 49ers in the four years before covering the Seahawks this season. You can...
  • By Levin T. Black
    Aug 12, 2019 at 6:00 AM 5 comments
    Something truly special may be brewing for the San Francisco 49ers. The 2019 draft class shined in the first preseason game on Saturday. If that game is a sign of what is to come, the 2019 class could be the catalyst to a new era for the franchise. An era of winning consistently. Sure, it is very early. So much is still unknown. So much could still alter the course. The sky is the limit though. It's not just about the quality shown so far but the quantity as well. Let's start with a quick note on the team's first overall pick Nick Bosa, who didn't play on Saturday. Yes, he's currently hurt and that is becoming a growing concern. That said, Bosa was impressing in his first training camp before an ankle injury sidelined him. Nothing else needs to be...
  • By Levin T. Black
    Jul 27, 2019 at 8:00 AM 0 comments
    As the San Francisco 49ers begin the 2019 training camp, it seems a good time to put some bold predictions on record that I think have a strong possibility of happening. Making predictions before training camp happens is generally unwise. Still, I'll put my name, for as little as that is worth, behind these. 1. C.J. Beathard is treated as the No. 2 but does not end up on the 49ers roster The battle for the backup quarterback position is perhaps the most intriguing of all the position battles this year. In one corner you have Beathard, who is a former third-round pick who was taken because head coach Kyle Shanahan saw the makings of a great QB in his system. Things haven't gone well for Beathard during his first two seasons. Given ample opportunity...
  • By Levin T. Black
    Jul 19, 2019 at 9:00 AM 3 comments
    What a difference a year makes. The San Francisco 49ers enter the 2019 season with wide receivers being one of the deepest position groups on the team. This hasn't been the case in recent seasons. The 49ers have a few veterans mixed in with a group of young, super high potential youngsters. Other position groups have led the way in the past. George Kittle emerged as a force as a tight end last season, fullback Kyle Juszczyk has been the best receiver at his position for a few years now and the running back position has multiple players known for their receiving skills. Previously, the wide receivers had lagged behind but coming into 2019 the 49ers wideout options are so deep that last season's leading receiver is on the bubble for making the 53-man...
  • By Levin T. Black
    May 3, 2019 at 7:00 AM 1 comment
    Jordan Holland may not be a household name but San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan has known him for years. Holland, a defensive back, will be taking part in the 49ers rookie minicamp this weekend. When he steps on the field for the first practice later today, Holland will be fulfilling a promise he made to Shanahan back in 2016. "I told him that one day I would get the chance to play for him," Holland said through email. It was a bold promise to make. To understand how unlikely it must have seemed to Shanahan at the time you need to know Holland's story. Holland's football career has been anything but conventional. It started normal enough. He played for Elkins High School in Missouri City, Texas. Without a Division I scholarship offer he...
  • By Levin T. Black
    Apr 27, 2019 at 12:27 PM 4 comments
    The San Francisco 49ers took punter Mitch Wishnowsky in the fourth round of the 2019 NFL Draft. Yes, a punter in the fourth round. Many are upset with the pick but make no mistake it was a quality choice. This is simple. The 49ers de facto biggest need was punter because it was the only position the 49ers didn't have any options at on the roster. Furthermore, Wishnowsky is not just the top punter in the draft, he's the only punter worth drafting this year. Could the 49ers have passed on him in the fourth and taken him in the fifth instead? Perhaps. He may have made it to the 10th pick in the fifth round but there was no guarantee. The risk outweighed the reward. There aren't any quality veteran punters available. The risk of missing out on Wishnowsky...
  • By Levin T. Black
    Apr 26, 2019 at 7:44 AM 6 comments
    It has been a long and winding road but the San Francisco 49ers defense overhaul is complete with the selection of defensive end Nick Bosa in the 2019 NFL Draft on Thursday. When John Lynch took control of the 49ers, the team was in shambles. Head coach Kyle Shanahan would go a long way towards fixing the offense. The defense was a different matter. There were a few young pieces with potential. Defensive tackles DeForest Buckner and Arik Armstead along with safety Jaquiski Tartt were on the team. They weren't finished projects. They needed development. There were no great veterans either. In fact, there wasn't a single Pro Bowl caliber defender on the roster at the time Lynch was made general manager. The rest of the defense would have to be...
  • By Levin T. Black
    Apr 1, 2019 at 7:00 AM 62 comments
    The San Francisco 49ers have made a trade with Kyle Shanahan's former team. The 49ers agreed to send fan favorite running back Matt Breida along with wide receiver Marquise Goodwin and the No. 2 overall pick in the 2019 NFL draft to the Atlanta Falcons for wide receiver Julio Jones, the No. 14 overall pick and a 2020 second round pick, according to multiple reports. Shanahan will be reunited with the star receiver who helped lead the Falcons to the 2017 Super Bowl. With Jones, the 49ers offense gets a player who has been to five straight Pro Bowls and had at least 1,400 yards in every season since 2014. Jones, who is 30 years old, has two years remaining on his contract for a little over $26 million. That could change. Jones has been pushing for a new contract....
  • By Levin T. Black
    Mar 21, 2019 at 2:48 PM 17 comments
    This San Francisco 49ers regime doesn't leak information. No anonymous sources giving the media the information they seek. This makes the 49ers' specific plans hard to decipher. With so many safeties available in free agency this year the 49ers would surely sign one, right? Earl Thomas would be pursued hard because he knew the 49ers defensive system and is close with Richard Sherman, right? Wrong. The 49ers reportedly didn't offer Thomas any deal. Instead the team traded for Dee Ford and signed Kwon Alexander. Neither were expected to be the top targets for the 49ers even though they are good fits. This is why general manager John Lynch's comments on Wednesday were so surprising. "We had some ideas of areas where we had to get better,"...
  • By Levin T. Black
    Mar 18, 2019 at 1:33 PM 39 comments
    Yes, you read that headline correctly. Based on recent moves, the San Francisco 49ers could pass on drafting Nick Bosa with the No. 2 overall pick in the upcoming NFL Draft. Bosa has long been believed to be the best pass rushing prospect in the 2019 NFL Draft and most of the top draft experts consider him the best player in the draft overall. How could general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan pass on the complete package of a prospect in Bosa? Well, they might even have a reasonable reason once you dive into the finer details. The acquisition of Dee Ford would undoubtedly be a very big part of why. It's not just that the 49ers added one of the best edge rushers in the league. It's how they plan to utilize him. Ford played as a linebacker for the...
  • By Levin T. Black
    Mar 14, 2019 at 1:37 PM 2 comments
    The San Francisco 49ers introduced two of its additions during a press conference Thursday afternoon. Both Kwon Alexander and Dee Ford were present to field questions, as were General Manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan. Since he was acquired in a trade on Tuesday many have wondered what position Ford would play in the 49ers system. Ford played a lot of linebacker with the Kansas City Chiefs as they utilized the 3-4 defensive scheme. Ford was the wide 9-technique speed pass rusher for them which meant standing up as a linebacker but having a role similar to that of a defensive end. It was a role that served him well. He had 13 sacks last season and Shanahan said Ford really stands out when you watch film of him rushing from the...
  • By Levin T. Black
    Mar 10, 2019 at 9:24 PM 4 comments
    There's no question the San Francisco 49ers pass rush from the edge has been a problem. GM John Lynch should sign recently released linebacker Justin Houston to solve that problem. To be clear, Houston should be the first step in solving the problem with the second step coming in the draft next month. Houston was officially released by the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday. They chose that route rather than paying him the $15.25 million base salary he was due. Of course the Chiefs attempted to trade Houston prior to releasing him. The 30-year-old isn't quite the same player he was when he came within a half sack of the single season record in 2014 with 22. No team was going to give up a draft pick just to pay him like he is still the player he was when he signed a...
  • By Levin T. Black
    Mar 3, 2019 at 12:35 PM 12 comments
    On Saturday the NFL Scouting Combine saw a phenomenon born. Wide receiver prospect D.K. Metcalf soared into the national spotlight. Following a jaw dropping performance in the 40-yard dash, the 6-foot-3-inch, 228 pound prospect out of the University of Mississippi was the No. 1 trending topic in the United States on Twitter for three straight hours and remained in the top 5 for an additional two hours. A photo of Metcalf went viral prior to the Combine. He looked more like a professional body builder than a football player at a skill position. That is at least part of the reason Metcalf became a phenomenon following his 4.33 second 40-yard dash on Saturday. His time is tied for the third fastest at this year's Combine and the fastest of any prospect weighing at...
  • By Levin T. Black
    Feb 21, 2019 at 3:00 PM 8 comments
    It's been a long time since the San Francisco 49ers have had a truly elite wide receiver. The last top flight WR to don the red and gold was Terrell Owens in 2003. There have been 15 seasons played in the NFL since then and for 15 seasons the 49ers have searched for an Owens replacement. All of that could change in the coming weeks. How deficient has the production at WR has been for the 49ers? Well ... No WR has caught double-digit touchdowns since Owens in 2002 (16 seasons) No WR has crossed the 1,200 yard barrier since Owens in 2002 (16 seasons) Using the 1,000 yard barrier, the 49ers have been particularly inferior to other teams. Beginning with the 2004 season (first without Owens) the NFL has had 293 total 1,000 yard...
  • By Levin T. Black
    Jan 17, 2019 at 9:00 AM 14 comments
    Much has been made of the statistical fact that the San Francisco 49ers didn't have a wide receiver reach 500 yards in 2018. Yes, tight end George Kittle had an historically great season at his position but those who split out wide could certainly use an upgrade ... or two. There are three routes the 49ers could look to take. Free agency, a trade or the draft could all produce a quality wide receiver. (Before diving into what the team should do please read the break down of the free agent class from earlier this week. Some information will be taken from there when discussing those options. Click here for Book of FA WRs.) Many are looking at a single receiver to...
  • By Levin T. Black
    Jan 16, 2019 at 12:07 PM 6 comments
    The San Francisco 49ers are expected to take a hard look at all available wide receivers as the team seeks to improve at the position in 2019. To kick things off, I have broken down the available unrestricted free agents for this year. I did not include receivers whose free agency is restricted because the draft tenders that go with them stop others from pursuing unless the player is a true, top level performer and no one fits that bill this year. This summary of available free agents will be followed up in the coming days with a closer look at the receivers the 49ers are likely to have interest in and how that receiver might fit. Yes, trade possibilities will be included. Golden Tate: The agile, slightly undersized receiver had what...
  • By Levin T. Black
    Dec 22, 2018 at 12:24 PM 0 comments
    I present to you some interesting statistics involving the San Francisco 49ers and their players. These are not your everyday boring statistics. Some I found, some I have personally computed. Feel free to tweet at me if you know of one that I didn't use. If it is a good one, I will edit this article and give you the credit or add it to a later Off the Beaten Path Statistics. Let's begin with one that has already been talked about. 49ers tight end George Kittle has already shattered the NFL record for most yards after the catch (YAC) by a tight end in a single season with 763 according to The Kansas City Chiefs' Travis Kelce had the record with 656 in 2016. Kittle is currently second in the NFL, behind the Carolina Panthers' Christian McCaffrey,...
  • By Levin T. Black
    Dec 21, 2018 at 12:15 PM 7 comments
    The whispers started while San Francisco 49ers quarterback Nick Mullens was picking apart a hapless Oakland Raiders defense in his first career start. Following back-to-back wins in Weeks 14 and 15, those whispers have turned into the biggest topic of conversation surrounding the team as it enters the final two weeks of the 2018 season. Mullens has started six games this season, the most of any 49ers quarterback. If you expand those six games to a full 16 game season Mullens would set a team record that not even Steve Young or Joe Montana approached. Mullens has averaged 292.33 yards per game, has completed 64.5 percent of passes and has 10 touchdowns to six interceptions. That equates to 4,677 yards, 27 touchdowns and 16 interceptions in a full season when...
  • By Levin T. Black
    Dec 5, 2018 at 6:10 PM 5 comments
    San Francisco 49ers quarterback Nick Mullens is four starts into his career. It's not the biggest sample size but it is one-quarter of a NFL season. That's long enough to gain some perspective on the quality of a quarterback's play. Last week, Mullens put up some big numbers even if they are inflated a bit due to a lopsided score. In the 43-16 loss to the Seattle Seahawks, Mullens passed for 414 yards. That is 11th most all-time in team history. Not since Tim Rattay compiled 417 yards in 2004 has a 49ers quarterback passed for more. As I mentioned, some may knock it because of the lopsided score. I get that. Others may bring up the fact the team scored just 16 points despite all the yards. I'd like to bring up a few things to the detractors. Of the...
  • By Levin T. Black
    Nov 10, 2018 at 11:58 AM 3 comments
    San Francisco 49ers running back Matt Breida could be in for a leading role on the NFL's biggest stage this Monday. The 49ers are set to play the New York Giants on Monday Night Football and the matchup is a good one for the 49ers' leading rusher to get back on track. Breida has been playing hurt in recent weeks. This has lead to a falling off of sorts. In the past three games Breida has just 33 carries for 101 yards. The 3.06 yards per carry he's averaged in those games is far below the 5.53 he's averaged on the season. Breida began the season on a high note. He was named the the NFL's FedEx Ground Player of the Week in Week Two when he ran for 135 yards. Thanks to the big performance, he was the league's leading rusher following Week Two. Injuries have robbed...
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